REMINDER TO BROTHERS IN METROPOLITAN ATLANTA: TODAY AT 5 P.M., PLEASE COME OUT AND GREET THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF JEWEL ROBERT HAROLD OGLE AT THE ALPHA COMMUNITY CENTER AT 1286 EAST WASHINGTON STREET IN EAST POINT, GA. FOR FURTHER INFO CONTACT ME AT (404) 627-7799 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. A LOOK BACK AT THE CONVENTIONS
The convention season is upon us. Making travel arrangements, paying
registration fees and hotel cost are all a part of the Alpha Convention
of 1999. Brothers are making plans to gather in Dallas, Texas for the last
Next week: A brother travels to Egypt and shares his experience/Our founding place, Ithaca, New York, 93 years later/much more.
"The Lighter Side of Alpha" (Part Two)
BY BROTHER GREGORY SCOTT PARKS, GUEST COLUMNIST
In several recent interviews, I asked some White brothers their perception of their experiences in the fraternity. The following is some of what I found:
Greg: Initially, what attracted you to Alpha?
WB5: I was introduced to Alpha by my freshman year roommate, who later
became my line brother. He...thought the fraternity might be appropriate
for me. I attended what may be termed a "pre-smoker" with a
Then I did some research. I found out what Alpha stood for, what kind of men Alpha attracts, and what kind of men Alpha makes. I realized then that the ideals of the organization were very much in line with my own, and the fraternity's concept of brotherhood was perhaps the most admirable philosophy I had ever known.
(Almost all of the brothers interviewed talked about the level activity
and leadership of the Alphas on their yard. They also spoke about
the sacrifices they saw Alphas willing to make for one another as a true
Greg: Why did you choose Alpha over Kappa, Omega or Sigma?
WB1: The other African-American fraternities on campus struck me as far more image conscious. I was dumbstruck by Alpha's history, which I had begun to read about, and had been very impressed with the roll call of past brothers: King, Owens, Ellington, Marshall, to name a few.
Greg: Why didn't you join a White fraternity?
WB1: At [my school] they were basically social organizations, if not drinking clubs. Any evidence of greater purpose was minimal and transparent.
(Similar feelings were expressed by all the others.)
Greg: Were you involved in any other Black organizations on campus?
ALL: Memberships ranged from working for the Office of Minority Affairs on recruitment of undergrads, to vice-president of the gospel choir, to President of Pan-Hell.
Greg: Are you currently involved in any Black organizations?
WB2: I have been involved in the Black church for about 8 years.
Greg: What are your feelings about Alpha's Afrocentric thrust?
WB1: I was amenable to it at the time and remain so. I'd been doing a lot of research on Malcolm X out of curiosity and as part of a fellowship I'd earned, and much of my intellectual time at....was spent wondering about Alpha's relative position vis-a-vis Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Franz Fanon, and a number of other social thinkers.
Greg: Do you believe that your pledging/intake experience was any different from your line/intake brother(s)?
WB1: I'm sure that it was--especially when we visited other campuses. I was the immediately obvious exception and made a convenient scapegoat for slip-ups committed by the "intake" class. But unlike my pledge classmates, I was joining an organization of like-minded individuals who did not share my skin color. It was a lesson in solidarity and contrast, in sameness and difference, and it was a lesson learned every day.
WB2: ...I believe that I gained a new appreciation for the idea
of being a minority... I honestly believe I studied harder, worried more,
and in some ways simply pledged harder than most people... Just like I
WB3: No, because all my line brothers and I were treated the same way through the whole pledging process (we were truly "as one"). Yes, because I had to stay tougher mentally due to the fact that I knew the older brothers would challenge me more.
Greg: Have other brothers treated you differently because of the color of your skin?
WB4: At first, some treated me different[ly], but once they got to know
me, it passed.
Greg: What is your relationship with your line/intake brothers and your chapter brothers?
WB4: My line brothers and I will always remain close. They truly are my brothers to the end... Although I have graduated, I still have contact with them... They never cared that I was White, just that I did the work of Alpha.
Greg: What was the response of your White friends to your becoming an Alpha?
ALL: Friends and family were supportive and accepting. Some parents had worries about their child might not being accepted.
