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.

Photos by Matt Conti

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  1. Good afternoon it is blessing to see the burial site of our own Patron Saint MWGM Prince Hall.
    When I visited Boston in 1983 I never thought about joining Prince Hall Frermasonry but 26 years later took that bold step.
    Sometime later I will visit this historic site

  2. Great photos Matt. I always appreciated seeing the participants of this historical annual event. It brings some of the history of Copp’s Hill Cemetery to life. Thanks…

  3. Watched many of the celebrations for Prince Hall as a young boy. My bedroom window, was directly across from the monument. In those days, as I recall, many of the celebrants were women, dressed in their white finery.. It wasn’t, till many years later that I really knew who he was and what he had achieved. Thanks Nick for another wonderful trip down memory lane.

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