Black Spaces in White Worlds: Prince Hall Freemasonry, Emancipation and the Contingencies of Empire

Boston National Historical Park


Registration is by donation of any amount


Virtual (Zoom)

Dates & Times


Wednesday, February 22, 2023


7:00 PM


1 hour and 30 minutes

Type of Event

Partner Program


Join Dr. Chernoh Sesay and Old North Illuminated on Zoom for a talk exploring Black religious and political spaces during the Revolutionary War and early republic.

As Americans weathered the turbulent days of the Revolutionary War and early republic, African Americans carved out their own religious and political spaces in the new nation. In this talk, Dr. Chernoh Sesay of DePaul University will explore how enslaved and marginalized people of African descent fashioned community in unexpected places and played pivotal roles in historic change. Special attention will be given to Black religious and political spaces in Boston, including the emergence of Prince Hall Freemasonry, a branch of Freemasonry for African Americans founded by the Beacon Hill abolitionist Prince Hall.

Drawing on archival material from Boston’s churches and recent scholarship, Dr. Sesay will explore the themes of gender, ritual kinship, abolition, and emancipation in Black religious spaces. This talk will also consider how the circumstances and contradictions of the American Revolutionary era were shaped by the religious and political experiences of African Americans.

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