|From the Desk of Herman "Skip" Mason
Iota Chapter, Spring 82(Morris Brown College/Atlanta, Georgia)
Eta Lambda Chapter since 1984
Historian, Pastor, Author, Entrepreneur and Lecturer
READ IT, SAVE IT, COPY IT, FILE IT, FORWARD IT, DISCUSS
IT AND BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF THE FRATERNITY
VOL. 1, NO. 3 - April 19, 1999
"FIND THE GOOD AND PRAISE IT"
Skip's Note: Well, I am overwhelmed by your response
to this page. Your kind notes are very encouraging. Thank you brothers for receiving
so warmly and graciously my historical intrusion of your time. Also glad to know
there are many AKA/APA marriages. Many brothers wrote to say that they shared
Issue No. 2 with their wives. As with any new item there are constant changes
and revisions. This page is now called Skip's Historical Moments(changed from Insight).
The letters of the new title are also the letters of my name Herman "Skip" Mason
(HSM), though not in order. My web page is currently being designed by a dear
brother at Baylor. I look forward to sharing the website with you soon. Any
questions or comments may be sent directly to my email address:
firstname.lastname@example.org. As always feel free to
forward to other brothers or send me their email address.
Because this is National Poetry Month, today's "moments" focuses on
some rare poetic gems connected to the founders.Only a stanza of the poems
featured is presented. The complete poems are included in the book
The Talented Tenth. Several brothers wrote me and told they love
the page but reminded me not give all of my book content away. I agree.
This page is done to share with you brief excerpts of material included
in my book and interesting and mostly unknown historical tidbits that I
think you would be interested in.
JEWEL PROFESSOR CHARLES HENRY CHAPMAN, A POET?
I learned during my research that JEWEL Charles Henry Chapman, a renowned
and award winning professor of Agriculture at Florida A&M University
also wrote poetry before his death in Tallahassee, Florida in 1934. Though
no collection of his work has been unearthed, one poem surfaced. I present
to you one stanza of the poem.
Just to be a friend of yours, And to know you're one of mine
With a friendship that endures and grows sweeter like old wine.
Just to clasp you by the hand in a friendly sort of way
And to know you understand all the things I want to say.....
DID YOU KNOW.....
.... That another Alpha Poet Countee Cullen was initiated into Eta
Chapter in New York in 1927, the same year that Langston Hughes was initiated
into Omega Psi Phi. and that he married the only daughter of W. E. B. DuBois,
Yolande, a member of Delta Sigma Theta in one of the biggest weddings of the year.
(More on that in another issue)
In 1954, Brother Ernest Gilbert wrote a poem entitled "The Jewels of Alpha Phi Alpha"
(The first stanza is printed below:)
Poindexter was a leader at the beginning
And his efforts rate commending
But Kelley who strove for the idea of a fraternity
Stood firm when there was a great combat.
As the first president he was selected to be
A Jewel symbolizing immortality......
ONE OF THE GREATEST TESTIMONIES OF A BROTHER'S LOVE FOR ALPHA IS FOUND
IN THE POEM "HE AIN'T HEAVY, HE'S MY BROTHER" BY BROTHER FREEMAN
MONTAGUE. (wherever you are Brother Montague, thank you for writing a poem
that captures my love of this organization." A few lines are printed below:)
"Our family trees are not the same, we all have different mothers.
But yet I tell the world that you are my brother.
It's like we live our lives together as we meet at this time.
As this powerful sense of being an Alpha man makes everything seem fine....."
FROM THE JEWEL'S LIPS:
"We must never lose sight of the fact that we must take part in the development,
not only of ourselves but of all humanity."
-Jewel Charles Henry Chapman, 1931
APRIL BIRTHDAYS OF THE JEWELS:
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO JEWEL ROBERT HAROLD OGLE (APRIL 3, 1886)
AND JEWEL NATHANIEL ALLISON MURRAY (APRIL 10, 1884).
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A PASSING THOUGHT:
Wouldn't it be nice to make a "Jewel Pilgrimage" to places connected
to the lives our "Jewels." Beginning in Ithaca (visiting Cornell,
Ithaca, Lake Cuyuga, Troy and Binghamton New York where Callis, Chapman
and Kelley grew up) , traveling on to Harlem on Broadway where Tandy's
Architectural Firm was located and then going to "Sugar Hill" in Harlem
where he and his family resided. While in Harlem visiting all the places
he designed, stopping by the National Urban League's old office where Jewel
Jones worked for so long. Going up to Flushing, New York where Jones lived
and is buried. Taking that bus to Washington, DC and visiting the childhood
homes of Ogle, Murray and the last place of residence of Callis(I've already
seen them). Going on to Richmond, Virginia and seeing the birthhome of
Eugene Kinckle Jones and then to Lexington, Kentucky where Tandy's father
built homes including his birthhome. Driving on to Tallahassee and
laying flowers on Chapman's grave. Wouldn't that be nice if we all had
a week or more to do that pilgrimage? Well, it's just a passing thought.
A BROTHER WANTED TO KNOW:
WHEN DID BROTHER MARTIN LUTHER KING ATTEND HIS FIRST ALPHA CONVENTION?
ANSWER: Brother King was present at the Cleveland Convention
in December of 1952, just six months after he was initiated into the fraternity
through Sigma Chapter.(A copy of his shingle is included in the book "The
Talented Tenth) The guest speaker at the convention was Thurgood Marshall
and all living "Jewels" were present.
(IF YOU HAVE BURNING QUESTIONS, PLEASE EMAIL ME. I MAY NOT KNOW THE
ANSWER, BUT I WILL CERTAINLY RESEARCH IT AND TRY TO FIND IT.)
Congratulations to our brother, E. Lynn Harris, Best selling author and novelist
for the release of his new book "Abide With Me" which is already on the New York
Times Best Selling List.
SKIP'S QUOTE: I AM TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED!!!
The Alpha Phi Alpha/Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Connection. Is their really one?
In the first issue, Callis taught at Howard High School in Wilmington,
Delaware (not Wilmington High School as listed. (As fate would have it,
I visited Wilmington and Chester, Pennsylvania this weekend and paid homage
to the spirit of Callis during his brief stint as an English teacher.)
I was hosted by several brothers of Rho Chapter as I spoke at a church
Scholarship luncheon. "In cities of population of two, I even have a brother
there." A line taken from "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother."
In the 2nd Issue, there were nineteen charter members of Beta instead
of sixteen (which I inadvertently listed). George Lyle was initiated
in December of 1907 not 1908. (Hard to proof email text, but still striving.
DISCLAIMER: This page is not affiliated with the National Organization.
I am not the Historian of the fraternity, just a brother who is and has
always been thirsty for more knowledge on this organization. The information
provided has been thoroughly researched and documented and is brought to you
with all the fraternal love and spirit I possess. Sources are available upon