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  • ✪ Social Impact of Prince Hall Freemasonry in D.C., 1825-1900
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>> Announcer: From the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. >> James Sweany: Good afternoon! On behalf of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, we welcome you to this book talk, featuring Alonza Tehuti Evans, who will discuss The Social Impact of Prince Hall Masonry in the District of Columbia: 1823 to 1900, based on the book that he co-authored with Alton G. Roundtree, entitled, The History of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia: 1822 to 2016. We thank you for joining us. I'm James Sweany, Assistant Chief of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division. I would like to take a moment and express appreciation to all who made possible this event today. To Sibyl Moses, the reference specialist for African American history and culture who organized this event, the staff of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, to Betty Culpepper [phonetic], Leroy Bell, Darren Jones, and to Michelle Wingfield of the Office of Special Events and Public Programs. We are especially appreciative of Mr. Evans for coming to the library to discuss his book with his. The Humanities and Social Sciences Division provides reference services in collection development for subjects that encompass information in all formats for the arts, humanities, social sciences, local history, genealogy in the main reading room, in the library's Thomas Jefferson building. We now ask if you would please check your phones and other devices to assure that they do not interrupt today's program. This event will be filmed and for future webcast. Note that the staff of the retail marketing office is selling copies of Mr. Evans' book in the lobby outside of this room. And now, to introduce Mr. Evans, Dr. Sybil Moses of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division. >> Dr. Sibyl Moses: Thank you, Jay. Alright, good afternoon! >> Audience: Good afternoon! >> Dr. Sibyl Moses: Okay. We are extremely grateful for your presence. And your presence is an indication of a strong interest in research on Prince Hall Freemasonry. Today's presentation is important because Prince Hall Freemasonry is the oldest recognized and continuously active organization founded by African Americans, with roots as early as 1775. In observance of this year's African American History theme, the crisis in black education, we dedicate this presentation to three dynamic Prince Hall masons, each a 33rd degree mason, and each involved in combatting the crisis in black education: Charles Wesley, Amos T. Hall, and Thurgood Marshall. Charles Wesley served as President of Wilberforce University and Central State University, and he wrote the first scholarly biblio -- biography of Prince Hall, as well as the history of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio, among other words. Amos T. Hall was the Grandmaster of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oklahoma from 1941 until 18 -- 1971. And he served as President of the Conference of Grandmasters from 1950 until 1964, a period critical in the history of school desegregation. It was Amos T. Hall who encouraged Thurgood Marshall to join Prince Hall Freemasonry, and later to appeal to the masons for their financial report -- support of the Civil Rights Movement. Thurgood Marshall, General Counsel and Director of the NAACP's legal defense and educational fund, was also Director of the Prince Hall Mason's Legal Research Department. This department funded the Civil Rights Movement for a period of 10 years, formerly, but had been funding the movement before and then continues to do so. Later, Thurgood Marshall became Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Works by and about Charles Wesley, Amos T. Hall, and Thurgood Marshall are represented in the library's collections, and on the bibliography that you have with you today. Our speaker today, Mr. A. Tehuti Evans, is the co-author with Alton Roundtree of, The History of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia: 1822 to 2016. Mr. Evans and Mr. Roundtree are to be congratulated for their publication, because the history of Prince Hall Freemasonry, as is the history of many African American charitable, benevolent, and fraternal organizations, is one area in African American history that is difficult to understand and explore. Published sources are largely inaccessible, and where they do exist -- exist, they are often scattered and incomplete, and Mr. Evans will tell you, they traveled throughout the United States to pull together the research that was necessary to write that book. Too often, the personal papers of members and prominent leaders have not survived. One exception being Judge Robert Terrell's papers, who was Grandmaster in the District of Columbia from 1899 to 1902, and his papers are held by the Library of Congress. Mr. Evans and Mr. Roundtree overcame all the obstacles, and, today, we have, I think, a really definitive history of the most worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. Mr. Evans is a prolific author and editor. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, and among other things, he has been, and is known affectionately as a cultural soldier, a college professor, an entrepreneur, and a social activist. At Howard University, he majored in engineering, and later served as a military engineer in the United States Air Force. His awards are many, but the one that caught my attention was when the Washington Urban League awarded Mr. Evans The Man of the Year Award, and promoted him to Director of Employment and Training. Although retired, Mr. Evans has held several positions in Prince Hall Freemasonry in the District of Columbia. He served as the Grand Historian and Archivist of D.C., and also the Editor of the Prince Hall Masonic Digest. And as a side note, he is my go-to man whenever I have a question about Prince Hall Freemasonry that comes to the Library of Congress and I can't answer it, I'll call Mr. Tehuti [laughter]. So, please join me in welcoming A. Tehuti Evans. [ Applause ] >> Alonza Tehuti Evans: Good afternoon, everyone! >> Audience: Good afternoon. >> Alonza Tehuti Evans: I would like to take this opportunity, first, to thank Dr. Sibyl Moses, Mr. Sweany, and the whole staff of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress -- Congress for the invitation to speak here today. But first, it is my privilege to introduce the honorable, Phillip David, Grandmaster of Prince Hall Masons in the District of Columbia. [ Music ] Accompanying my Grandmaster is his wife, Mrs. Rosalie David. [Applause] And the Deputy Grand Master of Prince Hall Masonry of the District of Columbia, and my lodge mate, Brother Quincy [inaudible]. [ Applause ] As Sibyl pointed out, the -- the book we produced, The History of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia: 1922 to 2016, was a six-year work of research and writing. But rather than talk about the details of the book, I'm going to talk about it in a way in terms of the social impact. Okay. Today I will -- the topics of discussion, the early history of Prince Hall Masonry here in the District of Columbia: 1822 to 1849, I'm going to talk about the antebellum period in the district, 1850 through 1862 specifically. The Civil War to Reconstruction, 1863 to 1880, and, finally, the post-reconstruction to the turn of the century, 1880 to 1900. The early -- early history of Prince Hall Masonry, well, Prince Hall Masonry starts in Washington D.C. officially in 1825. But before 1825, there were some things that occurred, which caused the brothers to turn to masonry as a way to solve their problems. When the federal government -- when the Constitution was written, it provided for the creation of the District of Columbia for the federal capital. After the 10 mile square was laid out, and the government moved from Philadelphia to Washington in 1800, what we -- what they found were there were some free African Americans living within the borders of the district, but there were no rules or laws which applied to them. There were only rules or laws that applied to those still in captivity in the institution of slavery. But in 1816, a unique set of experiences started to occur. The founding of the American colonization society. Now this was done because the -- the plantation owners, slave owners, had a problem with the growing number of free Africans that were beginning to live in the country, but there were no real provisions for them. The same was true here in the District of Columbia. So in 1816, they came up with a plan, of course, of shipping all the free blacks out of America. They -- they've got funding and formed what we know as the Colony of Liberia on the west coast of Africa, and set about trying to ship our free blacks to Liberia. In the District, in 1821, following the lead of the American colonization society, the District Board of Aldermen passed what we called the harshest set of black codes, which limited -- limited the ability of free blacks to move about in the District of Columbia, and that caused quite a concern to many free blacks. So, in 1822, a man, John W. Prout, a brother from Philadelphia, called a meeting in his house, in Georgetown, and they had about 20 brothers who came to the meeting, and he made a plea to them that they should form a masonic lodge. And he used the example of what the brothers had done in Boston, Massachusetts as the reason why they needed to form a masonic lodge. What he talked about was, one, the men who formed the -- who led the revolution, and who were leading the government were mostly freemasons. Prince Hall, the founder of the order, had found that he was able to get citizenship status for free blacks in Boston by writing to the city council, having quite freemasons on that council, and he found a listening ear. His first letter, you can find it in the -- a book entitled, Letters of Prince Hall, to this council was to get permission to build a school for the free black children of Boston, and that was granted. Later on, he wrote and asked for permission to build a church, and later on, this lodge wrote and asked for permission to build what we now know today as The Historic African Meeting House. So, steps to citizenship were achieved in Boston, which had not been achieved anywhere else. In 18 -- in 1797, the same plan was shipped to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, who had founded the first black church in Philadelphia, came to Boston because they were, again, suffering from some of the same indignities because they were not included in the legislation as citizens of Philadelphia. So they wanted to reproduce the -- what I call the Prince Hall template, to assert their rights in Philadelphia. At that time, the government itself was housed in Philadelphia, they didn't move to Washington until 1800. So while -- while there, a lot of the brothers who -- who became Prince Hall masons started to interact with those masons in the federal government who helped them interact with the members of the Philadelphia legislature and the Philadelphia City Council, Pennsylvania legislature, and the Philadelphia City Council, to get some rights for free blacks in Philadelphia. John Prout, being from Philadelphia, knew what had happened, therefore, he called for the brothers meeting in his house in Georgetown in 1822 to try to replicate the Prince Hall plan here in the District of Columbia. They wrote and asked for -- to start a lodge, they got permission to do so on June of 1825, social lodge -- what we call social lodge number one, was established here in the District of Columbia. Upon establishing the lodge in the District, the brothers began to take their case to court for citizenship. The first of those actually took place before the lodge was formed, and that's the case of William Billy Costin. Bill Costin became the first secretary of social lodge number one, but he, himself, had a very interesting history. The black codes, which limited his ability to move about the city, which prevented him from being on the streets after 10 o'clock at night, which prevented him from assembling with more than two other black men on the streets, he felt were an injustice to him, so he took his case to court, and a Judge William Cranch heard the case, and he ruled that Billy Costin was grandfathered into conditions prior to the black codes being written, and all other free blacks who lived in the District of Columbia were not subject to the black codes since they were here before the codes were written. Another one of the members of the social lodge, in fact, worked for Master John Prout himself, was later accused of [pause] helping slaves to escape from the Underground Railroad through the District of Columbia. He was a schoolteacher, he could read and write, and he was accused of forging passes for free blacks passing through the district to go north. From my reading of the record, he was guilty. That was part of what he did, in fact, social lodge number one was one of the stations of the Underground Railroad through the District of Columbia. However, the men who wanted to bring in a handwriting specialist to look at this document he had produced to prove that he had written the document, the judge didn't allow it, ended up fineing Brother Prout 50 dollars, and let him go! Same judge, William Cranch. Am I right? Third -- a third brother in this same lodge was Brother Clements Beckett. Now, Brother Beckett had purchased some property in the District of Columbia while he was still, quote unquote, "a slave". On