ALPHA PHI ALPHA HISTORY
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was established at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1906, as the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African American college students. Due to the prejudices of the time, seven visionary founders organized the first unit of this national fraternity called “Alpha Chapter.” 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.
Despite severe economic struggle and racial conflict in the United States, the early pioneers succeeded in laying a firm foundation and remained steadfast in their goals, which were the espousing of good character, sound scholarship, fellowship, and the uplifting of humanity.
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. Since its founding, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world. The fraternity has grown steadily in it’s influence throughout the years with a membership over 150,000 since it’s founding on December 4, 1906. There are now over 700 college chapters, and alumni chapters in local communities. These chapters are located in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the West Indies.
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. Through both the individual and collective effort of Alphamen worldwide, we have contributed to the financial and organizational successes of such organizations as the NAACP, the Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and many other well rooted causes.
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 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.