Piggott and Davis publish book on early Grand Masters of Prince Hall Masons

Piggott and Davis publish book on early Grand Masters of Prince Hall Masons
July 14
05:10 2016


Benjamin H. Piggott, a 32nd degree Prince Hall Mason,  and Lenwood G. Davis published “The Life and Times of Four Early Grand Masters:  James W. Hood, George W. White, James H. Young, and James E. Shepard of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall  Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina and Jurisdiction, Inc.”

The Foreword was written by The Honorable Milton “Toby” Fitch, Jr. 23rd Grand Master of the Prince Hall Lodges in North Carolina.

James W. Hood was the founder of several Prince Hall Masonic Lodges in North Carolina and was the first Grand Master.  He was also the first African-American Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of North Carolina, A.M.E. Zion Bishop, founder of over 200 churches, world traveler, founder of a news-paper, Deputy Collector Customs and Grand Patron of Order of the Eastern Star.

George W. White was Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons. He was a United States Congressman from North Carolina. He was the last African-American to serve in Congress after Reconstruction. White founded a bank, town, and co-founded a church. He was an attorney, Solicitor in the United States, real estate investor, and the first to introduce a bill in Congress making lynching a federal crime punishable by death.

James H. Young was Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons, editor of a newspaper, Registrar of Deeds, Collector of Customs, the first African-American Colonel in the United States Army, the organizer and commanding officer of the Third North Carolina Infantry, Chief Fertilizer Inspector for the State of North Carolina and a real estate investor.

James E. Shepard was twice Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons. Besides being founder and President of North Carolina Central University, he was a Baptist Minister, pharmacist, world traveler, Field Superintendent of Work Among the Negroes for the International Sunday School Association, real-estate dealer, one of the founders of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance (one of the world’s largest American insurance companies), editor of a newspaper, and co-founder of the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs.

One of the chapters in the book discusses Joseph Charles Price, founder of Livingstone College. Although he was not a Grand Master of the Prince Hall Lodge, he was a Grand Orator of the Masons and one of the best known Masons and African-American leader. Price was also an A.M. E. Zion Minister, founder of a magazine, woman’s right advocate, president of two civil rights organizations, world traveler, international known orator and a Pan-Africanist.

The book also includes the writings and speeches of Prince Hall, James Walker Hood, George Henry White, James Hunter Young, James E. Shepard and Joseph Charles Price, past Grand Masters from 1870 – 2015, listings of names and locations of the M:W: Prince Hall Grand Lodges Free & Accepted Masons of North Carolina, Bibliography and Index.

Benjamin H. Pigott is a native of Winston-Salem. He attended the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County public schools, A&T State University, and W.S. Rutledge College.  He is a graduate of Livingstone College, where he received a B.S. degree in physical education and health science.  He is presently employed with the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department as a senior center supervisor. He was made Master Mason in May 1992 in Salem #139 in Winston-Salem under the jurisdiction of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina.  He has served as a senior steward in 2011-2012.  He is currently a member of King Solomon Consistory #64 and is a member of Sethos Temple #170 AEAONMS in Winston-Salem.  He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Cocoa Phi Cocoa Social Fellowship, Inc.

Lenwood G. Davis is a native of Beaufort, N.C. He attended North Carolina Central University and Carnegie-Mellon University with a degree in history.  Davis is a retired professor of Winston-Salem State University. The author has written several articles on James Walker Hood, James E. Shepard, and Joseph Charles Price.  He is the author of “Quotation and Sayings of James E. Shepard and Selected Writings and Speeches of James E. Shepard, 1896-1946: Founder of North Carolina Central University.”

Autographed copies of the Four Grand Masters book can be ordered from the authors by sending an e-mail to

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