this property, he built up two rooming houses, renting rooms to free blacks running through the district. Well, two white gentlemen decided to try to take this property, stating that a slave couldn't own property, and since this property was a money-making piece of real estate, they wanted to take control of it. But -- but the case, again, heard before John William Cranch, Judge Cranch ruled that Brother Clement Beckett lawfully owned his property, and, therefore, a precedent was established that free blacks could own property in the District of Columbia. So it seems that John Prout's original discussion with the brothers was true, becoming masons, interacting with masons in the district, by the way, the federal government, of course, moved here in 1800, and there were many masons on Capital Hall, there were many masons who came to Washington to interact with the government. And even the crisis of 1825, known as the Captain William Morgan Affair, didn't negatively impact the progress that the brothers were making as masons in the District of Columbia. Let me...before going to the -- the next step. So between 1825 and 1845, while white freemasonry was under attack from the anti-masonic party and other individuals who were disgusted with the rumors of the murder of William Morgan, he did disappear, white freemasonry kind of had their head underground, but black freemasonry was growing. In 1845, we created our second lodge in the District of Columbia, Universal Lodge. At that time, Universal Lodge was created in Alexandria, Virginia. Now, Alexandria was still part of the 10 mile square of the district at that time. So it was Alexandria, the District of Columbia, where this -- the lodge of brothers were erected. The reason they were erected there, Alexandria being a port city, several brothers had been made masons overseas in England, and they resided in Alexandria and decided that the trip from Alexandria into Georgetown to meet with the brothers in Washington was getting more difficult, so they wanted a lodge in Alexandria itself, so that was created. A year later, our third lodge, Felix Lodge, was created in Washington D.C. What we -- what's called Western Washington. So by 1846, we had three lodges. Two years later, March of 1848, these three lodges met in convention and formed the Grand Lodge. So, as of 1848, we had the Union Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. In terms of the expansion of masonry here in the District of Columbia, so by the time we reached the Grand Lodge status, we were here to stay, we weren't going anywhere. Grand Lodge created several civic organizations as a strategy to fight civil battles. What I mean is this. Instead of going into courts or interacting with the people in the city as a masonic organization, the brothers decided to create what's called the Social, Civil, and Statistical Association, the Bethel Literary Association, and the Young Men's Literary Association, so as they met, they met under one of those three titles with other people in the public. So there's a cover for what they were doing, advocating again for rights for free blacks in the District of Columbia. But by 1862, Abraham Lincoln had been elected president, and there was rumors afoot that he wanted to send all the black folks out of the United States of America. So, Abraham Lincoln, through one of his men, requested a meeting of a delegation of free blacks from the District of Columbia to discuss a plan, the plan he called, The Panama Plan. And this -- in that meeting, John T. Costin was a former Grandmaster, in fact, he was the second grandmaster of Prince Hall masons in the District. Edward W. Thomas had been grandmaster in 1861, and then there was this young up and comer, real energetic young man named, John F. Cooke, Jr. His father founded the second school for free black folks in the city. He, himself, had been run out of the city, I'm sorry, his father had been run out of the city in 1835 during what was known as the Snow Riot. But -- and he would become -- and he would be a future grandmaster, from 1865 to 1873. And of these five men, delegation, two other men, Cornelius Clark, who was in the Social, Civil, and Statistical Association, but he wasn't a mason. And Benjamin -- Benjamin McCoy, a minister and teacher, in fact, he was the founding minister of the Ashbury Church. Well, Abraham Lincoln made a long, a long plea to these men explaining why, that after slavery, he saw no way that free blacks would want to live in a country with people who had enslaved them. He thought because of the deaths during the Civil War, that the former confederates would never forgive blacks, they would call -- charge them with being the reason that they lost relatives, so he had gotten 600,000 dollars allocated from the United States Congress to ship all blacks out of the United States, to an area of Panama to -- well, it was not -- it wasn't called Panama at that time, but to Panama, to become -- create a country of their own. He thought both free blacks and former slaves shouldn't live in the country, and he needed these five men's delegation blessing to go about to the other free black communities and convince them to buy into his plan. This was August 14, 1862. The five men delegation heard the president's call, was polite, but -- and only one of the five thought about, perhaps, supporting the president's plan, but since he didn't get the support of the four or five men delegation, Lincoln brought the plan up again. So, again, part of the impact of these men, especially those Grandmasters of Prince Hall masons, with them saying no to the president, they wouldn't support the plan, I assert it's one of the reasons there is a black Washington D.C. community today, because if Lincoln had gotten his way, there would be no African Americans in the country, they all would have been shipped out. A lot of people, in a lot of historical settings, as our history is told, especially during this period, this Panama plan is never brought up, the discussion that took place with the president is never brought up, and as far as I know, no one else has made an assertion about the impact of them not accepting the president's recommendation. [Audience mumbling] New information [laughter], again, [applause] -- again, in the -- in the book, we -- we cover the meeting, and, in fact, we thought it was of such importance, that we had the entirety of the president's address through the five men delegation in the book. Okay. 1863 to 1880, talk a little bit about that time. Following the Civil War, Washington D.C. was kind of unique, because all of a sudden blacks began to move into very important positions, like in other -- the reconstruction governments across the south. John F. Cooke, Jr., who I already mentioned, was appointed the Collective Taxes for the District of Columbia. William