Greg: What was the response of the Black community on your campus when you became an Alpha?
WB2: Black people at ... were enormously positive about my becoming
a bro. From the moment I crossed, people were walking out of their
way to congratulate me. Three weeks after I crossed, I participated
Greg: How do Black people in general respond to you when they find out you are an Alpha?
WB5: Shocked amusement would be the standard response.
(Most brothers responded in a similar fashion.)
Greg: Are you currently active?
ALL: Four out of five responded yes. I am working on the last one.
Greg: Do you think there is feeling among Black brothers that Whites should not be initiated into the fraternity?
WB1: I think there is probably a feeling that not too many should be initiated, and given the history of the fraternity's founding, I don't think this hesitation is in any way illegitimate. But I've never felt that there's been a concern about admitting some White brothers in general. Perhaps I'm naive or optimistic, but I've found [Alpha] to be at once full of conviction and yet enormously open to change. That is its strength.
A few years ago, I could never have imagined that I would be accepting
of a White man in a Black faternity--let alone my own. Alpha has
truly opened my eyes over the past couple of years. I consider
Questions, comments, criticisms, and lingering concerns may be forwarded to me at email@example.com
A BROTHER WRITES ABOUT HIS WHITE LINE BROTHER:
It was difficult to write that phrase above because, I never thought
of my line brother as anything other than brother. On December 14, 1967,
four new brothers were initiated into the Iota Chapter at Morris Brown
College in Atlanta, GA. One member of that line was a brother from
David was a great brother. Although I have to admit he did get us into
a little trouble while pledging. For one thing, he could not step as well
as the rest of us. Another thing, is that he wanted to be an Alpha so bad
How did a non-black happen to be a student at Morris Brown College in 1967? Morris Brown had an exchange program with North Central University in Wisconsin. We would send two black students to spend one semester at North Central and they would send two white students. David enjoyed the experience so much at Morris Brown that he transferred. Some say it was to pledge Alpha. David ended up graduating from the University of Georgia. His first wife was Indian (India) and his second wife was hispanic.
We celebrated our 30th year in Alpha on December 14, 1997. Unfortunately, David was only with us in spirit. He entered the Omega Chapter in Feb. 1997. His widow and two sons attended the function.
David taught us all that you cannot judge a man by the color of his skin. Something even us blacks need to remember.
John H. Carter
LETTERS TO SKIP FROM TWO 'NON BLACK" BROTHERS
It's taken me awhile to respond to you, and I apologize for that.
I like to think that my experiences within the frat have been no different
from anyone else. True, my skin is lighter, but I have never felt
like this held me back from anything, once I got in the frat. During my
initial interest period, I had to apply to the national
When I first told my parents about my ambition to pledge Alpha, their only reservation was that I not be a token. Well, if that had been the case, I would not have been there to begin with. I was treated like my other line brothers, in that none of it was fun. The biggest problem I have with the frat now is the lack of commitment I see from bros. I see plenty of Alphas where I work and in the community, and 9 times out of 10 the guys aren't financial. I invite them to our grad meetings, and they say "Oh I have to do so and so or I have other commitments." Man that's bulls---, [Skip, if you allow scatological language in your SHM now and try to censor it later, you'll be accused of letting 'the white guy' get away with it. This is the first instance I've read of it in your column. Now is not the time to let it in, especially in opinion pieces like letters. While the floodgates won't necessarily open, you'll see more than you'd be comfortable with.]excuse my language, but that's how I feel. We meet once a month, and you don't even have to be financial to come and participate. Brothers pledged and went through all that hell, and then quit. I worked too hard to join the organization, and I'm not going to give it up because I don't have one night a month. There are some Sorry Bros' out there, period. Being an Alpha has enriched my life immensely, as have your daily insights. My likes and dislikes are like all the other bros. The national office needs a major overhaul and refocus on why and how Alpha was founded. I don't remember reading in Wesley's wonderful book about the proper way to gouge brothers for their loot, or how to properly cut off a concerned bro when they call, do you? I am an Alpha, I will always be an Alpha, and I will always hold the light high. I hope I have given what you wanted. I like Bro Parks' article on Tuesday, and I look forward to Thursday. I did an interview with him on paper, and I look forward to his Sphinx article (if it happens). Skip, take it easy and I want to meet face to face one day.
