From the Progress-Index.com website by Scott P. Yates:
The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia F&AM, Inc., unveiled an historical marker memorializing the formation of the organization over 140 years ago during a ceremony at First Baptist Church in Petersburg on Saturday.
Under the guidance of master of ceremonies Julius D. Spain, the Right Worshipful Grand Director of Arlington Lodge No. 58, representatives of lodges from around Virginia gathered in the very church in which the lodge was founded in December 1875.
Jim Hare, the director of Division of Survey & Register at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, also spoke about the importance of recognizing the contributions Prince Hall Masons have made to the state of Virginia.
“It’s always good when an organization can show where it began,” said Robert E. Harris Sr., senior past grand master. “And this organization has a long, rich history.”
In March 1775, a Masonic Lodge attached to the British army initiated Prince Hall and 14 other free black men as Freemasons in Massachusetts. Meeting provisionally as African Lodge No. 1, the black Freemasons gained full privileges in 1787, when they organized African Lodge No. 459 under a charter from the Grand Lodge of England.
The first affiliated lodge in Virginia was established in Alexandria in February 1845. After the Civil War, two rival Grand Lodges operated in Virginia. On December 15, 1875, these two Grand Lodges met at First Baptist Church on Harrison Street in Petersburg. They formed the present-day Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia, Free and Accepted Masons, Inc.
City representatives David R. Coleman and Councilman Darrin Hill made remarks on the significance of the Prince Hall Masons’ role in fostering the wellbeing of the citizens of Petersburg.(Photos by Scott Yates and Brother Charles M. Mosely)