A. Taliaferro was elected to the Common Council in 1868. Carter A. Stewart was elected to the Common Council in 1868, and the Board of Alderman in 1869. So for a time period, part of the legislative leaders of the District of Columbia were all [inaudible] masons, and even though in the history of the District of Columbia, you might see their names mentioned, no mention is made of the fact that they were masons. Okay, again, John F. Cooke, John F. Cooke, Jr., as I said, was Grandmaster of the -- of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, he served two terms. His first one was 1866 to 1873, and he came back into Chair in the east [phonetic] from 18 -- 1876 to 1877. He was appointed by Ulysses S. Grant. D.C. Chief Tax Collector serving a 10-year term, from 1874 to 1884. Cooke served as the district delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1872 and 1880. And he was also appointed to be D.C.'s Jury Commissioner in 1889. By the way, his wife was also an activist, Helen Appo helped found the National Colored Women's' League. Another one of our brothers was James Wormley. A lot of people don't know, but James Wormley built and owned the -- one of the most prosperous hotels in Washington D.C. in the 1870's. His hotel was at 15th and 8th Street Northwest, in fact, it became a favorite for Washington's rich and famous, attracted by well-managed rooms, renowned cuisine, in fact, his turtle soup and seafood were considered to be excellent dishes, and amenities, such as the first hotel elevator and the first telephone in the hotel was in -- in the Wormley Hotel at 15th and 8th Street. By the way, there's a school, the Wormley School in Georgetown, 3331 Prospect Street, which is there today, was built and named in his honor. 1880 to 1900, because of Howard University, a lot of elite blacks who were attracted to the District of Columbia, men such as Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, Dr. William A. Warfield. In 1886, the Grand Lodge at the District of Columbia hosted the first ever black industrial exposition. That is it was a black expo, 1886 right here in Washington D.C. The only one held in the country during that time, but, again, the brothers of the Grand Lodge at the District of Columbia are the ones who sponsored it. It was held at the Shallow Baptist Church. Also during this time period, there are a lot of writers, by the way, this is a catalog from that -- from that expo, basically the catalog, first industrial exposition, the colored citizens of the District of Columbia, masonic fraternity at Union Bethel Church, September 1886. We're still trying -- I can't find an original copy of the document, but I but I have this facsimile of it. Some prominent freemasons in D.C. during this time period. Dr. Samuel R. Watts, in fact, he was in Lodge number 25. Let me back up. Dr. Samuel R. Watts was the 29th -- the 25th grandmaster of the Grand Lodge District of Columbia. He was an internationally-known doctor, and was very prominent -- prominently featured in his visits to several countries in Europe. Solomon G. Brown, once described as probably the best employee of the Smithsonian Institution. In fact, the original director of the Smithsonian Institution wanted to appoint him as his successor, and stated that he couldn't do it because, him being black, he knew that the white power structure of the government wouldn't allow it. But in -- in most instances where he's talked about, he was the most know -- knowledgeable person about the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution than any other employee of that institution. The next slide is Hamilton S. Smith, he was the 29th Grandmaster of masons here. Hamilton S. Smith was also the son of the last living master of African Lodge 459 of Boston. He was both a dentist and photographer, and, in fact, one of his pictures is -- graces the cover of a recently-published book from Massachusetts about the Grand Lodge, the African -- the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. With the authors just using the picture on the book, and not knowing who took the picture or anything about it. The irony about the picture, doing my research, in fact, I have the sister picture to the one that's on the cover of the book. The picture is of the most [inaudible] Grand Lodge visit to Prince Hall [inaudible]. And prominently in that picture are a couple past grand masters and some very important people that are not named on the cover of the book. The picture on the book contains -- is a picture of the men and women, the husband and wives, who went to the -- on that visit. The sister picture is just a picture of the men, the masons, who were on that trip, and, again, that's part of our files. The other gentlemen at the bottom, Senator Blanche K. Bruce, was a [inaudible] mason. After -- after serving his term in the -- in the government, rather than go back to Mississippi, he settled down and became the leading socialite here in the District of Columbia. Next to him is the 23rd Grandmaster of masons here, this is Leonard C. Bailey. Leonard Bailey was the first black millionaire in the District of Columbia. He made his monies, he designed a trussel of holding in -- for -- for a body wounds, he invented the trussel to hold the body part in for the wounded men. He also invented the folding army cot, that, you know, in fact, that folding army cot, I slept on one when I was in the military myself, so it's still in use. And he made millions, and the millions that he made made him the founder of one of the first -- the first black banking at District of Columbia, Capital Savings Bank, which is down on F Street Northwest, which pictured beside it. And as Dr. Moses pointed out, two other people I'd like to talk about. During the course of writing an article for the Masonic Digest, I wrote one about Washington D.C.'s second-most famous black power couple. And that is, at that time, President Barack and Michelle Obama, but the first Washington D.C. real black power couple was Judge Robert Heberton Terrell and Mary Church Terrell. Now, Robert Terrell, again, was one of our grandmasters at the turn of the century, from 1899 to 1902, he was the first black appointed judge here in the city, and was very significant in helping to found Sigma Phi fly [phonetic] here in the District of Columbia. But probably more famously known was his wife Mary Church Terrell. Mary Church Terrell lived until 1954. Her husband passed away in 1925. She continued to be a leading social activist fighting against segregation in the city. She was also a leading women's suffragette. In fact, on the side, it's kind of a statement, she didn't want to become a member of the Eastern Star, the female affiliate of Prince Hall masons. She told -- she was just too forward-thinking, she said, as an independent. She was fighting for women's rights and she