Born on February 23, 1868, William Edward Burghart DuBois is one of the greatest
African-Americans in our nation's history. Much like them, he was a leader of
his people and was a man who sought to share fully with them through his works.
DuBois attended Fisk University, Harvard University, and University of Berlin.
Famous works by DuBois include The Philadelphia Negro, The Souls of Black Folk,
The Gift of Black Folk, Black Reconstruction in America, Dusk of Dawn, The
Encyclopedia of the Negro, The World and Africa, and The Education of Black
People. Dubois was influential in the founding of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as editor of its magazine,
The Crisis. DuBois died on August 27, 1963, in Accra, Ghana, as a citizen of Ghana.
Duke Ellington (1899-1974) was born Edward Kennedy Ellington in Washington, DC.
A world renowned composer, conductor, and pianist, he began to play professionally
at the age of 17. In 1923, he moved to New York City and organized a ten-piece band.
Through the 1930's and 1940's he and his enlarged band appeared in theaters and
nightclubs, on the radio, and in foreign tours. In 1943, he conducted the first
of nine annual concerts at Carnegie Hall, in New York City. His compositions are
known for their modified concerto form and central solo instrumental passages.
Among his most famous songs are "Mood Indigo" (1931), "Sophisticated Lady" (1933),
and "Solitude" (1934). His band's signature piece, "Take the 'A' Train," is still
widely performed by many of today's top jazz ensembles. Brother Ellington is one
of the most respected figures in the history of jazZ, and is credited with bringing
the art form into concert halls and religious services. His autobiography, published
in 1973, is entitled Music Is My Mistress.
Frederick Douglass, born a slave, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, in Talbot
County, Maryland. 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 Douglas 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
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was ordained in 1947
and became minister of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Ala. He led the boycott by
Montgomery blacks against the segregated city bus lines, and he attained national
prominence by advocating a policy of passive resistance to segregation. In 1956,
he gained a major victory and prestige as a civil rights leader when the Montgomery
buses began to operate on a desegregated basis. King organized the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference and the massive March on Washington, which brought more than
200,000 people together. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On April 4,
1968, he was shot and killed by an assassin's bullet on the balcony of the motel
where he was staying. His birthday is an American national holiday, celebrated on
the third Monday in January.
James Cleveland "Jesse" 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.
In the annals of Alpha's history, no one man has exemplified the spirit of an
Alphaman 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.
Sidney Poitier was born February 20, 1927 and he is an African-American actor. He was
born in Miami, Florida and grew up on Cat Island in the Bahamas. He won the Academy
Award for Best Actor for his role in the 1963 film Lilies of the Field and was the
first African-American actor to win this award. He received a Lifetime Achievement
Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2002. He acted in the
first run of "Raisin in the Sun" on Broadway in 1959, and in its Hollywood adaptation
in 1961. In addition to authoring This Life (1980) and The Measure of a Man: A
Spiritual Autobiography (2000), Poitier has also served as the Bahamian ambassador
to Japan since April of 1997.
Garrett Augustus Morgan was born on March 4, 1877, in Paris, Kentucky. In 1912, he invented
the first gas mask and received a patent for it in 1914. On July 25, 1916, Morgan made
national news for using his gas mask to rescue several men trapped during an explosion
in an underground tunnel beneath Lake Erie. Following the rescue, Morgan's company was
bombarded with requests from fire departments around the country that wished to purchase
the new life-saving masks. In 1920, Morgan established the newspaper The Cleveland Call.
After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Morgan
invented the Morgan traffic signal, a T-shaped pole that featured three positions: Stop,
Go and an all-directional stop position.
