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NATIONAL HISTORY

The most remarkable leadership in the African American community in the 20th century has without question come from the ranks of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Since its founding on Tuesday, December 4, 1906, the Fraternity 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 in the United States established for men of African descent, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven exemplary college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of Brotherhood between African Americans. The visionary founders, known as the Jewels of the Fraternity, are: Henry Arthur Callis, M.D., Charles Henry Chapman, Ph.D., Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.hey

The United States, during the early 1900s, fostered a very unsavory racial climate, one that highly unfavorable towards Blacks.

Society offered African-Americans narrowly circumscribed opportunities and no security. On the campus of an ivy-league institution like Cornell, this existing discrimination was thoroughly enhanced. Initially, the fraternity served as a study/support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice educationally and socially at Cornell. During those beginning days, the Jewels and early leaders of the Fraternity worked to lay a solid foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha's principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.

The certificate of incorporation for the organization was filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of the State of New York as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. on January 29, 1908. The Fraternity was again incorporated on April 3, 1914 under the laws of the District of Columbia. The purpose and objective of the Fraternity was declared to be educational and for the mutual uplifting of its members. The constitution, adopted on December 14, 1907, provided that following the founding of the fourth chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the general organization of theFraternity would be established.

Soon after the Fraternity's inception at Cornell, chapters were developed at other colleges and universities (many of them historically black institutions), starting with the founding of Beta chapter at Howard University on December 20, 1907.

On December 28, 1908, the Fraternity's first general convention assembled at the seat of Beta chapter in Washington, D.C. The convention expressed the hope that the influence of Alpha Phi Alpha would reach every (African American) college and university in the land, to bring together under one band and with one bond of fraternal love, all the worthy leading college men wherever found, to form, as it were, a link to join them together.

The first general convention and subsequent conventions have continuously exhorted chapters and members to remember that manly deeds, scholarships, and love for all mankind are the aims of the Fraternity.

While continuing to stress academic excellence and pursuit among its members, the Fraternity also recognized the need to help correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African Americans. The Fraternity's national programs date back to 1919, when Alpha Phi Alpha introduced its Go-to-High School, Go-to-College campaign to increase the education level of the African American community. Alpha Phi Alpha later took the lead in the voting rights struggle for African Americans and coined the nationally famous phrase, "A Voteless People is a Hopeless People," as part of its effort to register black voters. The slogan remains the battle cry today for Alpha voter registration efforts.

Alpha Phi Alpha has long stood at the forefront of the African American community's fight for civil rights and human dignity. From the Fraternity's ranks have come outstanding civil rights leader such as: W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, Paul Robeson, Julius Chambers, Maynard Jackson, and many, many others.

The Fraternity's leadership development and community service training for young men has made Alpha Phi Alpha the most prestigious organization of its kind today. Today, Alpha Phi Alpha continues its commitment to the African American community through the Fraternity's Education and Building foundations, which provide scholarships to outstanding students and shelter to underprivileged families. The Fraternity also has dedicated itself to training a new generation of leaders with national mentoring programs and partnerships designed to ensure the success of our children and youth.