The Role of Freemasonry in the Underground Railroad

Freemasonry and the Underground Railroad are often linked together, but what role did this fraternity play in helping enslaved African Americans escape to freedom? To answer this question, one must first understand the history of the Underground Railroad.

It was a network of brave individuals who helped people of color during their journey from bondage to liberty.

The Role of Freemasonry in the Underground Railroad

History of Freemasonry and the Underground Railroad

Freemasonry has a long and distinguished history that is intricately woven into the fabric of America. Founded in 1717, Freemasonry was one of the first American institutions to take a stance on slavery – denouncing it as an abomination to human dignity.

This led many members of the order to become involved in the abolitionist movement and actively support the Underground Railroad. The connections between Freemasonry and the Underground Railroad were strong; Masons provided shelter, transportation, financial aid, and moral support for those escaping enslavement.

By providing this assistance, they enabled countless individuals to reach freedom, making them invaluable partners in the fight against injustice.

While there are still debates about the exact role Freemasonry played in the Underground Railroad, there is no doubt that their contributions helped shape our nation’s history.

Famous Freemasons and their contributions to the Underground Railroad

Freemasonry has long been associated with the fight against slavery. From its earliest days, members of the fraternity have contributed to this cause in countless ways, including providing support and resources for the Underground Railroad. Levi Coffin, Thomas Garrett, Henry Highland Garnet, and Frederick Douglass are just some of the famous Freemasons who played a role in the struggle for freedom.

Coffin was an abolitionist leader who used his network of Masonic contacts to help thousands of runaway slaves escape to the North. He provided them with safe havens, food, clothing, and other supplies.

Garrett, another prominent figure in the masonic movement, was an outspoken advocate for the rights of free blacks and helped provide financial aid to those enslaved.

Garnet, one of the first African Americans to be ordained as a minister, worked with Masonry to organize rallies and meetings on behalf of antislavery causes.

Finally, Douglass, a former slave himself, was heavily involved in the fraternal order and wrote extensively about the need for emancipation.

Through their actions and involvement in the organization, these men showed the power of Freemasonry in the fight against injustice and discrimination. Their dedication and commitment to the cause of abolishing slavery is a testament to the fraternity’s lasting legacy. By using their influence within the Masons to promote equality and human rights, they made an invaluable contribution to history.

Criticisms of Freemasonry’s involvement in the Underground Railroad

Freemasonry played a vital role in the Underground Railroad, helping those seeking freedom from enslavement. Its secrecy and influence over religious and political matters has drawn criticism.

Yet despite these claims, Freemasons have been credited with aiding in the liberation of thousands. As Jasper Ridley wrote, their “noble commitment to justice” was on full display during this time.

They provided support to fugitives by supplying food, shelter, and transportation – often at great personal risk. Utilizing Masonic rituals for communication, they developed well-organized networks that enabled slaves to escape to safety.

The power of Freemasonry still resonates today, reminding us of its important contribution in the fight against injustice.

Legacy of Freemasonry and the Underground Railroad

Freemasonry has long been a beacon of hope and liberty. Its legacy is still alive today, most notably in its role as an underground railroad during the time of slavery. We remember this momentous part of history with reverence and respect.

Aiding those seeking freedom, Freemasons provided safe passage for the enslaved, often at great risk to them and their families. Through dedication, courage and fortitude, they were able to make a difference in a period of great injustice; a feat that should be celebrated throughout the ages.

The Underground Railroad was one of the first organized acts of civil disobedience against oppression. It stands as a testament to the power of collective action and demonstrates how individuals can effect change when united for a common cause. The spirit of Freemasonry lives on in such moments, reminding us of our capacity for greatness and encouraging us to strive for a better world.


Freemasons have long been linked to the Underground Railroad, an integral part of American history. As we look back at this pivotal movement, it’s important to recognize the role Freemasonry played in helping to secure freedom for those escaping slavery.

In many cases, it was Masons who provided a safe haven and resources to those seeking refuge from oppression. “Where there is unity, there is strength,” as the saying goes – and that certainly proved true in this case.

By working together, these brave individuals were able to make a difference and help bring about change. The courage and determination of those involved should be remembered and celebrated today. It is a testament to the power of solidarity and community that even in the face of adversity, hope can still prevail.