PAST MASTER RICHARD VEGA
TO: MY MANY PRINCE HALL F&AM BROTHERS
PRINCE HALL THE MAN
I again greet you with continuous friendship and brotherly love. When I started on this quest to uplift Prince Hall Masonry, I didn’t realized how much this would effect my life. I have learned that when you take on a task you must see it through. I have tried to send out each months topics that in one way or the other would help stir up the desire in your hearts to uplift Masonry in your areas. This desire could be expressed in any matter or form that you felt was right.
I thought about this quest and since we celebrate Prince Hall day in September and my goal is to uplift Prince Hall Masonry I decided to write about him this month. We all have read books and attended lectures on his life and legacy. It was one of the first things I had to do as I was going through my degrees to become a Mason. I thought I would write about what kind of man Prince Hall was and how it effects us. More importantly what he would of like to see in the future.
We have read and been told many things of our founding father and some Masons agree and some don’t. I am not here to try to convince anyone on any of those things you have learned. I am only giving you my thoughts and beliefs.
It is said that Prince Hall was born in the British West Indies. He was the son of an English leather merchant and his mother a free colored woman of French extraction. He secured a working passage on board a ship bound for America. He was a hard worker and realized that education was a key to success. He was an active worker in his community. He loved his new home in America and when the outbreak of the war for Independence he presented a petition on behalf of Blacks stating they were willing to serve in the Continental Army.
Prince Hall’s career in Freemasonry began when he and fourteen other black men were initiated and became members of Military Lodge # 441. Since they could not confer degrees nor perform any other Masonic work Prince Hall sought permission to do so from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. He receiving no answer he petitioned the Grand Lodge of England. He was granted a Charter and in May 1787 the first Black Lodge in America was organized and named African Lodge # 459.
I see Prince Hall through many of the great Prince Hall Masons that I have met, worked and more important see act. A Prince Hall Mason as I see it is a humble man who works tirelessly giving of himself without looking for a pat on the back. He’s always there when needed. Always working hard and standing in the back ground, not pumping his chest, just doing what needs to be done. Just as Prince Hall himself.
A Prince Hall Mason is a good father who is always supporting his family. He teaches his children to be upright citizens. He is a good father to the community, caring for the old, homeless and the youth. He’s a leader in the church giving of himself serving his Lord. He’s a standard to all through his actions and word. He visits the sick and shut-in and is at the hospital giving good tidings to all he visits.
A Prince Hall Mason is a leader in all his works even when he is not in charge. He is doing what needs to be done, working with the Youth, Community Centers and City Projects. He is there to make life and living conditions better. Where there is confusion he is there to lend guidance and direction. He’s not afraid to start a project on his own; he’s a doer and finisher.
A Prince Hall Mason is a lover of peace and tranquillity. Where there are problems he lends a hand and tries to find a solution and not add to the problem. When harsh words are spoken, he calms things with his kind and gentle words of comfort; he prevents problems.
A Prince Hall Mason is a supporter of his Lodge. A Brother that is counted on to better the Lodge. He shares his knowledge and wisdom with his Brothers. He always represents his lodge in a positive matter. His words are clean and meaningful; his appearance is always clean and groomed at home and in the community.
A Prince Hall Mason is a champion of the youth, teaching them from his experiences and knowledge. He seeks the lost and confused giving them hope and encouragement. He builds up and not tear down lives. He gives them an example; HIMSELF.
A Prince hall Mason is a reachable Brother who can be counted on when someone needs wise counseling. He is happy; loving and caring for others is his strength. He is a pillared to all he touches. He’s a ray of sunshine and is sought by all in many matters. His light shines so others can see that he is part of the hope that is needed in this world of today.
If we could just imagine the hardships that Prince Hall had to endure in his time, to maintain his desire for Freemasonry, we would begin to understand the true meaning of Friendship and Brotherly Love. I believe that Prince Hall’s desire was also to have a foundation for our order to stand on. He wasn’t looking for tittles or praises, he had a dream and it’s our responsibility to see through. As Masons we shouldn’t see what we can get from Freemasonry rather we should ask what can we give to Masonry. The example has been set by Prince Hall himself, and all we have to do is to try to live as he did, always on the forefront for mankind.
I’ve said a lot but may not be enough to get the point across. It depends on your level of commitment. I have come up with these thoughts through the vision I have of Prince Hall himself and actions of the Brothers that I would like to be like. I don’t feel I have to give names but many of you know who you are. I Thank You for being Example Setters because that is the biggest tool we have to succeed in the uplift of Prince Hall Masonry. Our Actions speak louder then Words.
I believe that we all have Prince Hall characteristics and all we have to do is apply ourselves so that Prince Hall Masonry can live forever in the eyes of all mankind.
I will close with this, if I have stirred up your desire, then the next step is up to you and that is to motivate your peers. If Prince Hall were alive today what would he say. Have we lived up to his expectations? Have we reach the goals of true Friendship and Brotherly Love and is Charity part of our vocabulary.
Freemasonry as an institution promises nothing – but she returns with interest – compound interest – if you please – all that we commit to her care.
What do you expect to get out of freemasonry? What are YOU putting in?
When I was preparing this letter I closed my eyes and had a vision that I talked to Prince Hall Last night.
LAST NIGHT I TALKED TO PRINCE HALL:
I asked him why did he stand so firm on Masonry when denied by so many?
Prince Hall answered me:
He saw the light of humanity and knew that the freedom that he fought for in the war for Independence was a war of freedom for all Mankind.
I then asked Prince Hall what is it that all Masons should do to live like a true Mason?
Prince Hall answered me:
Every Prince Hall Mason has to walk upright as a leader in his home, work, community and church. We hold the balance of the future of America through the eyes or our youth. We are their champions; we are their example setters.
I then asked Prince Hall what did the future looked like for Prince Hall Masonry?
Prince Hall answered me:
Prince Hall Masonry is on an upward trend. The accomplishments that have been made thus far have been outstanding. The challenge of worldwide recognition is at hand and the brethren that have true Brotherly Love will make this dream become a reality.
I finally asked Prince Hall what message would he like me to pass on to the brethren?
Prince Hall answered me with a gleam in his eyes.
Brethren my journey in life was a short but full one, I asked for no more then I deserved. I lived by the Plumeline that our Lord and Saviour laid in our mist. When the challenges of life become too much to bare, remember that help is within the length of your cabletow. Always keep a tongue of good report, and from your Heart practice Charity. Remember that we are measured by our works and word.
Brethren Last Night I Talked with Prince Hall!
My Brothers may you all have a joyous Prince Hall Day celebration in your Jurisdictions and take time out to think about what part of the uplifting of Prince Hall Masonry you are.
PM RICHARD (RICAN) VEGA