I wanted to take the time to compliment you on a tremendous job you're doing with the historical newsletters. I've found them to be incredibly interesting, and clamor for every ounce of historical insight you can provide. In this particular issue, though, I was interested in seeing the article Bro. Parks supplied regarding white brothers. Being a white Alpha myself, I obviously found the subject matter captivating. While reading it, though, I was amused -- and flattered -- to realize that I was the Mike to whom brother Parks referred. I'm located in Dallas now, some 1,500 miles away from D.C., and it's amazing to realize how truly tight the Alpha family is -- and how truly effective your newsletter is, in bringing that family closer together. I hope the corporate office realizes this someday soon, and helps you expand your activities to as many brothers as possible. Continue holding up the light!
A LOOK BACK AT THE CONVENTIONS
The ninth General President Charles "Pup" Garvin emphatically reflected in 1936 upon the fact that the earlier gatherings and conventions were not of the present gala social types as are the present ones. They were occasions of work from four in the afternoon to four in the morning -- one sitting, the setting up of a fraternity structure in ritual, laws and bylaws in brotherly love and quality of manhood that would be a model for generations to come to emulate. And all around a single bowl of punch and a few dozen cookies were these accomplishments effected.
FROM THE LIPS OF A JEWEL:
"It is our task to blaze the way and keep our feet upon the path of progress and with prophetic vision keep alive in us the spirit of cooperation. These thoughts, my brothers, are my conception of our duties and responsibilities to Alpha Phi Alpha.
Jewel Robert Harold Ogle
FROM THE LIPS OF A PAST GENERAL PRESIDENT
"There are gains for all our losses.
Charles Harris Wesley, 1935
SKIP'S FAVORITE QUOTE FOR TODAY
SKIP'S SCRIPTURAL VERSE FOR TODAY
God's financial program will bring you the material things, but it will bring you much more if you will first seek the Lord.
-"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." -- Matthew 6:33
THOSE FAMOUS ALPHAS
Answer- Quincy Jones and Jackie Robinson.
LOTS OF RESPONSES ON ALPHA ATHLETES
Adrian Murrell, who is the starting running back for the Arizona Cardinals,
is also a brother. He pledged at West Virginia University.
I met him a few years ago at a club in Atlanta. He was playing for
the Jets at the time and they were in town for a game.
Skip, on the topic of Alpha Athletes:
J.T. Woodard (James Todd)
I have some information on brothers in the NFL that may be helpful.
The following current or former pro players are definitely frat:
George H. Stroud
What Brother Kelly Miller had to say about sports:
Sports are the greatest socialization agencies under our civilization. We forget our artificial distinction when we sink back to the primal instinct which sport appeases. Even race prejudice is for the moment overlooked. There is greater brotherhood in sport than religion. The Christian who would not sit by another Christian of a different color, to worship a Common Master, fraternizes freely with him on the baseball bleachers.
*Every Beta Brother should know the name of Dean Kelly Miller. He assisted Jewel Eugene Kinckle Jones in the selection of the charter members of Beta and was for many years a loyal supporter of Alpha. He served as Dean of Howard until his death.
FROM THE PAN HELLENIC ARCHIVES
Notable and Famous Members of Sigma Gamma Rho
WEB SITES OF INTEREST TO ALPHA BROTHERS:
I recently became aware of a web site that addresses recent (1997-1999)
incidents of hazing within black fraternities and sororities. One
of the articles on this site refers to an incident at Alpha chapter.
P.S. The web site is www.deltasigmatheta.com/hazenews.htm
Skip's Note- I am printing this letter and website just for information. I do not know nor can I speak to the issue which involves the fraternity from that perspective.
OTHER SITES OF INTEREST
ClassMates.Com. It's a directory of high school alumni. There
are over 1 million alumni registered so far from more than 30,000 high
If you ever receive email that you are unsure about check it out at http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html
This site provides the latest updates on hoaxes and viruses alike.
THE FOUNDERS AND 30 GENERAL PRESIDENTS
Published by Four G's Press, c. 1999
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