wanted to be a leader in that and she didn't want to be in the organization, but she was a leading proponent and right up, just before her death, she led marches here in D.C. I personally remember -- remember her from the early protests at Glen Echo Park. If any of you older Washingtonians, and know right outside of the district, then Echo Park was an amusement park that, again, desegregated, wouldn't allow African Americans to attend, and she marched against that establishment. So, during the course of the 18th century, I'm sorry, the 19th century, there are many books that's been written, literature written about blacks in D.C. during that period. Among those, Secret City: The History of Race Relations in the Nation's Capital, by Constance Green, an excellent book I suggest everyone would enjoy reading it. Another one, Aristocrat's of Color: The Black Elite: 1880 to 1920, though Willard Gatewood's book wasn't talking just about D.C., the largest percentage of the, quote unquote, "aristocrats" of color were residents here in the city. Another book that talks a lot about the blacks in Washington D.C., especially in the latter part of the 19th century is Leading the Race, by Jacqueline M. Moore. By the way, all of these books are here in the Library of Congress, and most of them can still be acquired through some of the book selling outlets in the city. The fourth book, the Black Anglo-Saxons, by Nathan Hare, it's another that talks about this unique black Washington D.C. community. What was unique about it is that through all of the negative circumstances that people had faced, what gathered here in the District of Columbia, primarily due to the black freemasons of the city, was the most sophisticated, black middle class of any jurisdiction, any political jurisdiction in the nation. If you want to know where the, quote unquote, "uppity blacks" were, they were in Washington D.C. [laughter]. And I use that term affectionately, both said by members of the race and -- and described by many newspaper reporters as they reported on the behavior of these people. But the idea of being organized, fighting as an organized body for rights, and establishing a -- what -- I like the term, a safe zone, where black middle class people could freely express themselves, enjoy citizenship without all of the pressures of black folks in other parts of the south. Remember, we're south of the Mason-Dixon line. There was nowhere else in the south where blacks had as much freedom and expression of themselves, or created as much wealth as what had happened here in the District of Columbia. At the foundation of what made all of that possible, were Prince Hall freemasons. The fact that here in 18 -- 1822 was when the -- when the process began, and the fact that they organized for their rights, stuck together, it's -- it's quite an achievement for that to have occurred in the south. In the north, they say that doing, especially antebellum days during the 1800s that free blacks had more privileges, that might be true, but there was no city anywhere else in the nation where blacks had as much success. During the period of captivity, before the end of the Civil War, and immediately after the end of the Civil War, up to the turn of the century, the most successful blacks in America, as a group, as a class, existed here in Washington D.C. And their story is a result of the Prince Hall Freemasons of the city. We -- we founded it, we're very proud of what we have done, and we only see more success in the future. Our next work will address our successes and impact during the 20th century, but for this presentation, we limit it to the 19th century, because at that time we think it reached kind of a peak of success that we like to talk about. Let me make sure. No, okay, that was the last slide. But I hope that this little, short overview of the book, you know, has been informative. And before we go outside to start signing autographs or selling the book, I would like to take this time to entertain questions from you about -- about...yes, sir? [Inaudible background question] Frederick Douglas did not become a mason. In fact, I would say Frederick Douglas got, my personal opinion, Frederick Douglas thought that the [pause] form of what we do, in practicing masonry, the substance of what masonry is, was a waste of time. He thought that man should be spending more time outwardly working for the freeing of those in captivity. So, he -- but his son was a mason. But he didn't. Yes ma'am? [ Inaudible Background Question ] Yes! [Laughter] That's a -- yeah, well...yeah, okay, let me -- let me answer the -- let me answer the question this way. No, well, it's a very important question because, often times, a lot of -- a lot of African American historians shy away from this point. The mixed race African Americans are 99.9 percent a result of white plantation owners having sex with captured women. Today, it would be called rape, legally, because you have power over somebody and you have sex with them that way. I mean, they don't have the power to give consent, since they're in captivity. So, a lot of these plantation owners who had children with their captive women both respected and loved their children. And in many cases, they gave them a [inaudible] upstate, as it were, and sent them up north to live, there such, right? Washington D.C. became one of the primary landing places for a lot of mixed race people. As an example, I'll talk about Mary Church Terrell. Mary Church's grandfather was a white man that had a son with a black woman. He loved his son, brought him up in his business, gave him money to -- he'd stay right -- yeah, I think it was St. Louis or Kansas City where his son even became very wealthy, as such, and, you know, and they -- his daughter married, Mary Church, she was a feisty, young woman, they sent her off to college, and her grandfather and father took her on a tour of Europe, following her graduation from college, as such. But a lot of people who looked at her when they see her, they wonder what her ethnicity is. In fact, another one of the stories of our fraternity across the board is that in the early days, a lot of the leadership were mixed race brothers and -- were mixed race black men because of that one phenomenon. Not that they didn't escape and run north, like a lot of blacks did, but a lot of them were actually given their freedom by their fathers and sent north to other cities where they could live a decent life. And so I do understand, by looking at the pictures, you could think, wow, they all -- they're not, quote unquote "dark black". But because of the one-drop rule passed by the government, you know, like the real status, if you had one drop of black blood, no matter what you look like, you were considered black. And a lot of people -- a lot of people of mixed race, a lot of -- a lot of mixed