Prince Hall Masonry has always been plagued with groups within the Black Community claiming to be Masonic. The Phylaxis Society has since its formation, considered such groups a direct threat to Prince Hall Freemasonry. The Society’s First Vice- President, Zellus Bailey would become the first Chairman of the Non-Prince Hall Commission. Robert A Simmons, the Second Vice-President, would become the next Chairman of the Non-Prince Hall Commission.
Paul V. Best, The executive Secretary of the Phylaxis Society, organized the A.G. Clark Chapter in Des Moines, Iowa. This new Chapter was asked to take over the Non-Prince Hall Commission. They were asked to undertake the task of learning the names and addresses of Bogus African-American groups across the country, using the name,”Mr. Phil Laxis” to collect their newspapers, rituals and other materials. The Society also considered having the Chapter join the Universal league of Freemasons (U.L.F.), it being felt that by doing so, the Society would have greater access to the names and addresses of a number of Non-Prince Hall Groups.
In 1983, the Society issued a Special March issue of the Phylaxis on Clandestine and Bogus Masonry with a brief review on a book, “History of the National Grand Lodge” by Matthew Brock, Past National Grand master of the Compact. This special issue featured a cover drawn by Sherman Brooks. The Illustration showed the veil lifted from the Volume of Sacred Law and the Square and Compass.
The Phylaxis Society invited Matthew Brock, Past Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge to the 13th Annual Session in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Society was anxious to have someone from an organization not recognized by Prince Hall Freemasonry, but in reality coming from the same source, that is African Lodge Number 459, and calling itself Prince Hall origin instead of Affiliated to come and explain how it continued its organization after all the State Prince Hall Grand Lodges had withdrawn from it’s “Compact.” Matthew Brock declined to do the special workshop on the national grand lodge due to poor health.
Brother Stephen Hill, FPS., of California ran the commission from 1994 until 2000. Under his directorship a newsletter was established and sent to all of the Grand Lodges and Grand Masters.
Due to fraternal recognition, it was advised to change the name from Non-prince Hall Commission to Unrecognized Commission. After much thought and bringing brothers on board with certain expertise on the subject, it was decided to change the name of the Commission to, The Phylaxis Society’s Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices.
The Phylaxis Society has always been alarmed at this threat to Prince Hall Freemasonry and continues to maintain a Commission to identify these many groups in the Black Community, and publishing a listing of them that are sent to the various Prince Hall Grand Lodges or the Conference of Prince Hall Grand Masters.
(This history was compiled by Bro. Stephen Hill, FPS. (Ca), from the book, “Prince Hall’s Mission: The Rise of the Phylaxis Society, By Bro. Joseph A. Walkes, Jr.)