Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 100 Years and Counting

One of my fraternity brothers (’06, Juan!) sent the following around to several of us today. This type of event only happens, well, every 100 years and I thought it worthwhile to share.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - A Century of Leadership

Since its founding on December 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African-Americans and people of color around the world. Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of Brotherhood among African descendants in this country. The visionary founders, known as the “Jewels” of the Fraternity, are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.

The Fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. The Jewel founders and early leaders of the Fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha’s principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity. Alpha Phi Alpha chapters were developed at other colleges and universities, many of them historically black institutions, soon after the founding at Cornell.

The fraternity expanded when a second chapter was chartered at Howard University in 1907.  Beginning in 1908, the Howard chapter became the prototype for six of the remaining eight members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Today, there are over 700 Alpha chapters in the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the West Indies.  While continuing to stress academic excellence among its members, Alpha also recognized the need to help correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African-Americans.

Alpha Phi Alpha evolved into a service organization and has provided leadership and service during the Great Depression, World Wars, Civil Rights Movements, and addresses social issues such as apartheid and urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues affecting people of color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is a project of Alpha Phi Alpha and the fraternity jointly leads philanthropic programming initiatives with March of Dimes, Head Start, Boy Scouts of America and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Alpha Phi Alpha has long stood at the forefront of the African-American community’s fight for civil rights through leaders such as: W.E.B. Du Bois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, Paul Robeson, and numerous other American leaders are among the men who have lived the fraternity’s principles: Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind.

Today, December 4, 2006, marks 100 years of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. which stands as a shining, enduring example of something uplifting and inspiring in American history. OK, time for a commercial break…

When Alphas aren’t doing their thing academically and professionally, we like to have a good time like any other fraternal organization. In the spirit of “Alphas After Hours,” the following is a video of college bros from my undergraduate chapter (“Rheckless” Rho Nu) competing in a strolling** contest back in September. The final round, at the 5 minute point of the video, is filthy…they do a puppet master routine and literally flip a bro without missing a beat.

Now before you dismiss Alpha Phi Alpha as your average band of drinking, partying and unruly misogynists and miscreants; you should know the Rho Nu chapter spans MIT, Harvard and Tufts. Therefore, every person in that video is an above-average drinking, partying and unruly teacher, engineer, researcher, lawyer, doctor, business leader or slacker of tomorrow. OK, the occasional misogynist and miscreant does slip through. :ashamed: 

Happy Centennial Founder’s Day to all my fellow A-Phi-A bros around the world! Continue to move onward & upward toward The Light.


** – Strolling is a choreographed activity typically performed at college parties where fraternity (or sorority) members navigate a path from one end of the party to the other performing moves that showcase their fraternal pride, energy & creativity.

Strolling should not be confused with Stepping which usually is done on a stage, has much longer routines, involves elaborate uniforms & props, includes chanting and has lots of, ummm, stepping. Here is an example of a sorority stepshow.

Of course Alphas are the best strollers and steppers. Jamie Foxx, Carlos Santana, Ludacris and Cuba Gooding, Jr. all agree…see Alphas stepping for yourself.

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