TED CLAUSEN

SCULPTURE

 

PRINCE HALL MEMORIAL

COMPLETE TEXTS

 

TEXTS ON THE INSIDE OF THE MEMORIAL:

The words of

PRINCE HALL

1730s–1807

Abolitionist

Patriot

Entrepreneur

Founder of the first

African American Lodge of Freemasons

 

I must love all, for He made all, and upholds all . . .

let them be of what colour or nation they may,

yea even our very enemies . . .

1792

I shall begin with our friends and

brethren; and first, let us see them dragg’d from

their native country by the iron hand of tyranny

and oppression, from their dear friends and

connections, with weeping eyes and aching hearts,

to a strange land and strange people,

whose tender mercies are cruel; and

there to bear the iron yoke of slavery & cruelty

till death as a friend shall relieve them.

1791

Your Honors need not to be informed that a

Life of Slavery, like that of your petitioners,

deprived of every social privilege, of every thing

requisite to render Life even tolerable,

is far worse than non-existence.

Petition by Prince Hall and six others to the Massachusetts State Legislature, 1777

As we are willing to pay our equal part

of these burdens, we . . . have the right to

enjoy the privileges of freemen . . . and . . .

the education of our children.

Petition to the Massachusetts State Legislature, 1787

Now my brethren, as we see and

experience that all things here are frail and

changeable and nothing here to be depended

upon: Let us seek those things . . . which are sure,

and steadfast, and unchangeable. . . .

Patience, I say, for were we not possess’d of a great

measure of it you could not bear up under

the daily insults you meet with

in the streets of Boston.

1797

Sure this was not our conduct in the late war;

for then they marched shoulder to shoulder,

brother soldier and brother soldier,

to the field of battle.

1792

 

. . . give the right hand of affection and fellowship

to whom it justly belongs; let their colour

or complexion be what it will, let their nation

be what it may, for they are your brethren

and it is your indispensable duty so to do . . .

1797

Again we must be good subjects to the laws

of the land in which we dwell, giving honour

to our lawful Governors and Magistrates,

giving honour to whom honour is due . . .

1792

. . . he that despises a black man for the

sake of his colour reproacheth his Maker . . .

1792

 

Although you are deprived of the means of

education, yet you are not deprived of the means

of meditation; by which I mean thinking, hearing

and weighing matters, men, and things

in your own mind . . .

1797

My brethren, let us not be cast down under

these and many other abuses we at present labour

under: for the darkest is before the break of day.

1797

. . . he should lend his helping hand to a

brother in distress, and relieve him . . . .

Good advice may be sometimes better than

feeding his body, helping him to some lawful

employment, better than giving him money;

so defending his case and standing by him

when wrongfully accused, may be better than

clothing him; better to save a brother's house

when on fire, than to give him one.

1792

. . . all men are free and are brethren.

1797

 

TEXTS ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE MEMORIAL:

 

1730s~PRINCE HALL IS BORN. DURING THIS PERIOD OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE THE BIRTHPLACES AND DATES OF THE ENSLAVED ARE RARELY RECORDED BY SLAVE OWNERS.

 

If you love your children, if you love your

country, if you love the God of love, clear

your hands from slaves, burden not your

children or country with them.

~From a 1794 pamphlet by Richard Allen (1760–1831),

former slave and first bishop, African Methodist Episcopal

Church, and Absalom Jones (1746–1818), former slave and

the nation’s first African American Episcopal priest

 

 

Prince Hall has lived with us 21 years and

Served us well upon all occasions, for which

Reasons we maturely give him his freedom and

that he is no longer to be Reckoned a Slave, but

has been always accounted as a freeman by us

as he has served us faithfully. Upon that account

we have given him his freedom. As witness our

hands this ninth day of April, 1770.

~Susannah and William Hall, Boston

 

Liberty is Equally as precious to a Black man

as it is to a white one, and Bondage Equally as

intolerable to the one as it is to the other.

~Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833), member of the patriot militia and the

first African American Congregational minister

 

 

Among the thousands of African Americans who fought in the

Revolutionary War, many hundreds came from New England. African

American soldiers recruited in Cambridge included Cato Boardman,

Prince Cutler, Peter Dego, Neptune Frost, Cuff Hayes, Jack (Jock)

Pearpoint, York Ruggles, Cato Stedman, and Cuff Whitemore.

