Picturing Haiti’s Freemasons | by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books


Elsewhere in the Americas, racism kept blacks from joining lodges or embarking on the series of initiations, or “degrees,” around which Masonic rites revolve. (One result was the Prince Hall Lodges to which many African Americans and West Indians still belong today.) But in French Saint-Domingue, Masonic ideas held great interest for the colony’s freedmen of color—the forerunners of Haiti’s political elite—and Freemasonry also seems to have overlapped, in untraceable but fascinating ways, with warrior societies brought here by slaves from Kongo and Dahomey, who won their freedom by force.