Famous Alphas

David Dinkins
Brother David Dinkins served as mayor of New York City from 1989 until 1993. He is currently Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, serves as Senior Fellow at the Barnard-Columbia Center for Leadership in Urban Public Policy, and hosts a public affairs radio program on WLIB-AM. He also is a member of the board or the advisory committee of several non-profit groups, including the Association to Benefit Children, the Association for a Better New York, and the March of Dimes.

Frederick Douglass
Born a slave, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, in Talbot County, Maryland, Frederick Douglass has been called the father of the civil rights movement. He rose through determination, brilliance, and eloquence to shape the American nation. He was an abolitionist, human rights and women's rights activist, orator, author, journalist, publisher, and social reformer. Committed to freedom, Douglass dedicated his life to achieving justice for all Americans, in particular African-Americans, women, and minority groups. He envisioned America as an inclusive nation strengthened by diversity and free of discrimination. Frederick Douglass died on February 20, 1895 at Cedar Hill after attending a women's rights meeting. He became an honorary member of Omega Chapter in 1921, enjoying the distinction of being the only member initiated posthumously. It is also noted that Douglas died before the founding of the Fraternity.

Duke Ellington
Born in 1899, Edward Kennedy Ellington created thousands of musical works, led his famous orchestra for an unmatched stretch of fifty years, and earned his nickname, Duke, by setting the standard for sophistication and elegance. Always a modernist, he made countless contributions to the jazz art form, and his music continues to be rediscovered and re-interpreted by every new generation of artists. Today, more than 20 years after Brother Ellington's death in 1974, musicians and scholars are still uncovering new riches in the trove of materials that he left behind. Brother Duke Ellington was, to use a phrase he coined, BEYOND CATEGORY.

John H. Johnson
Johnson Publishing's business is black and white and read all over. In 1942, Johnson used his mother's furniture as collateral to secure a $500 loan to start the publication Negro Digest, the forerunner to Ebony magazine. He parlayed his dream of publishing "a magazine of Negro content" into a "black gold mine." Today, Johnson is chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co. Inc. in Chicago, the largest black owned publishing and cosmetics company in the world. In November 1995 the company expanded its operations with the launch of Ebony South Africa. Also part of the company are Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Supreme Beauty Products, Ebony Fashion Fair and Johnson Publishing Company Book Division.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of the world's best known advocates of non-violent social change strategies Martin Luther King, Jr., drew his ideas from many different cultural traditions. Born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929, King's roots were in the African-American Baptist church. On December 5, 1955, five days after Montgomery civil rights activist Rosa Parks (Alpha Kappa Alpha) refused to obey the city's rules mandating segregation on buses, black residents launched a bus boycott and elected King as president of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association. King gained national prominence as a result of his exceptional oratorical skills and personal courage. King's renown grew as he became Time magazine's Man of the Year and, in December 1964, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while seeking to assist a garbage workers' strike in Memphis. To date, King is the only American (excluding U.S. Presidents) to be honored with a Federal holiday.

Thurgood Marshall
Brother Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), was the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He served as an associate justice from 1967 until his retirement in 1991. As a justice, Brother Marshall took liberal positions on a wide variety of issues, including capital punishment, free speech, school desegregation, and affirmative action. From 1940 to 1961, he was director and chief counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Marshall is perhaps best known for arguing, before the Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

Jesse Owens
James Cleveland Owens was born in Danville, Alabama in 1913. After his family moved to Ohio, he became known as "Jesse", derived from his initials "J.C.". Brother Owens competed as a runner while at Ohio State University, setting two world records. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Adolf Hitler put on a massive propaganda campaign claiming that Aryan supremacy would win the games for the Nordic countries. Brother Owens, a Black man, won gold medals in four events, beating several world records and embarrassing the Nazis. Brother Owens died in 1980.