 

 

1775~PRINCE HALL AND FOURTEEN OTHER AFRICAN AMERICANS JOIN THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF FREEMASONS. THEY FORM AFRICAN LODGE #1, IN BOSTON, 1776, AND APPLY TO THE GRAND LODGE IN LONDON FOR FORMAL RECOGNITION, 1784.

 

It seems almost incredible that the

advocates of liberty, should conceive of the

idea of selling a fellow creature to slavery.

~James Forten (1766–1842), African American mariner, served

as a powderboy and sail maker during the Revolutionary War

 

1777~PRINCE HALL AND OTHER AFRICAN AMERICANS PETITION THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE LEGISLATURE TO ABOLISH SLAVERY.

 

Any time while I was a slave, if one minute’s

freedom had been offered to me, and I had been

told I must die at the end of that minute,

I would have taken it—just to stand one minute

on God’s airth a free woman—I would.

~Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett, 1742–1829), born into slavery,

successfully sued for freedom in Massachusetts.

 

 

1770s~PRINCE HALL WORKS AS A LEATHER DRESSER PROVIDING DRUMHEADS FOR THE COLONIAL MILITIA.

 

But to the slave mother New Year's Day comes

laden with peculiar sorrows. She sits on her cold

cabin floor, watching the children who may all

be torn from her the next morning; and often

does she wish that she and they might die before

the day dawns.

~Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897), escaped slave, freedwoman of Cambridge

 

 

1787~PRINCE HALL AND OTHERS PETITION THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT THE EMIGRATION TO AFRICA OF AFRICAN AMERICANS.

 

I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate

Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat:

What pangs excruciating must molest,

what sorrows labour in my parent’s breast? . . .

Such, such my case. And can I then but pray

Others may never feel tyrannic sway?

~Phillis Wheatley (1750s–1784), African American poet,

freedwoman of Boston

 

1787~PRINCE HALL AND OTHERS PETITION THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT THE EDUCATION OF BLACK CHILDREN.

1796~PRINCE HALL PETITIONS THE CITY OF BOSTON FOR A SCHOOL FOR BLACK CHILDREN.

1798~A SCHOOL FOR BLACK CHILDREN IS ESTABLISHED BY

THE FREE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY OF BOSTON.

 

 

My labors have not procured me any comfort.

I have not yet enjoyed the benefits of creation.

With my poor daughter, I fear I shall pass the

remainder of my days in slavery and misery.

For her and myself, I beg Freedom.

~Belinda, slave from Medford, petitioning the court for reparations, 1783

 

 

1787~PRINCE HALL RECEIVES A CHARTER FROM THE GRAND LODGE IN LONDON RECOGNIZING THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN MASONIC LODGE,  #459 IN BOSTON, AND BECOMES ITS FIRST MASTER.

 

Thus packed together they are transported . . .

and . . . inhumanly exposed to sale.  Can any

commerce, trade, or transaction, so detestably

shock the feelings of Man, or degrade the

dignity of his nature equal to this?

~Absalom Jones (1746–1818), former slave and first African

American priest of the Episcopal Church of America

 

 

MANY AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS OF THE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES, FROM MARTIN DELANY, LEWIS HAYDEN, W.E.B. DU BOIS AND BOOKER T. WASHINGTON TO MEDGAR EVERS AND THURGOOD MARSHALL, FOLLOWED IN PRINCE HALL’S

FOOTSTEPS AND HAVE BEEN MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION HE FOUNDED.

 

 

Prince Hall, an African, and a person of great

influence upon his Colour in Boston, being Master

of the African Lodge, and a person to whom they

refer with confidence their principal affairs.

~William Bentley (1759–1819), Congregational minister of Salem

 

On Friday morning, Mr. Prince Hall . . .

Master of African Lodge. Funeral this afternoon

at 3 o'clock from his late dwelling in Lendell's Lane;

which his friends and relations are requested to

attend without a more formal invitation.

~Boston Gazette, December 7, 1807

 

Remember youth the time is short,

Improve the present day.

And pray that God may guide your thoughts,

And teach your lips to pray.

~Jupiter Hammon (1711–1806), first published African American poet

 

1847~AFRICAN GRAND MASONIC LODGE #459 IS RENAMED

IN PRINCE HALL’S HONOR.