Brother Thurgood Marshall was born in 1908 and 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
Prominent Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Civil Rights Activist
- Julius L. Chambers: NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Lester Granger: National Urban League
- Frederick Douglass: Anti-Slavery Activist
- W.E.B. Dubois: Writer, Historian, Civil Rights Activist
- Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.: Civil Rights Activist
- Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Activist, Supreme Court Justice
- Paul Robeson: Activist, Scholar, Singer, Football Player
- Dick Gregory: Activist
- William Gray: United Negro College Fund, Businessman
- Franklin Williams: Phelps-Stokes Fund
- James Check: Howard University
- Thomas W. Cole, Jr.: President, Clark-Atlanta University
- William B. DeLauder: President, Delaware St. University
- John Hope Franklin: Historian
- E. Franklin Frazier: Sociologist
- Dennis Kimbro: Author
- Frederick Patterson: Founder, UNCF
- Dr. Ronald J. Temple: Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago
- Cornell West: Author
- Andrew Zawacki: Rhodes Scholar, Author
- Dr. Raymond W. Cannon: 1st Edition, Sphinx Magazine
- Norm Francis: President, Xavier University
Science and Medicine:
- Dr. Lessall D. Leffall: President, American College of Surgeons
- James Comer: Psychologist
- Garrett Morgan: Inventor, Traffic Signal
- Louis Sullivan: Secretary of Health and Education
- Winston Scott: Commander NASA
- Daryl Bell: Actor
- Tony Brown: Journalist/Producer
- Countee Cullen: Poet
- Duke Ellington: Jazz Musician
- Donny Hathaway: Musician
- Eugene Jackson: National Black Network
- Stuart Scott: ESPN Anchorman
- Chuck Stone: Philadelphia Daily News
- Keenan Ivory Wayans: Comedian, Producer
- Kwame Kilpatrick: Mayor of Detroit
- Dennis Archer: former, Mayor of Detroit
- Richard Arrington: Mayor of Birmingham
- Willie Brown: Mayor of San Francisco
- David Dinkins: Former Mayor of New York
- Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver: Mayor of Kansas City
- Chaka Fattah: Congressman, Pennsylvania
- Ernest Finney: South Carolina Supreme Court Justice
- Earl Hilliard: Congressman, Alabama (7th District)
- Maynard Jackson: Former Mayor of Atlanta
- Thurgood Marshall: Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice
- Earnest "Dutch" Morial: 1st Black Mayor of New Orleans
- Marc Morial: Mayor of New Orleans
- Charles Rangel: Congressman, New York (15th District)
- Robert C. Scott: Congressman, Virginia (3rd District)
- Andrew Young: Former Mayor of Atlanta
- Quinn Buckner: Former NBA Player and Coach
- Wes Chandler: Former NFL Player
- Todd Day: NBA Player
- Rosie Greer: Former NFL Player
- Charles Haley: NFL Player
- Michael Jackson: NFL Player
- Carnell Lake: NFL Player
- Jesse Owens: Olympic Gold Medalist
- Fritz Pollard: 1st Black Head Coach in the NFL
- Mike Powell: Track Star
- Eddie Robinson: Winningest Football Coach in NCAA History
- Art Shell: Former NFL Player and Coach
- Wes Unseld: Former NBA Player and Coach
- Gene Upshaw: President of the NFL Players Association
- Lenny Wilkens: Winningest Coach in NBA History
- John "Hot Rod" Williams: Former NBA Player
- Reggie Williams: Cincinnati Bengals
- Roscoe Cartwright: General, AUS
- Samuel Gravel: Admiral, USN
- Edward Honor: Major General, AUS
- Fred A. Gorden: Brigadere General
- Samuel Gravely: Admiral
- Benjamin Hacker: Rear Admiral
- Edward Honor: Major General
- James McCall: Major General
- Thomas J. Burrell: CEO, Burrell Advertising
- W. Melvin Brown: CEO, American Development Corp.
- John H. Johnson: Entrepreneur
- Delano Lewis: President, National Public Radio
- Henry Parks: Founder, Parks Sausages, Inc.
- Joshua Smith: CEO, Maxima Corporation
Copyright © 2013 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - Epsilon Iota Chapter