race people don't look black. In fact, one of the phenomenons that occur in this country, there's a term called passing, and a lot of black folks -- a lot of people who, by law, would be considered by black are passing for white, because if you don't know -- you don't know their DNA or blood line, you would never be able to tell that they had one drop of black blood. But that's a good question. Yes, sir? [ Inaudible Background Question ] Oh, beautiful question. Well, William [inaudible] was the grandson of Martha Custer Washington. Marth Custer's father brought him into the world. Alright? So he -- Marth -- [pause] her father, Martha's father, alright, was his father also. Now, Martha had a mixed -- Martha's sister was a mixed race woman, Native American and black. And when Martha got married, her father gave her her step sister, you know, as her captive. After Martha was married and had a child, her son, when he got of age, he raped his aunt, not knowing it was his aunt. Alright? And so her son had a child with her stepsister, so, William [inaudible] was both Martha's grandson and nephew [audience mumbling] as such. Now here was such a high-spirited and intelligent man, that when both George and Martha died, he left the plantation of his own free will and moved into the district. He became one of the most trusted men at the Bank of Washington. In fact, a lot of widowed women with monies would call on him to come to their homes -- would send for him to come to their homes and get monies that he would go down and deposit in the Bank of Washington. By the way, the Bank of Washington is, today, is in the exact spot where it was during Billy's life. And he had the respect of a lot of whites at that time who knew what his parentage was. So they knew that he was a Custer's [inaudible], and, in fact, after Martha died, the [inaudible] sisters, or the Custer's sisters had Billy do all of their banking and official work. They didn't trust their -- they trusted him more than they trusted their own blood brother. So he had quite a status. In fact, when he died in 1842, he was the first African American to have -- or to be eulogized on the floor of the House of Representatives, and the man who eulogized him was the former President and newly-elected House of Representative, John Quincy Adams, eulogized him in 1842 on the House -- on the floor of the House of Representative. And then the newspapers of the day, you know, like his funeral procession was covered by all the local media, in terms of the respect of the number of people who turned out to honor this man. Both black and white, he was one of the most honored men during his lifetime in the District of Columbia. Yes, sir? [ Inaudible Background Question ] Hard -- yeah, it was a six-year effort. A lot of the works are in the masonic library in our, thank god for the grandmaster of masons of our back in the late 1800's who had enough foresight to say that it was intention to create the best masonic library in America. And he told his man, hey, he didn't care about the rules, he wanted all of the proceedings of the black masons in the country, as well as the white masons. So thanks to him, a lot of original records are copies of the original records at our masonic library. There's another process in masonry where the -- we have a CCFC, a chairman [laughing] -- chairman -- chairman of the committee on foreign correspondence whose responsibility it is to communicate with other grand lodges. Whenever a -- when we printed our proceedings for what we did for the year, our chairman would send copies, or at least write a summary of what we had accomplished for the year, and send those summaries to other grand lodges. So we had to go out and look in the records of other grand lodges for a CCFC report, and I guess the other thing, my background as a historian. I went back to school after engineering and got degrees in history and philosophy. But in studying African American history, prior to becoming a mason, a lot of these people knew their place in society and contributions they had made, for my background as a historian. I didn't know they were masons! Until six, you know, within the last six years. By the way, I was asked, I volunteered to assist Brother Roundtree, in fact, I was asked to volunteer because of my background as an African American historian, to Brother Roundtree is a researcher and a writer, but wasn't necess -- didn't, at that time, consider himself a historian. So, we wanted to add this flavor to the works that would be produced. So I was quite surprised to find that a lot of the people who were already heroes of mine from black history were also [inaudible] masons. And so, you know, so it was kind of like a cross fertilization. My background plus the masonic records, my method of research added to Brother Roundtree's method of research, it was definitely a work of collaboration. Yes, ma'am? [ Inaudible Background Question ] Oh, yes! John T. Costin, as an example, was personally responsible for uplifting blacks in Georgia. He left D.C. and was called a, quote unquote "carpet bagger", but after -- after the war, he went to Georgia, traveled all over the state organizing black folks, both for the purpose of organizing them to vote to get empowerment in that way, and also in community meetings, teaching them how to organize their resources for their own upliftment. Another gentleman, Richard Howell Gleaves, who was a past national grandmaster and from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, went to South Carolina. In fact, he was elected the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina during the reconstruction era. He as from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but he came back and settled down, became a member of -- of the our body in Washington D.C., but his personal wealth and knowledge helped uplift the -- I did it again, uplift the brothers in South Carolina. So there was a way that the people, our knowledge and organizing skills, went south to organize in the south, the newly-freed Africans there, right? To help them get their act together. Another thing that people might not know, but both Absalom Jones and Richard Allen of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, were both grandmasters of masonry in the state of Pennsylvania, and they sent riding bishops into the south to organize churches. The two elements of what makes a community, where they organize men as masons, and the church. They was the anchor for spiritual development, as such, right? And, again, those ideas, [inaudible] from [inaudible] masonry went to settle and help create the successful communities of blacks in the south following the Civil War. Yes, sir? [ Inaudible Background Question ] Okay, well, because of the grand lodge being here in 1867, I think when [inaudible] was formed, that the -- the -- those