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Alpha Phi Alpha History

Founded: December 4, 1906
School:     Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Colors:      Black and Old Gold
Flower:      Yellow Rose
Motto:       "First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All."
Magazine: The Sphinx
Web page:  www.apa1906.org


The Objectives of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  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.


 The Jewels


Notable Alumni:

W.E.B. Dubois
Paul Roberson
E. Franklin Frasier
Adam Clayton Powell
 Whitney Young, Jr.
Andrew Young
Jesse Owens
Lionel Hampton
 Thurgood Marshall
Martin Luther King, Jr.
 Hubert Humphrey
Edward Brook
Duke Ellington
Lenny Wilkens
 Eddie Robinson
Maynard Jackson
 William H. Gray III
 Cornel West





Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-Letter fraternity established for Black college students, was organized at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, in 1906. The first unit of this national fraternity, organized by college men of African descent, was called "Alpha Chapter." Alpha Phi Alpha was born out of the desire for maintaining close association and unified support for members of this small minority group, in as much as they were denied, for the most part, the mutual helpfulness which the majority of students attending their university regularly enjoyed.
As student in a large American university, they were cut off from the many opportunities for mutual helpfulness which come to groups of students through personal contacts and close association. The racial cleavage, characteristic of this period, has laid the basis for division of the races even in college life. Many of these students were self-supporting, and their resources were limited, and if membership in the university fraternal associations had been permissible, it is probable that advantage could not have been taken of the opportunity. Confronted by the social proscriptions of race common to American institutions of this era, hampered by limited means with the attendant circumstances of the average "poor" student, these students faced the future and boldly endeavored to find a way out of the difficulties, scarcely realizing, however, the importance of their action on subsequent generations of college students.
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, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity
The Fraternity has grown steadily in influence throughout the years. It integrated its racial membership in 1945 and it has expanded to the extent that there are now more than 700 chapters located throughout the US, Caribbean Islands, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the West Indies.
Alpha Phi Alpha's membership is worldwide. The Fraternity has initiated some 225,000 members during its ninety-one years of continued existence and among these are countless leaders in all fields of endeavor. Nationally, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., has published since 1914, the fraternity magazine, The Sphinx, which is the second oldest black publication in the world, next to the NAACP's, The Crisis.
Alpha Phi Alpha has a long and distinguished history of involvement, achievement and leadership in civil and human rights efforts. Over the years, the Fraternity has espoused many charitable and service projects. The "Go To High School, Go To College" program initiated in 1929 counseled youth on the importance of a post-secondary education and the professions which show promise for advancement. This counseling thrust has been augmented by a vigorous scholarship program which provides financial support for hundreds of students through local chapters.