Paul Robeson
In the annals of Alpha's history, no one man has exemplified the spirit of an Alpha man more than Brother Paul Robeson. Born in 1898, he was a world famous scholar, athlete, actor, singer and civil rights activist. Entering Rutgers University on an academic scholarship, Brother Robeson excelled in athletics and earned a combined 12 letters in track, football, baseball and basketball. During his senior year, he earned All-American honors in football and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors as well as the distinction of being named a Rhodes Scholar. In 1923, he received his law degree from Columbia University, where he was discovered acting in a school play. Brother Robeson went on to star in numerous productions including Porgy and Bess and Othello, where his outstanding voice was well received. Traveling the world, Robeson spoke several languages including Chinese, Russian, Gaelic and Spanish. In 1945, he was awarded the NAACP's Spingarn Medal for his outstanding achievements in the theater and on the concert stage. Brother Paul Robeson, arguably the most versatile black man of all-time, died in Philadelphia on January 23, 1976.

Eddie Robinson
There is little doubt among the informed that, by definition, Brother Eddie G. Robinson is a legend. His pursuit of coaching excellence is intense, devoted, and resolute. Brother Robinson's success in this lifelong endeavor is recorded in his more than a half century of college coaching (54 years at the college level) and his win record of more than 400 games. Affectionately known as "Coach Rob", he retired from his position as Head Coach of Grambling University in 1997, the winningest coach in football history.

Whitney M. Young, Jr.
An educator, humanitarian, author and civil rights leader, Young dedicated his life to full participation of African-Americans in the nation’s economic and political systems. For more than two decades, he led the National Urban League in its effort to improve the economic status of African-Americans. Young accomplished this by working within the economic and political systems to achieve equal opportunities. In 1953, Young took a brief hiatus from the Urban League to become the Dean of Atlanta University’s Graduate School of Social Work. He served in that position until he was appointed National Urban League Executive Director in 1961. On March 11, 1971, Whitney Young died while attending the African-American Dialogue (a conference held to strengthen the relationship between peoples of African descent throughout the Diaspora) in Lagos, Nigeria.


  • W.E.B. DuBois, Philosopher
  • Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader
  • Jow Duff, NAACP Attorney
  • Paul Robeson, Civil Rights Leader, Actor, Singer
  • Lester Granger, former Executive Director of the National Urban League
  • Whitney M. Young Jr.*, former Executive Director of the National Urban League
  • Dick Gregory, Civic Activist
  • Charles Hamilton Houston, former NAACP Legal Counsel
  • Hugh B. Price, National Urban League Executive Director


  • Edward W. Brooke, former U.S. Senator (MA)
  • Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., former U.S. Representative (NY)
  • Andrew Young, former US Congress Representative (GA) and former Mayor (GA)
  • William Dawson, former U.S. Representative (IL)
  • William Coleman, Secretary of Transportation
  • Harold Ford, U.S. Representative (TN)
  • William H. Gray III, U.S. Representative (PA), UNCF President & CEO
  • Julian Dixon, U.S. Representative (CA)
  • Ronald Dellum, U.S. Representative (CA)
  • Charles Rangel, U.S. Representative (NY)
  • Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court
  • Damon J. Keith, U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Terrence Todman, Ambassador to Denmark
  • Charles Mahoney, United Nations
  • Channing H. Tobias, Delegate to the United Nations
  • Hubert Humphrey, U.S. Vice President
  • Clarence Pendleton, U.S. Civil Rights Commission
  • Ralph Metcalfe, U.S. Representative (IL)
  • Samuel Pierce, U.S. Secretary of HUD
  • Harry Edwards, U.S. Court of Appeals
  • O. Rudolph Aggrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Romania
  • U.W. Clemon, U.S. District Court Federal Judge
  • James A. Joseph, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa
  • Ralph Metcalfe, former U.S. Representative (IL)


  • Marion Barry, Mayor-Washington, DC
  • Henry Marsh, Mayor- Richmond, VA
  • David Dinkins, Mayor- New York, NY
  • Lawrence Crawford, Mayor- Suffolk VA
  • Walter Washington, Mayor- Washington, DC
  • Maynard Jackson, Mayor- Atlanta, GA
  • Ernest Morial, Mayor- New Orleans, LA
  • Richard Arrington, Mayor- Birmingham, AL
  • Lionel Wilson, Mayor- Oakland, CA
  • Willie Brown, Assembly Speaker (CA)
  • Roland Burris, Comptroller- State of Illinois
  • Dr. Arthur Jefferson, Superintendent- Detroit Public Schools
  • Dennis Archer, Mayor- Detroit, MI
  • Thomas V. Barnes, Mayor- Gary, Indiana
  • Lee Brown, Mayor-Houston, TX
  • Emanuel Cleaver, Mayor, Kansas City, MO
  • Norman Rice, Mayor- Seattle, WA
  • Eugene Sawyer, Chicago, IL