men who created the institution depended on a lot of the -- the brothers in [inaudible] masonry to help give them a way and get them set up. Dr. Warfield, who set up Howard University's Surgery Department, was also one of our grandmaster, a grandmaster of masons, alright, here in the District of Columbia. I don't have a list of all the professors, but there was always a close relationship between our grand lodge and [inaudible] Howard. In fact, from 1865 until 1925, if you were an African American man in America, the highest social status you could have was being a mason, being a [inaudible] mason. The reason I put that date and line in there is because from 190 -- from 1904 through 1925 is the period of the creation of the Greek fraternities on college campuses, and over time, even though each one of them used our procedures and our handbooks to create their organizations, as such, right, as one became educated through time, in the minds of some people, being a [pause] Greek -- in a Greek fraternity was the highest status than being a mason. But about, I would say from 1920 to 19 -- well, until 2016, or until today, one of the most [inaudible] statement that you can make is that you're a double brother. Now, double brothers are mason and an omega or mason and an alpha, a mason and a cappa, or what have you, but double brothers. So, [laughter], you know, it's like we -- we created them, they -- they've come back and we've joined. So we both have the -- the frater -- the college fraternal order and [inaudible] masonry all have the same goals for our communities. There's [inaudible] in moving forward. Yes? That's the last...alright, last question. Yes, sir? [ Inaudible Background Question ] Okay, well, I'll put it this way, is the -- when the masons of -- of the revolutionary period, designed the documents, which are the foundation of this country, in fact, 13 out of the 39 men who created the Constitution were masons. The first country in the world to have a constitution is the United States, and the idea came from the fact that masonry was run by Anderson's Constitution. And many of the elements in the U.S. Constitution duplicate what's in Anderson's Constitution. But the -- what we call America's original sin, not just slavery, but the discrimination that slavery caused, [inaudible] tenants say that in the country, that all men are created equal. The government didn't practice that, and though freemasonry is a -- is an organization itself, which states that all men are brothers, so we don't -- we only deal with each other based on what's in our hearts, in those days, these three [phonetic] didn't do that. So there was discrimination. There were whites who wouldn't -- who didn't allow their interaction. My co-author wrote a piece several years ago, called two faces, one public and one private, in which -- which -- what was pointed out is that there have always been white masons who worked with and helped black masons move forward. But at the same time, there have always been white masons who did everything they could to prevent us from moving anywhere, and who denied our legitimacy, as such. Right? So that's internal politics. So, in America, as opposed to anywhere else in the world, what's called [inaudible] freemasonry is talked about as black freemasonry or African American freemasonry. But the truth of the matter is both groups practiced the exact same thing. Both groups do. But, again, the legacy of racism and discrimination has -- is still with us. There are -- of the 50 states in the country, there are 8 grand lodge, or white masons, primarily in the south, who don't recognize black freemasonry as a legitimate fraternal organization. Therefore, when we talk, we have to talk about white masonry and black masonry and we bring up those circumstances. Okay? Well, thank you very much! [ Applause ] >> Dr. Sibyl Moses: You know, I really would like to thank Tehuti Evans for honoring our invitation, because every time he speaks, he speaks as he has spoken today. Okay, his mind is so fertile, and it's such a wonderful experience every conversation you have with this man, is so enlightening, and what he has done with Alton Roundtree is enable us now to tell the story of African Americans in the District of Columbia, because now historians can now take their work and integrate it into future histories, and this is what is needed across the country. This is what is needed. We invite you to come back again. While you're here, please go down and register in Room 140 to become a registered reader of the Library of Congress, so that you can come back and use our collections. Please, also, use the bibliography that we have prepared to see what we actually have in -- in our collections. It's -- it's unbelievable when you look and dig what is here. Just the other day, I called Tehuti, and I said, you know, I -- I found a letter by John Cooke, you know, is this our John Cooke? And he said, yes. It was John Cooke, Sr., it's a letter, 1837, downstairs, and the curators and the manuscript collection have pulled that document out along with some other documents so that we can go down and actually see them, alright? So what I have for you, Mr. Evans, and for you, Mr. David, is a copy of one of the [pause] -- a copy of one of the reports that Thurgood Marshall made to the NAACP's legal defense fund, talking about the money, actually documenting, it was his report to the conference of grand masters where he documents what the funds that the Prince Hall masons gave to the NAACP's legal defense fund actually achieved. Okay, and we know that there were over 400 school desegregation cases. [Applause] So, you have that, okay? And on a final note, my father was a double brother [laughter]. He left Howard, he was drafted while he was a student at Howard University to go to Tuskegee Army air-flying school as a Tuskegee airman, and while he was in Tuskegee, Alabama, he became a Prince Hall mason. He went through Lewis Adams Lodge, and for those of us who know, Lewis Adams was one of the founders of Tuskegee Institute, along with Booker T. Washington, and so they named the lodge after him, and my father went through that lodge, and one of the things he has always told us is that to be a balanced black person, you have to belong to the craft and to a fraternity. That's what he would say. He said, because there you get the representation of all of us, and he said that Prince Hall freemasonry was the gatekeeper of our culture, and you can hear from Tehuti's presentation today how it is. You cannot tell the story of African Americans in this country without telling the story of Prince Hall freemasonry. So, thank you, again, for coming. The book is available outside, and we hope you will come back! [ Applause ] >> Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Library of Congress. Visit us at loc.gov.

