BRIEF HISTORY OF PRINCE HALL FREEMASONRY IN THE U.S.
as excerpted from http://www.princehall.org/history/phmason.html
On March 6, 1775, Prince Hall and 14 men of color were made masons in Lodge #441 of the Irish Registry attached to the 38th British Foot Infantry at Castle William Island in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. It marked the first time that Black men were made masons in America.
About a year later, since the conflict between England and America had commenced, the British Foot Infantry left Boston, along with its lodge, leaving Prince Hall and his associates without a lodge. Before the lodge left, Worshipful Master Sgt. John Batt, gave them a "permit" [or limited dispensation] to meet as a lodge and bury their dead in manner and form. This permit, however, did not allow them to do any "masonic work" or to take in any new members.
Under it, African Lodge was organized on July 3, 1776, with Prince Hall as the worshipful master. It wasn't long before this lodge received an additional "permit" from Provincial Grand Master John Rowe to walk in procession on St. John's Day.
On March 2, 1784, African Lodge #1 petitioned the Grand Lodge of England, the Premier or Mother Grand Lodge of the world, for a warrant (or charter), to organize a regular masonic lodge, with all the rights and privileges thereunto prescribed.
The Grand Lodge of England issued a charter on September 29, 1784 to African Lodge #459, the first lodge of Blacks in America.
African Lodge #459 grew and prospered to such a degree that Worshipful Master Prince Hall was appointed a Provincial Grand Master, in 1791, and out of this grew the first Black Provincial Grand Lodge.
In 1797 he organized a lodge in Philadelphia and one in Rhode Island. These lodges were designated to work under the charter of African Lodge #459.
In December 1808, one year after the death of Prince Hall, African Lodge #459 (Boston), African Lodge #459 (Philadelphia) and Hiram Lodge #3 (Providence) met in a general assembly of the craft and organized African Grand Lodge (sometime referred to as African Grand Lodge #1).
In 1847, out of respect for their founding father and first Grand Master, Prince Hall, they changed their name to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, the name it carries today. In 1848 Union Lodge #2, Rising Sons of St. John #3 and Celestial Lodge #4 became the first lodges organized under the name Prince Hall Grand Lodge.
From these beginnings, there are now some 5,000 lodges, 47 grand lodges, and well over 300,000 Prince Hall Freemasons who trace their lineage to Prince Hall.
The tradition started by Bro. Prince Hall over 200 years ago is still carried on today.
BRIEF HISTORY OF
TRUE AMERICAN LODGE #2
as excerpted from https://phaohio.org/history
There is a reason why members of True American Lodge #2 proudly hold up their index finger as if to say they are #1 as they introduce themselves as True American Lodge #2. It is not just because they see themselves as a preeminent lodge in the region, state, and world. It is also because of their remarkable history.
True American Lodge #2 lays claim to being the first of three lodges established in Cincinnati. Although this lodge was the first to organize themselves, and were already operating while Corinthian #27 was still being formed and under dispensation, unbeknownst to them True American Lodge "came into existence by spurious and irregular circumstances." They were first warranted by the Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, "which was a splinter group and rival to the First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania." After they were finally convinced of the "spurious" nature of Hiram Grand Lodge they reorganized themselves and were warranted under the First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. By this point the lodge known as Corinthian Lodge #17 had already been warranted by First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which regularly established Corinthian #17 in January 1848; thereby laying claim to being the first Prince Hall Lodge in Ohio to receive a warrant under the First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, qualifying them, True American (and later St. John's) to become an integral part of forming what is now known as the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio. According to The History of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio 1849-1971," "True American #26" was regularly established and constituted March 18, 1848. At the founding of Grand Lodge of Ohio on May 3, 1849 True American lodge #26 was renumbered to True American Lodge #2 to reflect that it was the second lodge regularly constituted in the state of Ohio.
When the Grand Lodge for the State of Ohio F&AM was established on May 3, 1849 Corinthian Lodge #17 took its place as Corinthian Lodge #1. True American Lodge #26 became True American Lodge #2. St. John's Lodge #27 became St. John's Lodge #3.
Although True American #2 is the second lodge formed in the state of Ohio under a warrant granted by First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, True American has proven itself to be a valuable part of the history and vibrancy of Freemasonry in Ohio.
Castle William Island, Massachusetts
This photo is of the letterhead from True American #2 at the time of the launch of the Grand Lodge for the State of Ohio F&AM in 1849. (excerpted from page 35 in The History of the Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio 1849-1971: An Epoch in American Fraternalism by Charles H. Wesley)