Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American Men, 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 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 established at other colleges and universities, many of them historically black institutions, soon after the founding at Cornell. The first alumni chapter was established in 1911. 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 has long stood at the forefront of the African-American community’s fight for civil rights through leaders such as W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, Paul Robeson, and many others. True to its form as the “first of firsts,” Alpha Phi Alpha has been interracial since 1945.
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.
The seven 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.
Visit the General Organization website at apa1906.net
A VOTELESS PEOPLE IS A HOPELESS PEOPLE
“A Voteless People is a Hopeless People” was initiated as a National Program of Alpha during the 1930’s when many African-Americans had the right to vote but were prevented from voting because of poll taxes, threats of reprisal, and lack of education about the voting process. Voter education and registration has remained a dominant focus of this outreach activity for over 65 years. In the 1990’s, the focus has shifted to include political awareness and empowerment, delivered most frequently through town meetings and candidate forums.
GO-TO-HIGH SCHOOL, GO-TO-COLLEGE
The “Go-to-High-School, Go-to-College” program, established in 1922, concentrates on the importance of completing secondary and collegiate education as a road to advancement.
This collaborative project is designed to provide education, motivation and skill-building on issues of responsibility, relationships, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases for young males ages 12-15 years. Designed to provide young men with current and accurate information about teen pregnancy prevention, Project Alpha consists of a series of workshops and informational sessions conducted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity brothers.
Formally called the A. Charles Haston Brother’s Keeper program, this service program developed with the mission of advocating and improving the quality of life for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s senior brothers, their spouses and widows; brothers who are retired and have disabilities or ailments; and vulnerable community members.