Ashler Lodge #7 of Prince Hall Grand Lodge held their Installation of Officers.
Prince Hall is recognized as the Father of Black Masonry in the United States. Historically, he made it possible for Negroes to be recognized and enjoy all privileges of free and accepted masonry.
Prince Hall was free born in the British West Indies. It is believed his father, Thomas Prince Hall, was an Englishman and his mother a free colored woman of French extraction.
In 1765, Prince Hall worked his passage on a ship to Boston, where he worked as a leather worker, a trade learned from his father. During this time he married Sarah Ritchery.
Shortly after their marriage, she died at the age of 24. Eight years later he had acquired real estate and was qualified to vote.
Prince Hall also pressed John Hancock to be allowed to join the Continental Army and was one of a few blacks who fought at the battle of Bunker Hill. Religiously inclined, he later became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church with a charge in Cambridge and fought for the abolition of slavery.”
Free Masonry among Black men began during the War of Independence, when Prince Hall and fourteen other free black men were initiated into Lodge # 441, Irish Constitution, attached to the 38th Regiment of Foot, British Army Garrisoned at Castle Williams (now Fort Independence) Boston Harbor on March 6, 1775.
The Master of the Lodge was Sergeant John Batt. Along with Prince Hall, the other newly made masons were Cyrus Johnson, Bueston Slinger, Prince Rees, John Canton, Peter Freeman, Benjamin Tiler, Duff Ruform, Thomas Santerson, Prince Rayden, Cato Spain, Boston Smith, Peter Best, Forten Howard and Richard Titley.
When the British Army left Boston, this Lodge, # 441, granted Prince Hall and his brethren authority to meet as a lodge, to go in procession on Saints John Day, and as a Lodge to bury their dead; but they could not confer degrees nor perform any other Masonic “work”.
For nine years these brethren, together with others who had received their degrees elsewhere, assembled and enjoyed their limited privileges as Masons. Finally in March 2, 1784, Prince Hall petitioned the Grand Lodge of England, through a Worshipful Master of a subordinate Lodge in London (William Moody of Brotherly Love Lodge # 55) for a warrant or charter.
The warrant was granted on September 29, 1784 under the name of African Lodge, # 459 on the register of the Grand Lodge of England by authority of Grand Master.
The Duke of Cumberland, delivered in Boston on April 29, 1787 by Captain James Scott, brother-in-law of John Hancock and Master of the Neptune. Prince Hall was the first Master of the lodge, which was organized one week later, May 6, 1787.
The warrant to African Lodge # 459 of Boston is the most significant and highly prized document known to the Prince Hall Masonic Fraternity. Through it, Masonic legitimacy among free black men is traced, and on it more than any other factor, rests their case.
Today, the Prince Hall fraternity has over 4,500 lodges worldwide, forming 44 independent jurisdictions with a membership of over 300,000 masons whereby any good-hearted man who is worthy and well qualified, can seek more light in masonry.
After 212 years, Prince Hall still lives in thousands of freemen.
The Installation of Officers was conducted by Past Masters of Ashler Lodge #7. The Installation of Officers is a transfer of leadership within the lodge.
Doing the leadership Installation, family and friends are invited to witness the leadership exchange.
The departing Worshipful Master Ralph Sirmons of Ashler Lodge #7 was the Master of Ceremonies. The welcome was done by Past Master Brother Willie Shaw. Past Master Brother Martin Dixon did the invocation and Past Master, Brother Hughes George.
They do a beautiful ceremony. The men were too sharp and handsommmme. Holla! They wore black and white tuxedos.
Each new officer is escorted to the altar and given their charge. It is truly a formal ceremony. It is similar to military ceremonies.
The new Worshipful Master of Ashler Lodge #7 is LeOdis Purifoy and his court of new officers is: Ollie Thomas, JW, Robert Young, Treasurer PM, Thomas Terry, Secretary, Ralph Sirmons, SD. Glen Eaton, Marshall. Mario Davis, Chaplain, PM Willie Walker, JD. Darryl Jackson, SS. Norman Alexander, JS, Andre Connor, Tyler, Clyde Thomas, Trustee Board PM, Louis Simmons, PM. Martin Dixon, Brother Ricky Merritt and Brother Richard Golden Willie Walker administered the oath and charge.
The new Worshipful Master is also given an oath and charge in a ceremony that requires him to wear a crown and cape. After he receives his charge, he takes the reins and resides over the ceremony, as he gives remarks thanking all who has supported him with their time and wisdom. PM Martin Dixon closed it with the Benediction.
A wonderful dinner ensued where family and friends joined in. Several other Masonic lodges attended as guest, such like County Supervisor Michael Mayo.