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Adairsville • Cassville • Cartersville • Euharlee •
Kingston • Lake Allatoona • Summer Hill

21 Aubrey Street | Cartersville, Georgia 30120

Masonic Lodges were established in at the end of the 14th century in Europe, for meetings of stonemasons who formed a “spiritual brotherhood” based on belief in a Higher Power. They also shared secret rituals based on symbolism found mainly in the manual tools of the trade, such as the square and compasses, level, plumb rule, and trowel. They also sought to perform charitable works. The first American Lodges were founded in Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s.

In 1775, an African American named Prince Hall, along with 14 other free men of color, was initiated into a British Military Lodge, The Grand Lodge of Ireland. These men, after many trials and setbacks, established African Lodge #1, in 1784 in Boston. Prince Hall Freemasonry soon grew and organized a Grand Lodge System for each state. Widespread racial segregation in 19th and early 20th century North America made it difficult for African Americans to join lodges outside of Prince Hall jurisdiction.

First established locally as Mount Zion Lodge #6 on Dec. 11, 1896, this lodge remains one of the oldest continually active African American lodges in the state. W.H. Hendrick served as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1913, at the time the cornerstone was laid. Secret “members only” Masonic ceremonies were held upstairs, while social events and community meetings occupied the downstairs hall.

The Benevolent Brotherhood Society, the charitable arm of the Lodge, was established on Nov. 16, 1898 by Ben Tomkins, an illiterate black man from the Mechanicsville Community, “to provide for the needs of the sick, poor, hungry, homeless, shut-ins, and downtrodden.”

Every person in the Summer Hill community, from schoolchildren up to senior citizens, contributed a nickel or dime a week to the fund. Most had no other form of “insurance” available in case of disaster. If someone had need of funds for an emergency, they could request aid from the Benevolent Brotherhood, as the charitable arm of the Lodge.



African American

Heritage Trail

Bartow County, Ga

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