Who We Are
PRINCE HALL SHRINEDOM embraces all of the basic fundamental concepts of the Masonic Order, but is more colorful, with a broader spectrum of visibility by the manner in which it dispenses charity in the community, and the care for its own.
John George Jones, the founder, is said to have been introduced to the ritualistic mysteries of the Order by one Ali Rofelt Pasha, Deputy and representative from the Grand Council of Arabia, during the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Shrinedom, because of its pageantry, has on occasions been referred to as the “Display” House in Masonry, causing men to sometimes join the prerequisite Houses solely with the intent on becoming a Shriner.
There are 224 Constituent Temples throughout the Imperial Domain (the World), with a membership of over 25,000 – and growing.
Shrinedom is thought of as a Fraternal, Social, and Charitable Organization: FRATERNAL in the sense of using passwords and symbols to remind the members to ever strive for inner self-improvement; SOCIAL from the standpoint of the enjoyment of good times within its own ranks; and CHARITABLE for its unselfish giving of goods and services on both the local and national level.
Heading the list of recipients is the NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund, the Urban League, and United Negro College Fund, along with Annual Grants to several institutions of higher learning and hospitals throughout the land, for medical and other research projects.
Substantial grants are awarded to colleges annually to supplement the education of economically deprived youth, along with a program of financial aid to fight drugs, crime and delinquency. There is also a national scholarship grant program for young ladies between the ages of 17 and 24 to attend colleges and universities of their choice. They also strongly endorse the Assault on Illiteracy (AOIP), amid an engagement in development programs with Third World Countries.
The Shrine Organization is 108 years old and takes great pride in its Auxiliary, which is composed of wives, sisters, mothers and daughters of the membership – officially styled, the Imperial Court.
They are 90 years old and mirror, in some respect, the activities of the parent body. Both share offices in the organization’s Headquarters Building located in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Shrine is headed by the Imperial Potentate, and the Imperial Court by the Imperial Commandress. The red Fez is worn by the men and the white Fez by the women, both of whom are community oriented – and definitely on the move!
The Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine of North and South America and Its Jurisdictions, Inc. has a long and colorful history. The order was established as an Imperial Council of Prince Hall Shriners on June 3, 1893, in Chicago, Illinois, by 13 Prince Hall Masons under the leadership of John George Jones. They met in the Apollo Hall on State Street where Palestine Temple was organized. On June l0, 1893, Jones and his associates organized the Imperial Grand Council of Prince Hall Shriners. Jones, who was an attorney, immediately went about organizing Prince Hall Shrine Temples in Los Angeles, California, Washington D.C., Jacksonville, Florida, Indianapolis, Indiana, Baltimore, Maryland, Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, New York City, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Providence, Rhode Island, Alexandria and Richmond, Virginia. In September of 1889, Isaac L.W. Holland, the Illustrious Potentate of Pyramid Temple in Philadelphia, sent out a call to members of Prince Hall Shrine Temples within the nation to meet with him for the purpose of reorganizing the Imperial Grand Council. On December 12, 1900, a meeting was held in Philadelphia with officers and members attending from Temples in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and from Alexandria, Virginia, At this meeting the Imperial Council was reorganized and the order adopted a new name: Imperial Council of the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine of North and South America and its Jurisdiction, Incorporated.
The first annual session of the newly organized Imperial Council was held on September 25, 1901, in Newark, New Jersey, it was here that a Constitution was formally adopted, establishing the fraternity as it is today, and designating the Imperial Council as a charitable, benevolent, fraternal. and social organization, dedicated to the welfare and extension of Prince Hall Freemasonry, and decreeing that membership in the order be confined to regular freemasons who were members of lodges descended from African Lodge #459 (African Lodge #459 established on September 29, 1784, was formally African Lodge #l formed on July 3, 1776; Massachusetts).
The Worldwide Fraternal Shrine Family has a membership of approximately 35,000 in some 227 Shrine Temples and 200 Courts, its women’s auxiliary, the Imperial Court, throughout the Continental United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, England, Spain, Hawaii, Japan, Korea, Guam, Thailand, Panama, and the Bahamas. The Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine is primarily a benevolent, charitable and fraternal organization, Its membership is dedicated to the principle of fostering civic, economic and educational development programs throughout the world.
The Fraternal Order has fostered the following programs:
- Annual grants of thousands of dollars to the Prince Hall Shrine Health and Medical Research Foundation.
- Annual grants to several institutions of higher learning and to hospitals throughout the United States for Medical research.
- A National Scholarship Grand Program for young ladies between the ages of 17-24 to attend college and universities of their choice,
- Annual Educational Grants for economically deprived youths.
- A program of financial aid to youth in their fight against drugs, crimes, and delinquency.
- Annual grants to the N.A.A.C.P., the Legal Defense Fund, and the United Negro College Fund.
- Support summer camps for youth,
- Voter education and registration drives.
- Establishment of and maintaining dialogue with White House officials, Congress men, and national leaders on various issues affecting African-Americans and others
Pledge of the Nobility
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, as citizens, to conduct ourselves with due propriety, conforming to our established laws, in cooperation with our nation and its authorized officials.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to maintain exacting high standards in our respective community life, that “DEMOCRACY” may become a living reality.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to the promotion, along with other thoughtful citizens, of modern and practical legislation enacted by any government agency, that will redound to the benefit of our “AMERICAN” way of life.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to support duly constituted authority for the elimination of anti-social conditions, wherever found to exist, that we and all other people may enjoy a rich, round and full life.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to morally support and encourage every social agency, that has for its purpose the maintenance of the highest ideals of the people of the nation.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to cooperate fully in disseminating “TRUTH”, among the people of the earth, to the end that “DEMOCRACY” shall prevail forever, and the peace of every nation be preserved.