All Men Free and Brethren: Essays on the History of African American Freemasonry

All Men Free and Brethren: Essays on the History of African American Freemasonry

by Peter P. Hinks

The first in-depth account of an African American institution that spans the history of the American Republic.See more details below


The first in-depth account of an African American institution that spans the history of the American Republic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This remarkably useful book explores an aspect of US history long-overlooked by historians of both historical freemasonry and the African American experience. Summing Up: highly recommended."—Choice (October 2013)

"This is a very welcome edited collection that taps into the current thirst for serious histories of American freemasonry. It represents a real boon to further scholarship, urging us to think in new ways about freedom and social agency for African Americans within the Masonic context from the revolutionary era up until the late 1920s. Especially useful are the four appendixes containing three key Prince Hall or African American Masonic texts, an explanatory glossary of Masonic terms, a list of contact details for Masonic repositories, and a further list of Prince Hall Grand Lodge information. Anyone interested in how African American freemasonry links to the main narratives on abolition, emancipation, and Reconstruction will find much of tangible use here."—Joy Porter,American Historical Review

"The book successfully serves two masters by showcasing new directions in the scholarship while also including a detailed chronology, definition of Masonic terms, and extensive endnotes. . . . Essay collections are inherently difficult. This one manages to provide both a useful primer on African Masonry while also showcasing excellent recent scholarship. . . . That the book also highlights new scholarly directions in religion, gender, and racial identity only adds to its merits" Matthew Hetrick, American Studies (April 2014)

"[T]his is an impressive volume that resourcefully draws much useful and persuasive interpretation from scant sources. In many ways, black Masonry is indeed an excellent metaphor for the history of African American activism."—Bruce Dain, Journal of American History (December 2014)

"This book will be of most interest to scholars of Freemasonry in the United States. It certainly provides new and important information about various Masonic communities and deepens our understanding African American Masons' relationships to broader communities."—Monica C. Reed, Nova Religio (February 2015)

"All Men Free and Brethren is a splendid collection of essays on the history of African American Freemasonry in the period from its founding during the American Revolution into the twentieth century. The essays review the origins of Prince Hall Freemasonry, explicate its Craft, and follow its development over time and its geographic expansion. They provide a centerpole for the study of one of the most important institutions of African American life."—Ira Berlin, Distinguished University Professor of History, University of Maryland, author of Generations of Captivity: A History of Slaves in the United States

"The essays in All Men Free and Brethren break new ground and provide long overdue attention to a pivotal organization. Black Masons have played significant roles in social justice movements throughout American history. Beyond the academy, Prince Hall Masons are also receiving the attention they deserve—along Boston's Black Heritage Trail® and with the recent installation of the Prince Hall Memorial in Cambridge. This volume will surely lead to further scholarly exploration and better public understanding of the critical history of African American freemasonry."—Marty Blatt, Chief of Cultural Resources and Historian, Boston National Historical Park/Boston African American National Historic Site

"All Men Free and Brethren is a fully developed history of the rise, progress, internal conflicts within, and response to emancipation from the black Freemasons. Throughout, the authors write about the paradoxes of black Freemasonry, focusing on the tension between the secrecy of fraternal orders and their role in creating a black 'public sphere,' as well as the fascinating juxtaposition of the universal Enlightened ideals of Freemasonry and the role of Prince Hall orders in creating strong ‘race men’ in a white Republic."—Paul Harvey, University of Colorado, author of Moses, Jesus, and the Trickster in the Evangelical South

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Product Details

Cornell University Press
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9.40(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Peter P. Hinks is the author of To Awaken My Afflicted Brethren: David Walker and the Problem of Antebellum Slave Resistance. He has worked extensively as a public historian, editor, and teacher.

Stephen Kantrowitz is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829–1889 and Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy.

Leslie A. Lewis is 66th Grand Master of Masons, of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts.

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