  • L.D. Milton, President- Citizens Bank
  • N.B. Herndon, President- Atlanta Life Insurance Co.
  • Thomas P. Harris, President- Chicago Metropolitan Insurance Co.
  • Henry G. Parks, President- Parks Meat Co.
  • Joshua Smith, President- Maxima Corporation
  • Wayman Smith, Anheuser-Busch
  • Thomas J. Burrell, Burrell Advertising
  • W. Melvin Brown, American Developing Corporation
  • Eugene Jackson, World African Network CEO


  • Charles Harris Wesley, Educator, Historian *
  • Garrett A. Morgan, Inventor (Sewing Machine) *
  • John Hope Franklin, Historian
  • Mal Goode, Journalist *
  • John H. Johnson, Publisher
  • Countee Cullen, Poet
  • Benjamin Quarles, Historian
  • Calvin Barnett, President of Coppin St. College
  • E. Franklin Frazier, Sociologist
  • William Strother, Professor of Psychology Princeton University
  • Frederick Patterson, Founder-United Negro College Fund
  • James Cheek, President- Howard University
  • Earl Richardson, President Morgan State University
  • Luna I. Mishoe, President- Delaware State College. +
  • Cornell West, Educator, Philosopher and Author.


  • Fred A. Gordon, Brigadier General- AUS-West Point
  • Benjamin Hacker, Rear Admiral of US Navy Commander +
  • Samuel Gravely, Admiral-USN
  • James McCall, Major General-AUS
  • Winston Scott, NASA Astronaut
  • Edward Honor, Major General-AUS
  • Roscoe Cartwright, General-AUS
  • Charles A. Hines, Major General - Ret. US Army


  • Duke Ellington, Music Legend * 
  • Lionel Hampton, Music Legend
  • Antonio Hart, Jazz Musician
  • Gerald Albright, Jazz Musician
  • Darryl Bell, Movie Actor & Network TV
  • Tony Brown, Journalist & TV Producer
  • Jerry Butler, Singer
  • Keenen-Ivory Wayans, Actor & Writer
  • Stuart Scott, TV Sports Analytst
  • Keith Garrett, Network TV Executive Producer
  • Donny Hathaway, Singer & Musician *
  • Lionel Richie, Singer and Songwriter


  • John Hurst Adams, Bishop & Founder of National Black Churches
  • Harold Davis, President of the American Baptist Churches
  • T.J. Jemison, President of the National Baptist
    Convention +
  • E. Edward Jones, President of the National Baptist Convention of America +
  • Dr. Joe Samuel Ratliff, Brentwood Baptist Church - Houston, Texas


  • Levi Watkins, Medical Scientist
  • James Corner, Psychologist
  • Lasalle Lefalle, First African-American President of American Cancer Society
  • Louis Sullivan, President of Morehouse Medical School.


  • Walt Bellamy, NBA +
  • Junior Bridgeman, NBA +
  • Quinn Buckner, NBA +
  • Lenny Wilkins, NBA
  • Walt Frazier, NBA +
  • Bobby Phills, NBA
  • Wes Unseld, NBA, Washington Wizards
  • Wayne Embry, NBA-General Manager Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Wes Chandler, NFL +
  • Greg Coleman, 1st Black Punter, NFL +
  • Charles Haley, NFL-Dallas Cowboys
  • Michael Jackson, NFL-Baltimore Ravens
  • Carnell Lake, NFL-Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Art Shell, NFL Hall of Fame
  • Eric Wright, NFL +
  • Reggie Williams, NFL +
  • Joe Green, NFL +
  • Eugene Upshaw, Executive Director with the NFL�s Player�s Association
  • Jesse Owens, Sports Legend-Track Star
  • Mike Powell, World record holder in the long jump-Track and Field
  • Eddie Robinson, Coach, Grambling State University +

* = deceased
+ = no longer active in the noted position.

Alpha Phi Alpha
Zeta Sigma Lambda Chapter

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San Diego, CA 92112-4841