I won’t pretend to know everything there is to know about Greek organizations; I quietly use to giggle at some of them since from an outsider perspective, it looked like organized gang affiliation. However, I married into a Greek family: Chris comes from a line of Alphas on both sides and his mother is an AKA. My experiences in this family over the last 12 years changed my perspective completely, and none more than spending time with Alpha men themselves.
This past weekend I celebrated with Chris and BI family members, Malcolm Darrell and Darius Gray, the 106th year of the founding of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. What I was reminded of was the fact that the seven men who are considered the founding fathers or “jewels” of the fraternity were mavericks in their time. They were students at an Ivy League college (Cornell University) at the turn of the century, a mere 41 years after the abolishment of slavery, creating a secret society for Black men. What nerve it took to take on such an endeavor, and 106 years later the Alphas stand proud as the first of many Greek organizations that remain leaders in the Black community.
I can run off a long list of prominent Black men who were Alphas over the last 106 years, but what I’m impressed with most are the ones I interact with regularly. There is a standard of excellence these men subscribe to for themselves, a personal commitment to be at their very best at all times, and even more a commitment to lift each other up that is unlike anything I’ve seen amongst Black men in various organizations. In a room of Alpha men, there is no sense of competition, but a feeling of oneness in brotherhood and excellence.
On this Founder’s Day, I salute all Alphas around the world, and give a special shout to my brethren Chris, Malcolm, and Darius. Thank you all for being the exception to the rule.