Alpha Phi Alpha
Overview
 
Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Inter-Collegiate Black Greek Letter fraternity
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

. It was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 in Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York
The city of Ithaca, is a city in upstate New York and the county seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area...

. Its founders are known as the "Seven Jewels". Alpha Phi Alpha developed a model that was used by the many Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) that soon followed in its footsteps. It employs an icon from Ancient Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza
Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza , commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt....

 as its symbol, and its aims are manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind," and its motto is "First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All." Its archives are preserved at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world...

.

Chapters were chartered at Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

 and Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University is a historically black university located in Richmond, Virginia, United States. It took its present name in 1899 upon the merger of two older schools, Richmond Theological Institute and Wayland Seminary, each founded after the end of American Civil War by the American...

 in 1907.
Encyclopedia
Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Inter-Collegiate Black Greek Letter fraternity
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

. It was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 in Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York
The city of Ithaca, is a city in upstate New York and the county seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area...

. Its founders are known as the "Seven Jewels". Alpha Phi Alpha developed a model that was used by the many Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) that soon followed in its footsteps. It employs an icon from Ancient Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza
Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza , commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt....

 as its symbol, and its aims are manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind," and its motto is "First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All." Its archives are preserved at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world...

.

Chapters were chartered at Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

 and Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University is a historically black university located in Richmond, Virginia, United States. It took its present name in 1899 upon the merger of two older schools, Richmond Theological Institute and Wayland Seminary, each founded after the end of American Civil War by the American...

 in 1907. The fraternity has over 185,000 members and has been open to men of all races since 1940. Currently, there are more than 730 active chapters in the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and Asia.

Alpha Phi Alpha evolved into a primarily service organization and provided leadership and service during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, World Wars
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

, and Civil Rights Movements. It addresses social issues such as apartheid, AIDS, urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues of interest to people of color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., southwest of the National Mall . The memorial is America's 395th national park...

 and World Policy Council
World Policy Council
The World Policy Council of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity is a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank established in 1996 at Howard University to expand the fraternity's involvement in politics and social and current policy to encompass important global and world issues...

 are programs of Alpha Phi Alpha. It also conducts philanthropic programming initiatives with March of Dimes
March of Dimes
The March of Dimes Foundation is a United States nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.-Organization:...

, Head Start, Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

 and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a 501 non-profit organization whose mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors that try to have a measurable impact on youth....

.

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha include Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

n Prime Minister Norman Manley
Norman Manley
Norman Washington Manley MM QC National Hero of Jamaica , was a Jamaican statesman. A Rhodes Scholar, Manley became one of Jamaica's leading lawyers in the 1920s...

, Nobel Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

, Olympian Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was an American track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the...

, Justice
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from October 1967 until October 1991...

, United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young
Andrew Young
Andrew Jackson Young is an American politician, diplomat, activist and pastor from Georgia. He has served as Mayor of Atlanta, a Congressman from the 5th district, and United States Ambassador to the United Nations...

, and Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson
Maynard Jackson
Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr. was an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party, and the first African American mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. He served three terms, two consecutive terms from 1974 until 1982 and a third term from 1990 to 1994...

.

Founding

At the start of the 20th century, black students at American universities were often excluded from associations enjoyed by the predominantly white
Caucasian race
The term Caucasian race has been used to denote the general physical type of some or all of the populations of Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Western Asia , Central Asia and South Asia...

 student population in the form of fraternal organizations. During the 1905–06 school year, at Cornell, black students organized the first Greek letter fraternity
Fraternities and sororities
Fraternities and sororities are fraternal social organizations for undergraduate students. In Latin, the term refers mainly to such organizations at colleges and universities in the United States, although it is also applied to analogous European groups also known as corporations...

 for black students, by black students, with the aim to provide an opportunity for association and mutual support among African American students. At the outset, there was disagreement about the group's purpose: some wanted a social and literary club where everyone could participate; others wanted a traditional fraternal organization. The society decided to work to provide a literary, study, social, and support group for all minority students who encountered social and academic racial prejudice.

The original founding members were Henry A. Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert H. Ogle, Vertner Woodson Tandy, and James Morton. The latter's recognition as founder was replaced in 1952 with Eugene K. Jones.

On October 23, 1906, Eugene Kinckle Jones proposed that the organization be known by the Greek letters
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 Alpha Phi Alpha, and Robert Harold Ogle proposed the colors black and old gold
Old Gold
Old gold is a dark yellow, which varies from light olive or olive brown to deep or strong yellow. The widely-accepted color "Old gold" is on the darker rather than the lighter side of this range....

. The divisive issue of whether the terms "club" or "fraternity" should be used was still debated. By December 4, 1906, the decision was made: "fraternity". The earlier terms "club", "organization", and "society" were permanently removed.

Consolidation and expansion

Founders Jones and Murray chartered the second and third chapters, at Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

 and Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University
Virginia Union University is a historically black university located in Richmond, Virginia, United States. It took its present name in 1899 upon the merger of two older schools, Richmond Theological Institute and Wayland Seminary, each founded after the end of American Civil War by the American...

