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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Black Freemasonry

by Robert C. Kenzer, 2006

See also Freemasons

Black Freemasonry, like its white counterpart, promotes fellowship within a membership that engages in a wide variety of social and benevolent activities. Although black freemasonry dates back to the American Revolution, it was not until 1866-during a period of tremendous antiblack sentiment following the Civil War-that the first African American lodge appeared in North Carolina. Within five years of the founding of King Solomon Lodge in New Bern, lodges were also created in Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Raleigh. In 1870 these four groups established a state organization, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of North Carolina, with headquarters in Fayetteville.

As black freemasonry spread across the state, the composition of its membership changed. Whereas most of the original members were urban residents, the fraternal organization gradually reached the countryside. Because black masons were often businessmen and landowners, there was a close relationship between freemasonry and black economic enterprise. Such membership increased personal and business contacts and promulgated valuable skills about property management. Black lodges often rented their property to black businessmen.

During the late nineteenth century, black freemasonry in North Carolina continued to grow in size and extend the range of its social and benevolent activities. From 37 lodges and 1,000 members in 1880, the organization grew to 358 lodges and more than 10,000 members by 1910. The fraternal society offered short-term financial assistance to members experiencing financial problems, provided insurance for the widows of deceased members, and established a black orphanage in Oxford. It also made substantial contributions to the United Negro College Fund, the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a scholarship program for black students, and a number of black North Carolina colleges. By 2005 the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina and Jurisdictions, Inc., headquartered in Durham, was the state's central organization of black lodges, which numbered more than 320.

Additional Resources:

"King Solomon Lodge." North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program. https://www.ncdcr.gov/about/history/division-historical-resources/nc-highway-historical-marker-program/Markers.aspx?sp=map&sv=C-81 (accessed June 19, 2012).

Stradling, Richard. "State's two Masonic groups join" News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.). November 22, 2008. https://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/article12242276.html (accessed June 19, 2012).

Grimshaw, William Henry. "Official History of Freemasonry Among the Colored People in North America.  Montreal: Broadway Publishing Company. 1903. https://www.worldcat.org/title/freemasonry-in-north-carolina-in-1865/oclc/172979121&referer=brief_results

Comments

Comment: 

Hello
I am from Sénégal but i lived over 20 years in Sacramento california. After studying and working in America for a while I went back to Africa. I currently work in Congo and Sénégal. I have always been interrested to be part of such a brotherhood but unfortunately could not find the right time to research and inquire about it. I truly hope that its not too late even from africa to join and put at your disposal my intelectual and financial contribution. Please tell me its too late

Comment: 

I've been searching for black lodges near San Antonio Texas just wondering if someone can help me locate one.

Comment: 

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia! You can find a list of Texas lodges on this website: https://tx.grandview.systems/public_lodges/search. I hope this helps you find a lodge near San Antonio, Texas.

Francesca Evans, Government & Hertiage Library

Comment: 

Searching for a local black mason lodge in Essex county New Jersey any information would be appreciated.

Comment: 

Dear Reggie,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia! You can find a list of New Jersey lodges on this website: https://www.newjerseygrandlodge.org/lodges/. I hope this helps with your search.

Francesca Evans, Government & Hertiage Library

Comment: 

While in Savannah, GA, I saw an older Black man on a CAT bus who was wearing a dark blue jacket. On the back were the words "Sons of Moses/ F & M Masons'. Unfortunately, he was getting off of the bus and I was unable to ask him who or what are the Sons of Moses. I googled the name of the organization but didn't find that specific order. Can you provide information about it? Thanks!

Comment: 

I have been trying to get in touch with someone at the headquarters from Lumberton but no one will answer my call. I've been trying for quite some time. My cousin's father supposed to have helped me with my petition but he hasn't returned my phone calls yet? What should i do now?

Comment: 

Ive really would be willing to do anything to become apart of the brotherhood what do i have to do ?

Comment: 

I would like more information

Comment: 

Searching online for a local black Mason lodge for my area of South Bend, IN, 46614. I have inquired in the past, down South in FL, about your organization but never took advantage. I am extremely interested and would like to to get started into a true brotherhood. Sincerely and thank you..... Buck..... Christopher L. Buckley.

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