HBCU Morris Brown College partners with historic masonic fraternity
Morris Brown College President Kevin James. (Photo courtesy of MBC)
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ATLANTA — Morris Brown College, an HBCU, announced it has partnered with the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia to offer its members the opportunity to complete their college education at little to low cost. Morris Brown also announced its reinstatement to participate in the Federal Financial Aid Program administered by the United States Department of Education.

This announcement comes after Morris Brown College received accreditation candidacy by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a Virginia-based accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This monumental achievement came after nearly 20 years of effort, marking a historical milestone for the 141-year-old college.

Prince Hall Freemasonry is the oldest and largest predominantly African American fraternity in the world, with over 300,000 initiated members.

Rev. James M. Simms, who served as a District Deputy Grand Master, established Eureka Lodge, No. 1, F. & A. M. in Savannah, Georgia in 1866. Several other lodges were formed, and in 1870, he organized the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Georgia Free and Accepted Masons. Rev. James M. Simms was elected to serve as its first Grand Master. Ultimately, the Grand Lodge went on to charter more than 500 lodges with more than 20,000 members. 

Historic HBCU partnership

A member of the Prince Hall Masonic Fraternity himself, President Kevin James said, “I am elated to partner with Grand Master Corey Shackleford, Sr. in this initiative. With the restoration of Morris Brown College as the most affordable HBCU in Atlanta, what better way than to offer this wonderful opportunity.”

“Moreover, the members get to be a part of the historic resurrection story while earning their degrees simultaneously,” James added. “Through this partnership, all eligible financially active members in Georgia will receive automatic admissions to Morris Brown College to major in programs such as business, psychology, music, hospitality, general studies, and e-sports.”

Founded by formerly enslaved religious leaders at Big Bethel AME Church in 1881, MBC is the first college  in Georgia to be owned and operated by African Americans. The iconic Fountain Hall and the current  Morris Brown Campus are where Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois wrote “The Souls of Black Folk” in 1903.

Historic times at Morris Brown College

Grand Master Corey Shackleford, Sr. stated, “This partnership with Morris Brown is right on time as we continue to press Freemasonry forward in Georgia. The Prince Hall Masonic Lodge on Auburn Avenue recently received a grant that will provide funding for a preservation plan to guide the restoration of the building’s character and condition.”

“Moreover, recently the Grand Lodge of Georgia and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia agreed to grant mutual recognition,  further strengthening Georgia Freemasonry,” he added. “Education being the root of many of these endeavors, this partnership is so meaningful. These are historic times.”

Notable alumni of Morris Brown College include Alberta Williams King, mother of Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Alan McPherson, the first Black writer to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. 

To learn more about the HBCU Morris Brown College, visit morrisbrown.edu.  

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