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Q: Who was the first Black Freemason
A: If John Pine (born 1690, died 1756) was not the first Negro made a mason in England he was not far behind. He was a member of the lodge at Globe Tavern, Morgate in 1725 where his name was spelled ‘Pyne’. He was an engraver and a close friend of the painter Hogarth. He became famous in his day by being the engraver who produced the beautiful frontis-piece to Dr. James Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723. The same engraving was used again in the 1738 edition of Anderson’s Constitutions.
Beside the art work in the Constitutions Bro. John Pine engraved the annual List of Lodges from 1725 to 1741. They were done in the form of a packet of loose cards rather than being bound in a book. These lists showed the sign of the tavern or inn where the lodge met ; the address of the inn ; and the time and night of meetings. The first page of the 1725 List of Lodges pictured the engraved signs of the Goose and Grid Iron, Queens Head at two locations, Horn, King’s Head, Griffin, Three Compasses, and Fountain Tavern.
The Book of Constitutions came about when the Grand Lodge, organized in London in 1717, requested Rev. Anderson DD to digest the old Constitutions into a new and usable system . The work was completed and published in 1723 and the House of the Temple in Washington has two copies of the original 1723 edition as well as copies of the 1738 edition .
Bro. John Pine served as Marshall of the Processions on January 29th, 1730 when Lord Kingston, GM escorted the Duke of Norfolk, GL-Elect, from the Duke’s house in St. James Square (London) to Merchant Taylor’s Hall. "The Marshall, Mr. Pyne , is to bear a Truncheon painted blew and tipt in gold "
John Pine who was described as fat and jovial, was born in London, and spent his entire life there. Other than his Masonic engravings, he produced an unbelievable quantity of art, chiefly in the form of book illustrations. John Pine, like Hogarth, trained as a silversmith’s engraver and became London’s finest heraldic and decorative engraver. This led to an appointment as Bluemantle Pursuivant in the College of Heralds in 1743 where he took up residence.
A monumental work was an exquisite edition of "Horace" in which the whole text was engraved and illustrated with ancient bas-reliefs and representations of gems. Known as "Pine’s Horace," this was published in two volumes in 1733 and 1737 and is now a collector’s item of considerable value.
The "Dictionary of National Biography" whose approximately 70 volumes list the most important British personages through the years, devotes about two full columns to John Pine and almost as much to his son, Robert Edge Pine, who was also an artist. The son migrated to America after the signing of the Declaration of Independence with the intention of painting the important persons involved in the Revolution as well as scenes of interest. Robert Pine spent three weeks at Mt. Vernon painting George Washington and his family. 

WebMaster’s additional note: THE LEGACY OF JOHN PINE
As the first official engraver to Grand Lodge, John Pine established a tradition of high-quality engraving and decoration in masonic documents and publications which has continued to the present day. Many leading artists have produced works for Freemasons and Masonic organizations.

This article appeared on the web page of Edward Dugger, Jr. Military Lodge No. 123, Huber Heights, Ohio 45424

Q: how do I become a Prince Hall Hason
A: For a Fraternity steeped in over two hundred years of tradition, you might think it is difficult to become a mason. It is. There is one major hurdle each candidate must pass. They must ask.

Why hasn’t anyone ever asked me to join?
There’s a rule in Masonry that a person must seek admission himself. We don’t go out and twist arms. A person needs to come to Masonry, because he really wants to, not because he’s been talked into it.

Why do Masons wear aprons?
The apron is a tangible tie to the operative stonemasons who wore leather aprons centuries ago to carry their tools. Today, it is worn as the badge of a Mason in the lodge, at certain public events and at a members’ funeral.

Why does Masonry use symbols?
Everyone uses symbols everyday, because it allows us to communicate quickly. When you see a red light, you know what it means. When you see a circle with a line through it, you know it means “no.” In fact, using symbols is probably the oldest method of communication and teaching.

Masons use symbols for the same reasons. The “Square and Compass” is the most widely known symbol of Masonry. In one way, this symbol is a kind of trademark for the fraternity. When you see it on a building, you know that Masons meet there.

Is there a lodge near me? YES.
Prince Hall Masonry accepts no one for membership unless they come of their own free will and accord, having already obtained a favorable impression of our Fraternity.

Each petitioner must:

Have attained the age of eighteen.
Believe in God as the Grand Architect of the Universe.
Live an ethical and moral life.
We believe that men are made Masons in their hearts, and then they ask to join our Fraternity. Freemasonry will take men—good men in their community—and help them become better men. Each man brings something different into the Fraternity, as different as the types of men that become Masons, but each shares a common core of beliefs and of dreams; each believes that, in a small way, by their actions they help make their world, their communities, and themselves better.

Is Masonry a religion?
Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion. Masonry acknowledges the existence of God and teaches that without religion, a man can never reach his full potential. But, Masonry does not tell a person, which religion he should practice or how he should practice it. That is a function of his house of worship, not his fraternity.

Sometimes people confuse Masonry with a religion, because sometimes we call some Masonic buildings “temples.” But, we use the word in the same sense that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes calls the Supreme Court a “Temple of Justice.” Neither Masonry nor the Supreme Court is a religion just because its members meet in a “temple.” Most Prince Hall lodges refer to their buildings as Masonic Halls.

Why is Masonry so secretive?
It really isn’t secretive, although it sometimes has that reputation. Masons certainly don’t make a secret of the fact that we are members of the fraternity. We wear, lapel pins and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the square and compasses. Masonic buildings are clearly marked and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secrets—Bar-b-cues and other events are often listed in the newspapers, especially in small towns. But, there are two traditional categories of secrets. First are the ways in which a man can identify himself as a Mason: grips and passwords. This is the same for any fraternity. Second are Masonic ceremonies, which are private (for members only), but are not secret.

What about those “secret vows” I hear so much about?
The exact words of the vows are secret. That’s one of the ways we recognize each other. The contents are not. In less formal language, a Mason promises to treat women with deference and respect; to help a brother when he asks for and needs help; to remember people are entitled to dignity and respect; to follow the directions of the Grand Lodge, and if he disagrees, to use the proper channels to express that disagreement and seek resolution; to respect the tradition of the fraternity; to uphold the laws of the community, state and nation; and to keep secret the few things that are.

How to obtain a petition:
Contact or talk to someone you know is a Prince Hall Freemason. If you do not know anyone who is a member of the Fraternity, contact Adelphic Union Lodge # 14's Secretary at-------, explaining your interest, and that you are requesting a petition. You are required to pay an administrative fee, make your check or money order payable to the Lodge, (Note: If you do not qualify for any reason, this fee is not refundable)

Q: Famous Freemasons

Q: Are all Freemason organizations the same? What should I look for before asking to become a member?

Q: Is freemasonry segregated?

Q: Are there Prince Hall Grand Lodges with the Prince Hall name?