Contents

History

This district was created in 1833. The district was eliminated in 1993.

List of members representing the district

Representative Party Years District home Electoral history
District created in 1833
Samuel S. Harrison Jacksonian March 4, 1833 –
March 3, 1837
Kittanning [Data unknown/missing.]
William Beatty Democratic March 4, 1837 –
March 3, 1841
Butler [Data unknown/missing.]
William Jack Democratic March 4, 1841 –
March 3, 1843
Greensburg [Data unknown/missing.]
Charles M. Reed Whig March 4, 1843 –
March 3, 1845
Erie [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Chief Justice James Thompson.jpg

James Thompson
Democratic March 4, 1845 –
March 3, 1851
Erie [Data unknown/missing.]
Retired.
Carlton Brandaga Curtis - Brady-Handy.jpg

Carlton B. Curtis
Democratic March 4, 1851 –
March 3, 1853
Erie [Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 16th district.
Michael C. Trout Democratic March 4, 1853 –
March 3, 1855
Hickory Township [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
John Allison Representative - Brady-Handy.jpg

John Allison
Opposition March 4, 1855 –
March 3, 1857
Beaver [Data unknown/missing.]
Retired from the House in 1856
William Stewart Republican March 4, 1857 –
March 3, 1861
Mercer [Data unknown/missing.]
John Winfield Wallace - Brady-Handy.jpg

John W. Wallace
Republican March 4, 1861 –
March 3, 1863
New Castle [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
TWilliams-PA.jpg

Thomas Williams
Republican March 4, 1863 –
March 3, 1869
Pittsburgh [Data unknown/missing.]
Darwin Phelps Republican March 4, 1869 –
March 3, 1871
Kittanning Not candidate for renomination in 1870
EbenezerMcJunkin.jpg

Ebenezer McJunkin
Republican March 4, 1871 –
1874
Butler [Data unknown/missing.]
Resigned to become presiding judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Pennsylvania
John M. Thompson Republican December 22, 1874 –
March 3, 1875
Butler [Data unknown/missing.]
Alexander G. Cochran Democratic March 4, 1875 –
March 3, 1877
Pittsburgh [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
TMBayne.jpg

Thomas M. Bayne
Republican March 4, 1877 –
March 3, 1891
Pittsburgh Declined nomination in 1890
William Alexis Stone.jpg

William A. Stone
Republican March 4, 1891 –
November 9, 1898
Pittsburgh [Data unknown/missing.]
Resigned to become Governor of Pennsylvania
Vacant November 9, 1898 –
November 29, 1898
William H Graham 1901.jpg

William H. Graham
Republican November 29, 1898 –
March 3, 1903
Pittsburgh [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Allen F. Cooper Republican March 4, 1903 –
March 3, 1911
Uniontown [Data unknown/missing.]
Thomas S. Crago Republican March 4, 1911 –
March 3, 1913
Waynesburg [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Wooda N. Carr Democratic March 4, 1913 –
March 3, 1915
Uniontown [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
RobertFHopwood.jpg

Robert F. Hopwood
Republican March 4, 1915 –
March 3, 1917
Uniontown [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Bruce Foster Sterling.jpeg

Bruce F. Sterling
Democratic March 4, 1917 –
March 3, 1919
Uniontown [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
SamuelAustinKendall.jpg

Samuel A. Kendall
Republican March 4, 1919 –
March 3, 1923
Somerset [Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 24th district.
William I. Swoope Republican March 4, 1923 –
March 3, 1927
Clearfield [Data unknown/missing.]
Retired.
J. Mitchell Chase Republican March 4, 1927 –
March 3, 1933
Clearfield [Data unknown/missing.]
Retired.
J. Banks Kurtz Republican March 4, 1933 –
January 3, 1935
Altoona Redistricted from the 21st district.
Lost re-election.
Don Gingery Democratic January 3, 1935 –
January 3, 1939
Clearfield [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
James E. Van Zandt (Pennsylvania Congressman).jpg

James E. Van Zandt
Republican January 3, 1939 –
September 24, 1943
[Data unknown/missing.] [Data unknown/missing.]
Resigned to re-enter service with the United States Navy
Vacant September 24, 1943 –
November 2, 1943
D. Emmert Brumbaugh (Pennsylvania Congressman).jpg

D. Emmert Brumbaugh
Republican November 2, 1943 –
January 3, 1945
[Data unknown/missing.] [Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 22nd district.
J. Buell Snyder.jpeg

J. Buell Snyder
Democratic January 3, 1945 –
February 24, 1946
[Data unknown/missing.] Redistricted from the 24th district.
Died.
Vacant February 24, 1946 –
May 21, 1946
Carl H. Hoffman Republican May 21, 1946 –
January 3, 1947
Somerset [Data unknown/missing.]
Retired.
William J. Crow Republican January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1949
Uniontown [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Anthony Cavalcante Democratic January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1951
Uniontown [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Edward L. Sittler, Jr. Republican January 3, 1951 –
January 3, 1953
Uniontown [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Leon H. Gavin 88th Congress 1963.jpg

Leon H. Gavin
Republican January 3, 1953 –
September 15, 1963
Oil City Redistricted from the 19th district.
Died.
Vacant September 15, 1963 –
November 5, 1963
Albert W. Johnson 88th Congress 1965.jpg

Albert W. Johnson
Republican November 5, 1963 –
January 3, 1977
Smethport [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Joseph S. Ammerman.jpeg

Joseph S. Ammerman
Democratic January 3, 1977 –
January 3, 1979
Curwensville [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
BillClinger.jpg

William F. Clinger Jr.
Republican January 3, 1979 –
January 3, 1993
Warren [Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 5th district.
District eliminated in 1993

Election results

References

  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present

This page was last edited on 31 March 2019, at 22:25
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