Metropolis legend has book dedication at alma mater
The Winston Salem Legend and Prince Hall Mason 32nd Degree, Ben Piggott, donated signed copies of his book “The Lives and Times of Four Grand Masters: James W. Hood, George W. White, James H. Young, and James E. Shepard of the Most Revered Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Recognized Freemasons of North Carolina and Jurisdiction, Inc. ”to his alma mater, Livingstone College, earlier this month.
Piggott wrote the book in 2016 with the late Lenwood G. Davis. Piggott is a graduate of Livingstone College where he received a BS in Exercise and Health Sciences. He was appointed master mason at Salem Lodge No. 139 in Winston-Salem in May 1992.
The book focuses on the key contributions the four men have made to the community and beyond. The fruits of their labor can be seen to this day.
“The book is about four grand master masons who did a lot for the community,” said Piggott. “The book picks up on a lot of history from many areas and makes you feel good about referring to it.”
A ceremony was held earlier this month to commemorate the donation of the books to Livingstone College. Piggott was honored to have his alma mater celebrate his book.
“Some people think that just getting through college was a great thing, but the best thing is not to graduate but to give back,” he said. “It made me feel good to bring back a manifest truth that was there but was never printed. This is very, very humble to me and I don’t take any of this for granted.
“When you go to an HBCU you have the drive to want to be successful because they push you to go to another level, but I never thought I would be a writer. I’m happy today and that’s why I thank God for the work now because every time I turn around someone wants to get a book. “
Piggott says there was three years of research and writing before the book was published in 2016. He says the Prince Hall Masons’ rich history was a key factor in him wanting to write the book first.
“If I told you who Prince Hall Masons are, you would be blown away,” he said. “What also inspired me was my co-author Dr. Davis. We got together and went traveling. At first, I almost stopped writing this book, but I didn’t because of the connection the book had with various HBCUs.
“Prince Hall Masons wasn’t just about the man. It’s about inspiring the race of young black men and women to shoot for the clouds. “
Piggott stated that the current Grand Master Mason, Daniel Thompson, tried to make the book available to as many people as possible. Piggott is also keen to put his book in the hands of the younger generation to show the contributions of their predecessors.
“Young people need to know who their ancestors were,” said Piggott. “Often people are just there and they think everything should happen and don’t know that there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears on this campus.
“If you think about it, many of these colleges were set up in times of segregation. Many people couldn’t go to white college and these HBCUs opened many doors to young black men and women.
Piggott would like to donate books to local high schools and colleges to help spread the story of the Prince Hall Masons.