Hall Prince

Hall, Prince (1735-1807): African-American Soldier, Mason: Hall was born in Barbados, and moved to Boston at the age of 17, working for his passage on the ship. In Boston, he worked in the leather industry, like his father. Hall was able to acquire real estate and take lessons at night to compensate for his lack of education. He became a minister of the Methodist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a leader of the African-Americans of the Boston area. One month before the Battle of Lexington, Hall and 14 other free black men became the first African-American Masons, initiated by British Army Lodge Number 441 of the 38th Regiment of Irish infantry. In 1775, he urged the Committee of Safety to allow slaves to enlist in the colonial army, and he himself served in the war for nine months. In 1776, Hall was granted a license to establish the African Lodge No. 1, the first organized body of African-American Masons in the United States. After the war, he fought for the education of black children, petitioning the legislature to open schools for them in 1787 and urging other African-Americans to open schools of their own. Hall went on to establish Masonic lodges in Philadelphia and Providence.