, respectively, in December 1907. The charter at Howard made it the site of the organization of the first black Greek letter organization among historically black colleges
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically black colleges and universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the black community....

.

Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha are given Greek-letter
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 names in order of installation into the Fraternity. No chapter is designated Omega
Omega
Omega is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. In the Greek numeric system, it has a value of 800. The word literally means "great O" , as opposed to omicron, which means "little O"...

, the last letter of the Greek alphabet and traditionally used for "the end". Deceased brothers are said to have joined Omega Chapter.
The fraternity's constitution was adopted on December 4, 1907, limiting membership to "Negro male" students and providing that the General Convention of the Fraternity would be created following the establishment of the fourth chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. The preamble
Preamble
A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy. When applied to the opening paragraphs of a statute, it may recite historical facts pertinent to the subject of the statute...

 states the purpose of Alpha Phi Alpha:
To promote a more perfect union among college men; to aid in and insist upon the personal progress of its members; to further brotherly love and a fraternal spirit within the organization; to discountenance evil; to destroy all prejudices; to preserve the sanctity of the home, the personification of virtue and the chastity of woman.


On January 29, 1908, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was incorporated in the state of New York. The purpose and objective of the fraternity within the articles of incorporation
Articles of Incorporation
The Articles of Incorporation are the primary rules governing the management of a corporation in the United States and Canada, and are filed with a state or other regulatory agency.An equivalent term for LLCs in the United States is the Articles of Organization...

 were declared "educational and for the mutual uplift of its members." The fraternity has established Alpha Phi Alpha Archives at Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world...

 to preserve the history of the organization.

The fraternity chartered its first international chapter at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 in 1908. Chapters have been chartered in London, Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Monrovia
Monrovia
Monrovia is the capital city of the West African nation of Liberia. Located on the Atlantic Coast at Cape Mesurado, it lies geographically within Montserrado County, but is administered separately...

, the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and South Korea.

The first general convention assembled in December 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., producing the first ritual and the election of the first General President of Alpha Phi Alpha, Moses A. Morrison. Each newly-elected General President is automatically considered one of the "100 most influential Black Americans."

The fraternity established its first alumni chapter Alpha Lambda in 1911 in Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

. It was again incorporated as a national organization on April 9, 1911, under the laws of Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 within the District of Columbia, under the name and title of The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

For 100 years, Alpha Phi Alpha and its members have had a voice and influence on politics and current-affairs. The Crisis
The Crisis
The Crisis is the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People , and was founded in 1910 by W. E. B. Du Bois , Oswald Garrison Villard, J. Max Barber, Charles Edward Russell, Kelly Miller, W.S. Braithwaite, M. D. Maclean.The original title of the journal was...

, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually abbreviated as NAACP, is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Its mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to...

 (NAACP), was started by fraternity member W. E. B. Du Bois in 1910. In 1914,
The Sphinx, named after the Egyptian landmark
Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza , commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt....

, began publication as the fraternity's journal.
The Crisis and The Sphinx are respectively the first and second oldest continuously published black journals in the United States. The National Urban League
National Urban League
The National Urban League , formerly known as the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, is a nonpartisan civil rights organization based in New York City that advocates on behalf of African Americans and against racial discrimination in the United States. It is the oldest and largest...

's (NUL)
Opportunity Journal, was first published in 1923 under the leadership of Alpha founder Eugene K. Jones, with fraternity brother Charles Johnson
Charles S. Johnson
Charles Spurgeon Johnson was an American sociologist, first black president of historically black Fisk University, and a lifelong advocate for racial equality and the advancement of civil rights for African Americans and all other ethnic minorities...

 as its executive editor.

The Training Camp at Fort Des Moines during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 was the result of the fraternity's advocacy in lobbying the government to create an Officer
Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. Commissioned officers derive authority directly from a sovereign power and, as such, hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of a specific office or position...

s’ training camp for black troops
Buffalo Soldier
Buffalo Soldiers originally were members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas....

. Thirty-two Alpha men were granted commissions (four were made Captains and many were First Lieutenants). First Lieutenant Victor Daly was decorated with the for his service in France. Today, the fort is a museum and education center which honors the U.S. Army's
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 first officer candidate class for African American men in 1917.

While continuing to stress academic excellence among its members, Alpha's leaders recognized the need to correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African-Americans and the world community. Alpha Phi Alpha has a long history of providing scholarships for needy students and initiating various other charitable and service projects. It evolved from a social fraternity to a primarily community service organization.

History: 1919–1949

The Fraternity's national programs date back to 1919, with its "Go-To-High School, Go-to-College"
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 campaign to promote academic achievement within the African-American community as its first initiative.

The 1920s witnessed the birth of the Harlem Renaissance
Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke...

–a flowering of African-American art
African American art
African American art is a broad term describing the visual arts of the American black community . Influenced by various cultural traditions, including those of Africa, Europe and the Americas, traditional African American art forms include the range of plastic arts, from basket weaving, pottery,...

, literature
African American literature
African-American literature is the body of literature produced in the United States by writers of African descent. The genre traces its origins to the works of such late 18th century writers as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, reaching early high points with slave narratives and the Harlem...

, music
African American music
African-American music is an umbrella term given to a range of musics and musical genres emerging from or influenced by the culture of African Americans, who have long constituted a large and significant ethnic minority of the population of the United States...

, and culture
African American culture
African-American culture, also known as black culture, in the United States refers to the cultural contributions of Americans of African descent to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from American culture. The distinct identity of African-American culture is rooted in...

 which began to be absorbed into mainstream American culture
Culture of the United States
The Culture of the United States is a Western culture originally influenced by European cultures. It has been developing since long before the United States became a country with its own unique social and cultural characteristics such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, and folklore...

. Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers Charles Johnson, W. E. B. Du Bois, Noble Sissle
Noble Sissle
Noble Sissle was an American jazz composer, lyricist, bandleader, singer and playwright.-Early life:...

, Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen was an American poet who was popular during the Harlem Renaissance.- Biography :Cullen was an American poet and a leading figure with Langston Hughes in the Harlem Renaissance. This 1920s artistic movement produced the first large body of work in the United States written by African...

 and other members were entrepreneurs and participants in this creative upsurge led primarily by the African-American community based in Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, New York City. By the end of the 1920s, the fraternity had chartered 85 chapters throughout the United States and initiated over 3,000 members.
During the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, Alpha Phi Alpha and its members continued to implement programs to support the black community. The Committee on Public Policy, the Alpha Phi Alpha Education Foundation, and "The Foundation Publishers" were established at the 1933 general convention. The Committee on Public Policy took positions on numerous issues important to the black community. It investigated the performance of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 agencies to assess the status of the black population, both as to treatment of agencies' employees and in the quality of services rendered to American blacks. Alpha men Rayford Logan
Rayford Logan
Rayford Whittingham Logan was an African-American historian and Pan-African activist. He was best known for his study of post-Reconstruction America, a period he termed "the nadir of American race relations"...

 and Eugene K. Jones were members of Roosevelt's unofficial Black Cabinet
Black Cabinet
The Black Cabinet was first known as the Federal Council of Negro Affairs, an informal group of African-American public policy advisors to United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was supported by the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt...

, an informal group of African American public policy advisors to the President.
The Education Foundation was created in recognition of the educational, economic, and social needs of African Americans in the United States. The foundation, led by Rayford Logan, was structured to provide scholarships and grants to African American students. The Foundation Publishers would provide financial support and fellowship for writers addressing African-American issues. Historian and fraternity brother John Hope Franklin
John Hope Franklin
John Hope Franklin was a United States historian and past president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Historical Association. Franklin is best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947, and...

 was an early beneficiary of the publishing company and was the 2006 Kluge Prize
Kluge Prize
The John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity is awarded for lifetime achievement in the humanistic and social sciences to celebrate the importance of the Intellectual Arts for the public interest.-Overview:...

 recipient for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity.

In 1933 fraternity brother Belford Lawson, Jr.
Belford Lawson, Jr.
Belford Vance Lawson, Jr. was an American attorney and civil rights activist who made at least eight appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court...

 founded the New Negro Alliance (NNA) in Washington D.C. to combat white-run business in black neighborhoods that would not hire black employees. The NNA instituted a then-radical Don't Buy Where You Can't Work campaign, and organized or threatened boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

s against white-owned business. In response, some businesses arranged for an injunction to stop the picketing. NNA lawyers, including Lawson and Thurgood Marshall, fought back – all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 in
New Negro Alliance v. Sanitary Grocery Co.
New Negro Alliance v. Sanitary Grocery Co.
New Negro Alliance v. Sanitary Grocery Co., 303 U.S. 552 , was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, safeguarding a right to boycott and in the struggle by African Americans against discriminatory hiring practices.-External links:**...

This ruling in favor of the NAACP became a landmark case
Landmark decision
Landmark court decisions establish new precedents that establish a significant new legal principle or concept, or otherwise substantially change the interpretation of existing law...

 in the struggle by African Americans against discriminatory hiring
Equal opportunity
Equal opportunity, or equality of opportunity, is a controversial political concept; and an important informal decision-making standard without a precise definition involving fair choices within the public sphere...

 practices.
Don't Buy Where You Can't Work groups multiplied throughout the nation. The fraternity sponsors an annual Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Contest in which collegiate members demonstrate their oratorical skills first at the chapter level, with the winner competing at the District, Regional and General Convention.

The fraternity began to participate in voting rights
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

 issues, coining the well-known phrase
A Voteless People is a Hopeless People as part of its effort to register black voters. The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy said "Alpha Phi Alpha...developed citizenship schools in the urban South and with its slogan "A Voteless People is a Hopeless People" registered hundreds of blacks during the 1930s, decades before the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...

 (SCLC) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) launched their citizenship schools in the 1960s." The slogan is still used in Alpha Phi Alpha's continuing voter registration campaign. Alpha Phi Alpha member and former Washington, D.C mayor Marion Barry
Marion Barry
Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr. is an American Democratic politician who is currently serving as a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, representing DC's Ward 8. Barry served as the second elected mayor of the District of Columbia from 1979 to 1991, and again as the fourth mayor from 1995...

 was the first chairman of the SNCC.
Seven Alpha men represented the United States at the politically-charged 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

: Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe
Ralph Metcalfe
Ralph Harold Metcalfe was an African-American athlete and politician who came second to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Metcalfe jointly held the world record for the 100 meter sprint. Metcalfe was known as the world’s fastest human from 1932 through 1934...

, Fritz Pollard, Jr., Cornelius Johnson, Archie Williams
Archie Williams
Archibald Franklin Williams was an African-American athlete and teacher, winner of 400 meter run at the 1936 Summer Olympics....

, Dave Albritton
Dave Albritton
Dave Albritton had a long career that spanned three decades and numerous titles and was one of the first high jumpers to use the straddle technique. He was born in Danville, Alabama....

, and John Woodruff
John Woodruff
John Youie Woodruff was an American athlete and winner of the 800 metres at the 1936 Summer Olympics....

. In 1938, Alpha Phi Alpha continued to expand and became an international organization when a chapter was chartered in London, England.

Alpha Phi Alpha supported legal battles against segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

. Some of its members who were trial lawyers argued many of the nation's major court cases involving civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 and civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

. The case styled Murray v. Pearson
Murray v. Pearson
Pearson v. Murray was a Maryland Court of Appeals decision which found "the state has undertaken the function of education in the law, but has omitted students of one race from the only adequate provision made for it, and omitted them solely because of their color." On January 15, 1936, the court...

(1935) was initiated by the fraternity and successfully argued by Alpha men Thurgood Marshall and Charles Houston to challenge biases at the university which had no laws requiring segregation in its colleges. The fraternity assisted in a similar case that involved fraternity brother Lloyd Gaines
Lloyd L. Gaines
Lloyd Lionel Gaines was the central figure in Gaines v. Canada , one of the most important court cases in the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1930s....

. In
Gaines v. Canada
Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada
Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 , was a United States Supreme Court decision holding that states that provide a school to white students must provide in-state education to blacks as well...

, the most important segregation case since Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in private businesses , under the doctrine of "separate but equal".The decision was handed...

, Gaines was denied admission to the Law School at the University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

 because he was black. Alpha men Houston and Sidney Redmon successfully argued "States that provide only one educational institution must allow blacks and whites to attend if there is no separate school for blacks."

In 1940, true to its form as the "first of first", Alpha Phi Alpha sought to end racial discrimination within its membership. The use of the word "Negro" in the membership clause of the constitution which referred to "any Negro male student" would be changed to read "any male student." The unanimous decision to change the constitution happened in 1945 and was the first official action by a BGLO to allow the admission of all colors and races. Bernard Levin became the first non-black member in 1946, and Roger Youmans became the first non-black member to address the fraternity at the 1954 general convention.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 in 1941 and the nation's entry into World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the fraternity fought to secure rights for its membership within the ranks of Officers in the Armed Forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

. The types of warfare encountered evidenced the nexus between education and war, with illiteracy decreasing a soldier's usefulness to the Army that could only be addressed with the inclusion of a large number of college educated men among the ranks of officers. Alpha men served in almost every branch of the military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 and civilian defense programs during World War II. The leadership of the fraternity encouraged Alpha men to buy war bond
War bond
War bonds are debt securities issued by a government for the purpose of financing military operations during times of war. War bonds generate capital for the government and make civilians feel involved in their national militaries...

s, and the membership responded with their purchases. The fraternity's long tradition of military service has remained strong. Alpha's military leaders Samuel Gravely
Samuel Gravely
Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. was an African-American Navy pioneer — the first African American in the U.S...

 and Benjamin Hacker
Benjamin Thurman Hacker
Rear Admiral Benjamin Thurman Hacker was a U.S. Navy officer, who became the first Naval Flight Officer to achieve Flag rank.-Early life:...

 were followed by other fraternity members who lead and serve in the Armed Forces.
In 1946, fraternity brother Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson
Paul Leroy Robeson was an American concert singer , recording artist, actor, athlete, scholar who was an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in the first half of the twentieth century...

, in a Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
A letter to the editor is a letter sent to a publication about issues of concern from its readers. Usually, letters are intended for publication...

, published in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, referring to apartheid and South Africa's impending request to annex South-West Africa, a League of Nations mandate
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

, appealed:
In 1947, Alpha Phi Alpha awarded Robeson the Alpha Medallion for his “outstanding role as a champion of freedom.”

History: 1950–1969

The general convention in 1952 was the venue for a significant historical action taken regarding the Seventh Jewel Founder. The decision "of placing Brother [Eugene] Jones in his true historical setting resulting from the leading role which he had played in the origin and development of the early years of the fraternity history" was made by a special committee consisting of Jewels Callis, Kelly and Murray and fraternity historian Charles H. Wesley
Charles H. Wesley
Charles Harris Wesley was a noted African American historian, educator, writer and author.-Early life and education:...

. James Morton was removed as a founder, yet continues to be listed as one of the first initiates. This convention created the Alpha Award of Merit and the Alpha Award of Honor, for appreciation of the tireless efforts on behalf of African Americans, and were awarded to Thurgood Marshall and Eugene K. Jones.
In 1956, the fraternity made a "pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

" to Cornell in celebration of its Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee
A Golden Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 50th anniversary.- In Thailand :King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, celebrated his Golden Jubilee on 9 June 1996.- In the Commonwealth Realms :...

 which drew about 1,000 members who traveled by chartered train from Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

 to Ithaca. Fraternity brother Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the keynote
Keynote
A keynote in literature, music, or public speaking establishes the principal underlying theme. In corporate or commercial settings, greater importance is attached to the delivery of a keynote speech or keynote address...

 speech at the 50th anniversary banquet, in which he spoke on the "Injustices of Segregation". There were three living Jewels present for the occasion, Kelly, Callis and Murray.
Alpha men were pioneers and at the forefront of the civil rights struggle
African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)
The African-American Civil Rights Movement refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights to them. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1955 and 1968, particularly in the South...

 renewed in the 1950s. In Montgomery
Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764 making it the second-largest city...

, Martin Luther King, Jr. led the people in the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign that started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, intended to oppose the city's policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. Many important figures in the civil rights movement were involved in the boycott,...

 as a minister, and later as head of the SCLC. Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

 saw Arthur Shores
Arthur Shores
Arthur Davis Shores was an American civil rights attorney who was considered Alabama's "drum major for justice".-Education:...

 organize for civil rights in Lucy v. Adams
Lucy v. Adams
Lucy v. Adams, , was a U.S. Supreme Court case that successfully established the right of all citizens to be accepted as students at the University of Alabama....

. Thurgood Marshall managed the landmark US Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 , was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which...

, in which the Court decided against segregation in public schools. Marshall employed mentor and fraternity brother Charles Houston's plan to use the de facto inequality of "separate but equal" education in the United States
Equal Protection Clause
The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"...

 to attack and defeat the Jim Crow laws
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

. The actions by Alpha activists provoked death threats to them and their families, and exposed their homes as targets for firebombing
Firebombing
Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs....

.

In 1961, Whitney Young
Whitney Young
Whitney Moore Young Jr. was an American civil rights leader.He spent most of his career working to end employment discrimination in the United States and turning the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively fought for equitable access to...

 became the executive director of the National Urban League. In 1963 the NUL hosted the planning meetings of civil rights leaders for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the largest political rally for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. It took place in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr...

. The Alpha Phi Alpha delegation was one of the largest to participate in the March on Washington.

In 1968, after the assassination of fraternity brother Martin Luther King, Jr., Alpha Phi Alpha proposed erecting a permanent memorial to King in Washington, D.C. The efforts of the fraternity gained momentum in 1986 after King's birthday was designated a national holiday. They created the "Washington D. C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc to collect funds of $100 million for construction.

History: 1970–2000

Beginning in the 1970s, new goals were being introduced to address current environment. The older social programs and policies were still supported, however; under the direction of General President Ernest Morial
Ernest Nathan Morial
Ernest Nathan Morial was a U.S. political figure and a leading civil rights advocate. He was the first black mayor of New Orleans, serving from 1978 to 1986. He was the father of former New Orleans mayor Marc Morial.-Early life and career:Morial was born in New Orleans of Creole ancestry and grew...

 the fraternity turned its attention to new social needs. This included the campaign to eliminate the ghetto-goal on numerous fronts with housing development and entrepreneurship initiatives.

The Federal Housing Act (of 1963) requested non-profit organizations to get involved with providing housing for low-income
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 families, individuals and senior citizens. Alpha Phi Alpha was poised to take advantage of this program with government in improving urban housing living conditions. The Eta Tau Lambda chapter created Alpha Phi Alpha Homes Inc. with James R. Williams
James R. Williams (lawyer)
James R. Williams in Columbus, Mississippi is a U.S. lawyer, politician and jurist.Williams received his undergraduate and juris doctorate degree from University of Akron.Williams supported gun control as an Akron, Ohio councilman....

 as the chairman to address these needs in Akron, Ohio
Akron, Ohio
Akron , is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Summit County. It is located in the Great Lakes region approximately south of Lake Erie along the Little Cuyahoga River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 199,110. The Akron Metropolitan...

. In 1971, Alpha Homes received an $11.5 million grant from HUD
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, is a Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government...

 to begin groundbreaking on Channelwood Village with the Henry Arthur Callis Tower as it centerpiece. Channelwood contains additional structures named after General Presidents James R. Williams and Charles Wesley, and streets named for fraternity founders Tandy and Ogle. The Alpha Towers in Chicago and three other urban housing developments in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

— the Alpha Gardens, Alpha Towne and Alpha Village saw completion through Alpha Phi Alpha leadership.

In 1976, the fraternity celebrated its 70th Anniversary with dual convention locations: New York City and Monrovia. The fraternity launched the Million Dollar Fund Drive with three prime beneficiaries—the United Negro College Fund
United Negro College Fund
The United Negro College Fund is an American philanthropic organization that fundraises college tuition money for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities. The UNCF was incorporated on April 25, 1944 by Frederick D. Patterson , Mary...

 (UNCF), the National Urban League and the NAACP. The Executive Director of the NAACP stated, "Alpha Phi Alpha provided the largest single gift ever received by the civil rights group."

In 1981, the fraternity celebrated its Diamond Jubilee
Diamond Jubilee
A Diamond Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 60th anniversary in the case of a person or a 75th anniversary in the case of an event.- Thailand :...

 in Dallas, Texas, featuring a presentation of the New Thrust Program consisting of the Million Dollar Fund Drive, the Leadership Development and Citizenship Institutes, and the quest to obtain a national holiday for fraternity brother Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the 21st century approached, Alpha Phi Alpha's long-term commitment to the social and economic improvement of humanity remained at the top of its agenda. The fraternity's 28th General President, Henry Ponder
Henry Ponder
Henry Ponder is a U.S. educator.Ponder received his undergraduate, masters and doctorate degree from Langston University, Oklahoma State University, Ohio State University respectively...

, said "We would like the public to perceive Alpha Phi Alpha as a group of college-trained, professional men who are very much concerned and sensitive to the needs of humankind; We will go to great lengths to lend our voices, our time, our expertise and our money to solve the problems that humankind must solve as we move into the 21st century."

In 1996, The World Policy Council (WPC) was created as a think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 to expand the fraternity's involvement in politics, and social and current policy to encompass important global and world issues. The United States Congress authorized the Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

 to permit Alpha Phi Alpha to establish a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King on Department of Interior lands in the District of Columbia.

Twenty-first century

In 2006, more than 10,000 Alpha Phi Alpha members gathered in Washington, D.C. to participate in the fraternity’s centennial convention to lay the groundwork for another 100 years of service. The fraternity developed a national strategic plan which outlines the processes that Alpha Phi Alpha will utilize in its continuing efforts to develop tomorrow's leaders, and promote brotherhood and academic excellence. The Centenary Report of the World Policy Council was published in connection with the centenary of Alpha Phi Alpha.

In 2007, General President Darryl Matthews addressed demonstrators at a protest rally touted as the new civil rights struggle of the 21st century. The rally for six black
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 teenagers, the "Jena 6
Jena Six
The Jena Six were six black teenagers convicted in the beating of Justin Barker, a white student at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana, on December 4, 2006. Barker was injured in the assault by the members of the Jena Six, and received treatment for his injuries at an emergency room...

", was a poignant reminder of incidents which punctuated the civil rights struggles begun in the 1950s.

On the eve of the Inauguration of Barack Obama
Inauguration of Barack Obama
The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States took place on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. The inauguration, which set a record attendance for any event held in Washington, D.C., marked the commencement of the four-year term of Barack Obama as President and Joe...

, the fraternity under the new leadership of 33rd General President Herman "Skip" Mason hosted a Martin Luther King Holiday program at the National Press Club "to honor yesterday's 'firsts'—those in history who paved the way for the nation to be able to celebrate the first African-American president." Alpha Congressman Chaka Fattah
Chaka Fattah
Chaka Fattah is the U.S. representative for , serving since 1995. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 said "The life and legacy of Dr. King [was] a predicate for the election of Barack Obama,” “The two are inextricably linked." Alpha Phi Alpha responded to President Obama's
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 clarion call to Americans to remake America by implementing a public policy program to focus on saving America’s black boys. General President Mason on behalf of the fraternity appealed to President Obama to create a "White House Council on Men and Boys" and partner with Alpha Phi Alpha to specifically address the needs of this group on a national level.

Alpha Phi Alpha responded to the 2010 Haiti earthquake
2010 Haiti earthquake
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks...

 by sending a humanitarian delegation of Alpha men led by President Mason to Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 on a fact-finding mission to assess the situation and develop a long-term support plan for the Haitian people. The organization views its future plan to 'adopt' a school in Haiti as "a great opportunity for the first black intercollegiate fraternity to stand in solidarity with the first independent black Republic."

The fraternity protested the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1070
Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act
The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act is a legislative Act in the U.S. state of Arizona that at the time of passage was the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in recent U.S. history...

 which it believes may lead to racial profiling
Racial profiling
Racial profiling refers to the use of an individual’s race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement...

 by relocating its 2010 national convention from Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

 to Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

. The bill makes it a misdemeanor
Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor is a "lesser" criminal act in many common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions and regulatory offences...

 state crime for an alien
Alien (law)
In law, an alien is a person in a country who is not a citizen of that country.-Categorization:Types of "alien" persons are:*An alien who is legally permitted to remain in a country which is foreign to him or her. On specified terms, this kind of alien may be called a legal alien of that country...

 to be in Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 without carrying legal documents, steps up state and local law enforcement of Federal
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 immigration law
Immigration law
Immigration law refers to national government policies which control the phenomenon of immigration to their country.Immigraton law, regarding foreign citizens, is related to nationality law, which governs the legal status of people, in matters such as citizenship...

s, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal immigrants. The bill has been called the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration
Illegal immigration to the United States
An illegal immigrant in the United States is an alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa....

 measure in decades.

With Global expansion as a platform, the Fraternity chartered new chapters in the eastern hemisphere at the 2010 National Convention in Las Vegas, NV. The two new chapters are in London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa, further expanding the Fraternity's global foot print.

National programs

Alpha Phi Alpha asserts that through its community outreach initiatives, the fraternity supplies voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans, the African diaspora
African diaspora
The African diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world—predominantly to the Americas also to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe...

, and the countless special problems that affect Black men.
ΑΦΑ National Programs
Mentoring World and National Affairs
Education Continuing the Legacy
Project Alpha Leadership Training Institute
Alpha Academy Go To High School, Go To College
Commission on Business A Voteless People is a Hopeless People
Alpha and the NAACP Alpha Head Start Academy
Cooperative Programs and Economic Development


The fraternity provides for charitable endeavors through its Education and Building Foundations, providing academic scholarships and shelter to underprivileged families. The fraternity combines its efforts in conjunction with other philanthropic organizations such as Head Start, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Project Alpha with the March of Dimes
March of Dimes
The March of Dimes Foundation is a United States nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.-Organization:...

, NAACP, Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat For Humanity International , generally referred to as Habitat for Humanity or simply Habitat, is an international, non-governmental, non-profit organization devoted to building "simple, decent, and affordable" housing, a self-described "Christian housing ministry." The international...

, and Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 companies.
Alpha's "Designated Charity" benefits from the approximately $10,000, one-time contribution fund-raising efforts at the fraternity's annual general convention. The Fraternity also has made commitments to train leaders with national mentoring programs.

The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation is a project of Alpha Phi Alpha to construct the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...

 in Washington D.C.

Go-To-High School, Go-To-College

Established in 1922, the Go-To-High School, Go-To-College program is intended to afford Alpha men with the opportunity to provide young participants with role models. The program concentrates on the importance of completing secondary and collegiate education as a path to advancement and to provide information and strategies to facilitate success.

Voter Education/Registration Program

"A Voteless People is a Hopeless People" was initiated as a National Program of Alpha during the 1930s 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 since remained a dominant focus in the fraternity's planning. In the 1990s the focus has shifted to promotion of political awareness and empowerment, delivered most often through use of town meetings and candidate forums. Members are required to be registered voters, and to participate in the national voter registration program.

The fraternity's Nu Mu Lambda chapter of Decatur, Georgia
Decatur, Georgia
Decatur is a city in, and county seat of, DeKalb County, Georgia, United States. With a population of 19,335 in the 2010 census, the city is sometimes assumed to be larger since multiple zip codes in unincorporated DeKalb County bear the Decatur name...

, held a voter registration drive in DeKalb County, Georgia
DeKalb County, Georgia
DeKalb County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. The population of the county was 691,893 at the 2010 census. Its county seat is the city of Decatur. It is bordered to the west by Fulton County and contains roughly 10% of the city of Atlanta...

 in 2004, from which Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 Secretary of State Cathy Cox
Cathy Cox
Lera Catharine "Cathy" Cox is a Georgia politician, a member of the Democratic Party, the former Secretary of State of Georgia, and a candidate for Governor of Georgia in 2006...

, rejected all 63 voter registration applications on the basis that the fraternity did not follow correct procedures, including obtaining specific pre-clearance from the state to conduct their drive. Nu Mu Lambda filed Charles H. Wesley Education Foundation v. Cathy Cox on the basis that the Georgia Secretary of State's long-standing policy and practice of rejecting mail-in voter registration applications that were submitted in bundles and/or by persons other than registrars, deputy registrars, or the individual applicants, violated the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993
National Voter Registration Act of 1993
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 , also known as The Motor Voter Act, was signed into effect by United States President Bill Clinton on May 20, 1993, however, compliance did not become mandatory until 1995...

 (NVRA) by undermining voter registration drives. A Senior U.S. District Judge
United States federal judge
In the United States, the title of federal judge usually means a judge appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate in accordance with Article II of the United States Constitution....

 upheld earlier federal court decisions in the case, which also found private entities have a right under the NVRA, to engage in organized voter registration activity in Georgia at times and locations of their choosing, without the presence or permission of state or local election officials.

Project Alpha

Alpha Phi Alpha, Iota Delta Lambda Chapter (Chicago) and the March of Dimes began a collaborative program called Project Alpha in 1980. The project consists of a series of workshops and informational sessions conducted by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers to provide young men with current and accurate information about teen pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy of a female under the age of 20 when the pregnancy ends. It generally refers to a female who is unmarried and usually refers to an unplanned pregnancy...

 prevention. Alpha Phi Alpha also participates in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica and raised over $181,000 in 2006.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

The campaign to erect a permanent memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the fraternity. In 1996, the United States Congress authorized with Public Law 104-333 and President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 confirmed the fraternity's request to establish a foundation (The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation) to manage the memorial's fundraising, design and construction. Harry E. Johnson
Harry E. Johnson
A career lawyer, entrepreneur and public servant, Harry E. Johnson , is a Partner at the Law Office of Glenn and Johnson in Houston, Texas. He served as City Attorney for Kendelton, Texas from 1996 -1999, and taught at Texas Southern University in both the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and...

, the 31st general president of Alpha Phi Alpha, is the current president of the foundation. The National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 maintains the memorial site.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is the first on the National Mall
National Mall
The National Mall is an open-area national park in downtown Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The National Mall is a unit of the National Park Service , and is administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks unit...

 area to honor an African American, and King is the second non-President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 to be commemorated in such a way. On December 4, 2000, Alpha Phi Alpha laid a marble and bronze plaque to dedicate the 4 acres (16,187.4 m²) memorial site that borders the Tidal Basin, within the sightline of the Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father and the third President of the United States....

 and Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is an American memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor of the main statue was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior...

. The Ceremonial Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking, also known as cutting, sod-cutting, turning the first sod or a sod-turning ceremony, is a traditional ceremony in many cultures that celebrates the first day of construction for a building or other project. Such ceremonies are often attended by dignitaries such as politicians and...

 took place on November 13, 2006 and the fraternity's goal was to dedicate the memorial in 2008 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of King's death.

The memorial was completed in 2011. A dedication ceremony opening the four-acre plot to the public had been scheduled to take place August 28, 2011, but has been delayed due to Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene (2011)
Hurricane Irene was a large and powerful Atlantic hurricane that left extensive flood and wind damage along its path through the Caribbean, the United States East Coast and as far north as Atlantic Canada in 2011...

. However, there was a private ceremony for the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Inter-Collegiate Black Greek Letter fraternity. It was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Its founders are known as the "Seven Jewels". Alpha Phi Alpha developed a model that was used by the many Black Greek Letter Organizations ...

 Fraternity, Inc. on Friday, August 26, 2011. THe memorial was formally dedicated on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011.

World Policy Council

General President Milton C. Davis
Milton C. Davis
Milton Carver Davis is an African American lawyer who researched and advocated for the pardon of Clarence Norris, the last surviving Scottsboro Boy....

 established the World Policy Council in 1996 as a nonprofit and nonpartisan
Nonpartisan
In political science, nonpartisan denotes an election, event, organization or person in which there is no formally declared association with a political party affiliation....

 think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 with a mission as stated in its centenary report “to address issues of concern to our brotherhood, our communities, our Nation, and the world.”
The Council is headed by Ambassador
United States Ambassador to Botswana
From 1885 until 1966 the area of southern Africa that is now Botswana was part of the Bechuanaland Protectorate of Great Britain.In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved from Mafikeng in South Africa, to newly established...

 Horace Dawson
Horace Dawson
Horace Greeley Dawson, Jr. was an American diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Botswana.-Life:...

 and communicates its position through white paper
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

s which are disseminated to policymakers, politicians, scholars, journalists, and chapters of the fraternity. Since its founding the Council has issued five reports on topics such as the AIDS crisis
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

, Middle East conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

, and Nigerian politics
Politics of Nigeria
Nigeria is a Federal Republic modeled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president and with influences from the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature. However, the President of Nigeria is...

. The fifth report was published in 2006 and examines the Millennium Challenge, Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 and Extraordinary Rendition.

Alpha Phi Alpha Education Foundation, Inc.

The Alpha Phi Alpha Education Foundation, Inc. is the non-profit charitable arm of the Fraternity, which focuses on scholarship, programs, and training and development of the membership. Education Foundation encompasses the implementation of Go-to-High School, Go-to-College, Project Alpha, voter Education / Registration efforts, The Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Contest, The John Hope Franklin Collegiate Scholars Bowl, The Hobart Jarrett Debate Competition, Leadership Development Institutes, and the professional and personal development thrusts of the Fraternity via Alpha University.

Pan-Hellenic membership

The fraternity maintains dual membership in the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). The NPHC is composed of nine international black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities, and Alpha Phi Alpha is the only member founded at an Ivy League
Ivy League
The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group...

 school. The council promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.

The NIC serves to advocate the needs of its member fraternities through enrichment of the fraternity experience; advancement and growth of the fraternity community; and enhancement of the educational mission of the host institutions.

Membership

Alpha Phi Alpha's membership is predominantly African American in composition with brothers in over 680 college and graduate chapters in the United States, District of Columbia, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe, Asia and Africa. Since its founding in 1906, more than 185,000 men have joined the membership of Alpha Phi Alpha and a large percentage of leadership within the African American community in the 20th century originated from the ranks of the fraternity.
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