One of the century-old Memorial Day events in Boston’s North End is the annual Prince Hall Freemasons Memorial Service at Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. The scene from today’s event remains strikingly similar to the 1908 service shown on the sign near the grave site.
Escorting the Prince Hall Freemasons to Copp’s Hill were the Low Twelve Masonic Riders Association, as the group then continued to Arlington for a second service.
Prince Hall (c.1735-1807) was the founder of “Black Freemasonry” in the United States, known today as Prince Hall Freemasonry, and formed the African Grand Lodge where he was Grand Master. He was one of the first abolitionists.
Prince Hall is buried in Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in the North End in a marked grave. A monument was erected in 1835 next to the grave. Thousands of African Americans who lived in the colonial North End community at the base of Copp’s Hill are buried here, mostly in unmarked graves.