The Origin and Nature of the Cryptic Rite in the Prince Hall Fraternity

The Origin And Nature Of The Cryptic Rite in the Prince Hall Fraternity

Nine ArchesThe first Grand council of record was in Hartford Connecticut, May 18 1819. Several councils and grand councils spread across America shortly thereafter. In June 12, 1873 the General Council of Royal Select Master s of USA was formed at New York, NY. It consisted of 34 accredited illustrious Companions and 15 Grand Councils.(4)

The Cryptic degrees were slower to take root in the Prince Hall Fraternity. It was not until August 14, 1916 that the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons for Ohio, at its session at Dayton, sanctioned the establishment of Councils of Royal and Select Masters. Three Councils were authorized: Adoniram No. 1 in Cleveland, Zabud No. 2 in Toledo, and Herald No. 3 in Columbus. On August 13, 1917, a convention of delegates from these three councils organized a Grand Council at Cincinnati, and is body was incorporated under the laws of Ohio on December 21, 1920.

Councils were soon organized in Dayton (1916), Oberlin, Boston, Zanesville, Chicago, Newark (1964), Portsmouth, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Springfield. Deputies were appointed for Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois(1923), New York, Rhode Island and Massachusettes. It wasn’t until after the Great Depression of 1929 that Council spread to other Prince Hall jurisdictions. (5)

The Prince Hall Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters, Sate of New York warranted by the Prince Hall Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Ohio on May 26th, 1958, which included three subordinate councils: Alpha Council #1 (New York); Jordan Council #2 (Connecticut); and Philadelphia Council #3 (Pennsylvania) To note, this New York Grand Council R&SM has contributed to the establishment of Grand Councils R&SM in neighboring jurisdictions: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and Florida.(6) 

(4) Gould’s History of Freemasonry, 1936
(5) edited from, A History of Freemasonry Among Negroes in America by Harry E. Davis, 1946

Excerpted from Prince Hall Cryptic Masonry by Comp. Michael Post (//