AFRICAN LODGE #459
COMMEMORATIVE MEDALLION AND CERTIFICATE
On May 5, 1984, Grand Master Herbert A. Bourne, the 56th Grand Master of Massachusetts, by proclamation revived African Lodge #459 in a ceremony held at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, 24 Washington Street, Dorchester, Massachusetts.
A commemorative medallion was coined and stamped for this historic occasion, it being the first striking of a two-sided coin in this jurisdiction. The obverse (front side) of the medallion bears the seal of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge showing the two bronze pillars, the Master’s carpet and Prince Hall, in the center. At the top, you will see the letter "G". At the bottom, you will see the Square and Compasses. The left pillar holds the initials "PH" which represent Prince Hall in the year 1784. In the right pillar are the initials "HAB" representing Grand Master Herbert A. Bourne in the year of our 200th celebration.
At the 100th celebration, Grand Master Thomas Thomas lived in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Coincidence had our 200th Grand Master also residing in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.
The reverse (back) of the coin bears the outline of the continent of Africa, with the inner outline showing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The cable tow on the reverse indicates that our charity stretches back to our Mother country, Africa. It also suggests that our charity encompasses the globe.
The lower right of the reverse shows the Island of Madagascar where the slave trade first brought black Africans to this country. The upper left shows the Canary Islands from which the slave trade also brought black people to this country. To the right of the Square and Compasses is Castle William Island, where the first fifteen "colored men" were made Masons. These men were raised in a lodge of Irish Registry #441 by then Worshipful Master Batts. They thus became the first black Masons in the United States.
On the edge of the medallion you will see the number of the medallion. This is the number of the certificate that goes with the medallion. Both have the same number and is the membership number you now bear in African Lodge #459, The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F.&A.M., Jurisdiction of Massachusetts. We, the Master and Wardens, by this certificate, warrant that (bearer’s name) was duly elected a member of African Lodge #459, F.& A.M., on the 5th day of May in the year 1984, and is fully entitled to all the rights and privileges granted by the Constitution and By-Laws, (Note: the date of the certificate will be current as will be the signatories, who are the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Honorable Napoleon Burton, Jr., R:.W:. Deputy Grand Master, Leslie A. Lewis, R:.W:. Senior Grand Warden, Anthony I. Jakes, Sr., R:.W:. Junior Grand Warden James Neal, and the R:.W:. Grand Secretary, Compton Jones). We hope that you will cherish this certificate, as well as the medallion, as the certificate makes you a member of African Lodge #459.
In the coining of this series of the commemorative medallion, two medallions were struck in 18K gold. These medallions were #001 and #459. The #001 was presented to Grand Master Herbert A. Bourne and #459 was placed in the archives of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. In addition, fourteen (14) medallions were struck in antique silver to commemorate and represent the fourteen associates of Prince Hall who were raised Master Masons with him. These fourteen silver medallions were distributed to Past Grand Masters and to the then current elected Grand Lodge officers of the Jurisdiction of Massachusetts.
There were six hundred antique bronze medallions in the first striking. Any member of the Prince Hall family could purchase one, and may still at a price of $50.00. A certificate of membership is included.
The current structure and organization of African Lodge #459 is as follows: the reigning Grand Master of the Jurisdiction of Massachusetts will be the Worshipful Master of African Lodge #459. Therefore, M:.W:. Napoleon Burton, Jr.,, Most Worshipful Grand Master, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts, is now serving as the Worshipful Master of African Lodge #459.
The Treasurer and Secretary will also be from the Jurisdiction of Massachusetts.
As the Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania was the second established Grand Lodge in the Prince Hall Masonic order, the Senior Warden for the year 2005 is the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, M:.W:. Earl C. Abrams, Sr..
The third Grand Lodge established in Prince Hall Masonry was the Grand Lodge of New York. Thus, the Junior Warden of African Lodge #459 for the year 2005 is the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the State of New York, M:.W:. Calvin Martin.
The officers of African Lodge #459, consisting of Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Warden, Treasurer and Secretary, change automatically with the change of officers within the respective jurisdictions.
Although, this may be your first immersion into the history of Prince Hall Masonic history, we hope it will not be your last. We hope to expand the activities of African Lodge #459 in the future for the benefit of its members. Please keep us informed of any address changes, and should your Masonic knowledge present opportunities to "shed Masonic light" to other members, please feel free to send whatever pertinent information that may be noteworthy to the craft, to the Secretary of African Lodge #459, R:.W:. Brother Compton Jones, care of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Bro. Chester R. Isles