Together we make a profound difference
Prince Hall Masons pose in this archival photo. Prince Hall Masonry (also called Prince Hall Freemasonry) is a centuries-old Black fraternal order that today partners with the Masons of California.


An introduction to Prince Hall Masonry, the world’s largest and oldest Black Masonic fraternity.

Prince Hall Masonry is a historically Black branch of Freemasonry that began in the 1700s. Learn about the organization’s revolutionary history, and the important role it plays for Black Freemasons and the Masonic family today.

When and Where Was Prince Hall Freemasonry Created?

Prince Hall, the founder and namesake of Prince Hall Masonry, the oldest Black Masonic order in the world.

The first lodge of this important fraternity was founded in Boston in 1775 by Prince Hall (seen at left), a free African American patriot and activist who was a formative figure in the birth of our nation. Prince Hall Masonry came into existence during racial segregation, when many lodges denied membership to Black applicants and refused to acknowledge Black Masonic lodges. From the beginning, the organization was a champion for civil rights, along with fraternal values.

Today, it is the oldest and largest predominantly Black fraternity in the U.S., providing an extremely meaningful community and experience for its hundreds of thousands of members.

What’s the History of Prince Hall Masonry in California?

Members of the Grand Lodge of California and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California pose together. The two Masonic grand lodges mutually recognize one another and partner on many charitable programs.

In the Golden State, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California traces its origins to 1784 and has operated continuously since 1855. Today, the Grand Lodge of California and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California formally recognize one another, meaning that members are permitted to work together in their respective lodges.

Further, the two grand lodges often partner on charitable and community projects, too, like the philanthropic efforts including the Masons4Mitts glove drive and a public cornerstone ceremony for the Sacramento Kings basketball arena.

Who Are Some Famous Black Freemasons?

As you might expect from America’s oldest historically Black fraternity—and a leading civil rights organization—the organization has had scores of famous, influential, and celebrity members over the years.

As just a few examples: