Alpha Legacy: A Brief History
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, manly deeds, and the uplifting of all humanity.
Alpha Phi Alpha chapters were developed at other colleges and universities, many of them historically black institutions, soon after the founding at Cornell. 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.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Today
Alpha Phi Alpha today continues its commitment to members of the Fraternity and the African-American community through Alpha University. Via Alpha University, the Fraternity has dedicated itself to fostering the spirit of Brotherhood, training a new generation of leaders, building the technological capacity of members, bringing consistency to the implementation of the Fraternity’s national programs and ensuring that chapters have the necessary preparation to implement fraternal initiatives and day-to-day operations.
Fraternity Mission Statement
The objectives of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are to stimulate the ambition of its members; to prepare them for the greatest usefulness in the cause of humanity, freedom, and dignity of the individual; to encourage the highest and noblest form of manhood; and to aid downtrodden humanity in its efforts to achieve higher social, economic, and intellectual status.
Primary National Programs
The fraternity’s National Programs and their areas of focus are programs/projects which have been adopted by the General Convention and mandated for implementation by all chapters. Our National Programs are:
- Go-to-High-School, Go-to-College – to encourage our youth to complete of high school and college
- Project Alpha – to work with our youth to combat teenage pregnancy in our communities and foster sexual responsibility in our young men
- A Voteless People is a Hopeless People – to encourage and facilitate our community’s active participation in the political process
Other National Programs
- March of Dimes – to raise funds and foster awareness of birth defects
- Alpha Head Start – to work with Head Start programs; assisting with fatherhood issues and male involvement with children
- Boy Scouts of America – Zeta Sigma Lambda’s commitment to the growth of San Diego’s youth is exemplified in its sponsorship of the Boy Scouts. For five years, the Chapter has helped this troop pursue its goals to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.