Welcome to the Dr. Charles A. Sankey Lecture Series

Charles A. SankeyThis annual lecture series is named in honour of R.W. Bro. Charles A. Sankey (1905 – 2009) and is part of the partnership between the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario and Brock University.

The partnership established between the Grand Lodge and Brock University, St. Catharines, has proven most productive and mutually beneficial to both educational institutions. Its beginning was with the initiative of the Heritage Lodge No. 730 to support and maintain the Masonic collection in the James A. Gibson Library, and continuing with the posting on line of the Proceedings of Grand Lodge from 1855 to 2010.

Dr. Sankey served as Chancellor of Brock University from 1969 to 1974. A renowned Masonic scholar, he was active in all the concordant bodies of Masonry including the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the Royal Order of Scotland, and Royal Arch Masons. His extensive collection of rare Masonic books and papers is in the Special Collections of the James Gibson Library at Brock, providing a rich resource for research scholars and students. the Masonic collection in the James A. Gibson Library, and continuing with the posting online of the Proceedings of Grand Lodge from 1855 to 2010.


Democracy, Freedom, and the Beginnings of Black Freemasonry

LECTURER: Chernoh M. Sesay Jr,
Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago, IL

Scholars have only recently begun to look past the seemingly opaque and exclusive origins of African American Freemasonry to recognize its historical and contemporary importance. Prince Hall, a former slave, organized African Lodge No. 459, the first recognized black lodge in the world, and he led black abolitionist petitioners in Massachusetts during the American colonial rebellion. Moreover, the African Lodge initiated the radical southerner, David Walker, and helped to facilitate the 1829 publication of his famous and controversial Walker’s Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America. Not only do the origins of black Freemasonry reveal the complex fashioning of African American leadership, identity and community, but its beginnings also reflect the problems and possibility of democracy in America.

Tickets are available here for this lecture.

Sunday March 24, 2019
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM EDT
Sean O’Sullivan Theatre
500 Glenridge Avenue
St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1

Chernoh M. Sesay, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois. An Americanist historian, he has authored chapters or articles in  All Men Free and Brethren, eds. Stephen Kantrowitz and Peter Hinks (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013); Black Knowledges/Black Struggles: Essays in Critical Epistemology, eds. Jason R. Ambroise and Sabine Broeck (Liverpool, UK: University of Liverpool Press, 2015); the Journal of African American Studies and The New England Quarterly. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Black Boston and the Making of African-American Freemasonry: Leadership, Religion, and Community In Early America. He is also a member of the editorial board for Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society.


The 2018 Sankey Lecture was presented by Dr. William D. Moore on Sunday, September 9, 2018, and was entitled Catechism, Spectacle, Burlesque: American Fraternal Ritual Performance, 1733-1933. The video of the lecture is now available here.

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