Brief History/ Programs/ Prominent Alpha Men

A Brief History

Since it’s founding on December 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African-Americans and many other people 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 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. Though initially established for African-American men, Alpha Phi Alpha has been interracial since 1945.

Programs & Partnerships

National Programs
The Fraternity’s National Programs and special projects are community outreach mentoring initiatives that have been adopted by the organization’s governing body and mandated for implementation by all of its chapters. The organization’s National Programs include (click for description):

1. Go–To–High School, Go–To–College

2. Project Alpha

3. A Voteless People Is A Hopeless People

Special Projects
Alpha Phi Alpha’s Special Projects are programs and activities that are sustained through collaborative efforts, memoranda of understanding, and/or outside financial assistance, which Chapters are encouraged to implement. Current Special Projects include:

1. Big Brothers / Big Sisters mentoring partnership

2. Boy Scouts of America

3. College Life to Corporate Life Initiative (C2C)

Prominent Men of Alpha Phi Alpha (non-comprehensive list)

Activists:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Civil Rights Activist
Julius L. Chambers: NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Lester Granger: National Urban League
W.E.B. Dubois: Writer, Historian, Civil Rights Activist
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.: Civil Rights Activist
Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Activist, Supreme Court Justice
Paul Robeson: Activist, Scholar, Singer, Football Player
Dick Gregory: Activist
William Gray: United Negro College Fund, Businessman
Franklin Williams: Phelps-Stokes Fund

Education/Scholarship:
James Check: Howard University
Thomas W. Cole, Jr.: President, Clark-Atlanta University
William B. DeLauder: President, Delaware St. University
John Hope Franklin: Historian
E. Franklin Frazier: Sociologist
Dennis Kimbro: Author
Frederick Patterson: Founder, UNCF
Dr. Ronald J. Temple: Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago
Cornell West: Author
Andrew Zawacki: Rhodes Scholar, Author
Dr. Raymond W. Cannon: 1st Edition, Sphinx Magazine
Norm Francis: President, Xavier University

Military:
Roscoe Cartwright: General, AUS
Samuel Gravel: Admiral, USN
Edward Honor: Major General, AUS
Fred A. Gorden: Brigadere General
Samuel Gravely: Admiral
Benjamin Hacker: Rear Admiral
Edward Honor: Major General
James McCall: Major General
Winston Scott: Commander

Science/Medicine:
Dr. Lessall D. Leffall: President, American College of Surgeons
James Comer: Psychologist
Garrett Morgan: Inventor, Traffic Signal
Louis Sullivan: Secretary of Health and Education

Government/Politics:
Dennis Archer: Mayor of Detroit
Richard Arrington: Mayor of Birmingham
Willie Brown: Mayor of San Francisco
David Dinkins: Former Mayor of New York
Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver: Mayor of Kansas City
Chaka Fattah: Congressman, Pennsylvania
Ernest Finney: South Carolina Supreme Court Justice
Earl Hilliard: Congressman, Alabama (7th District)
Maynard Jackson: Former Mayor of Atlanta
Thurgood Marshall: Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Earnest "Dutch" Morial: 1st Black Mayor of New Orleans
Marc Morial: Mayor of New Orleans
Charles Rangel: Congressman, New York (15th District)
Robert C. Scott: Congressman, Virginia (3rd District)
Andrew Young: Former Mayor of Atlanta

Business:
Thomas J. Burrell: CEO, Burrell Advertising
W. Melvin Brown: CEO, American Development Corp.
John H. Johnson: Entrepreneur
Delano Lewis: President, National Public Radio
Henry Parks: Founder, Parks Sausages, Inc.
Joshua Smith: CEO, Maxima Corporation

Entertainment:
Daryl Bell: Actor
Tony Brown: Journalist/Producer
Countee Cullen: Poet
Duke Ellington: Jazz Musician
Donny Hathaway: Musician
Eugene Jackson: National Black Network
Stuart Scott: ESPN Anchorman
Chuck Stone: Philadelphia Daily News
Keenan Ivory Wayans: Comedian, Producer
Sidney Poitier: Academy Award Winning Actor

Sports:
Jesse Owens: Olympic Gold Medalist
Quinn Buckner: Former NBA Player and Coach
Wes Chandler: Former NFL Player
Todd Day: NBA Player
Rosie Greer: Former NFL Player
Charles Haley: NFL Player
Michael Jackson: NFL Player
Carnell Lake: NFL Player
Fritz Pollard: 1st Black Head Coach in the NFL
Mike Powell: Track Star
Eddie Robinson: Winningest Football Coach in NCAA History
Jackie Robinson: First Black Man in Major League Baseball
Art Shell: Former NFL Player and Coach
Wes Unseld: Former NBA Player and Coach
Gene Upshaw: President of the NFL Players Association
Lenny Wilkens: Winningest Coach in NBA History
John "Hot Rod" Williams: Former NBA Player
Reggie Williams: Cincinnati Bengal

Many many more...

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