The Bucks of America and Prince Hall: A Slice of American History from the 1700's

Until I can get golf back on my agenda, I will continue to devote time to developing various aspects of my blog.  I pride myself on being able to comment on most aspects of current or past events.  I am not a good prognosticator of future events.  I always inculcated into my children to never give up.  As they are both almost adults, I have to follow the same advice.  On a trip to one of my favorite places in the whole world, I discovered two facts that have helped to shape life in America today.  The term African American was not created during this time period.  The individuals that helped forge American society were sometimes resented but appreciated in hindsight by researchers and those who appreciate history.

The Bucks of America were an African American military unit that served during the American Revolutionary War.  The war was fought between the years of April 1775 and April 1783.  That means that while I am sitting here writing this blog, there were serious battles going on two-hundred and thirty-two years ago.  The basis for this war was the refusal of American colonists to continue  to pay taxes to the British empire while they were establishing the foundation for what would become the United States here.  This war began as a battle between the U.S. and Britain but eventually became a world war between France, the Netherlands, Spain and Mysore.  As avid a reader as I am, I just heard about the country of Mysore today.  This country will be the subject for another blog.

I found out about the Bucks of America while reading the American History magazine.  This magazine also contained articles about General George Custer and the Louis Armstrong.  The Bucks likely protected the property of Boston merchants during the war.  I remember Boston for being a particularly racist city during the 1970's.  They protested school discrimination with rocks and threats during this time.  Maybe the people who protested busing of students didn't realize how much we contributed t their history.  Our first President, George Washington, was vehemently opposed to Africans serving in the military during this time.  Due to manpower shortages, he was forced to lift this ban as the British were promising freedom to slaves who fought for their side.  More than 20,000 individuals of color fought for the British during this conflict.

One of the only members of this unit who is known by name was George Middleton.  He was known as a fearless defender of equal rights for African Americans.  He was also the 3rd Grand Master of the first Masonic lodge established by African Americans.  It was during this research session that I found out about Prince Hall.  For the longest time, I thought that Prince Hall was the name of a building only.  Prince Hall was born in 1735.  Some historians attribute his birth to Barbados, the Caribbean or in Africa.  He was the founder of Black Freemasonry in the United States.  He was a tireless abolitionist and was a leader in the back to Africa movement.  He was literate and to me was a reason why southern slave owners never wanted Africans to learn how to read.  Knowledge in the wrong hands is truly dangerous.


Prince Hall was interested in Freemasonry because it was founded upon ideals of liberty, equality and peace.  He and other members of his lodge petitioned for admission to the white Boston St. John's lodge.  They were turned down.  Even though Massachusetts was liberal towards abolishing slavery, worshipping together and aspiring to higher ideals was a bit much.  It reminds me of Richard Allen having to form the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia in 1794.  Exclude people of color, and they will form their own organizations.  I wonder if this exclusion was the basis for Black Greek organizations forming during the 1900's.  Prince Hall died in 1807.  He made an indelible mark on American history.  I am happy that I found out about it today.

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