Memorial Day Address 2010

The Prince Hall Cemetery

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pamela Meister, President
Arlington Historical Society

One hundred and fifty four years ago, Grand Master William Kendall bought this property for $139.82. Eight years later, he transferred it to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge to serve as a cemetery for its members and their families.

It has been 20 years since this cemetery was rededicated and for 20 years we have been meeting on this day to commemorate Prince Hall, the men who are buried here, and the numerous men of color who have given their lives in the service of their country.

Memorial Day is a day in which we honor those who served America. There are many honorable ways to serve – – it can be in battle against a foreign nation; it can be in a battle pitting a region of our country against another region, as in our own civil war; but so too can it be in battles against injustice inside the cities and towns in which we live and against people we see every day.

Today, we again reflect on the courage and wisdom of Prince Hall, who over two hundred years ago was not only a patriot, but also an eloquent and tireless champion of civil rights, including the right of children to receive an education and to do so without worry that their fathers would be kidnapped and sold into slavery. His legacy is seen in the actions of more than 300,000 members of Prince Hall Lodges throughout the world.

We also reflect on the members of Prince Hall Grand Lodge who were buried here some seventy years after his death. These men were also leaders during difficult times and were known as men of integrity.

We are honored to have these men rest here and grateful that our community gathers in remembrance every year. We are pleased that the land which holds them is cared for, and proud that for the past 12 years, this cemetery has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.