Summer 2014 | EXCELLENCE
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
THE BLACK MAN ISSUE
THE FIGHT FOR BLACK MEN Black Man Myths | Standing Our Ground | Being Black on a PWI Campus | The Bullet Next Time
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in this issue
The Fight for Black Men Part 2
Service | Advocacy A Letter from a Big Brother
Debunking Myths About Black Men
Leadership | Politics | Social Justice Standing Our Ground
Lies about Black Males and Academic Success
Walking While Black
The Bullet Next Time
Arts | Sports | Entertainment Getting to Know Ihenacho Alpha athlete makes difference in Middle East
Lifestyle | Education | Wellness Being Black on a PWI Campus: Dubois at a White Frat Party
Business | Finance 3 Workâ€“Life Balance Principles for Grads in Debt
Alpha Leadership Directory
Official Publication of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Summer 2014 | Volume 100, No. 2 www.apa1906.net EDITOR IN CHIEF Rick Blalock email@example.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR/EXECUTIVE EDITOR Bryan J.A. Kelly MANAGING EDITOR Joshua S.D. Harris COPY EDITORS Amy Kopperude, K. Thomas Oglesby
CONTRIBUTORS Ahmad Abuznaid, Joshua Adams, Sean M. Allen, Corey DeAndre Betz, Travonte’ Bodwin, Matthew S. Bradford, Richard Butler, Terry Calhoun, Stephen Carter, Bryan Cotton, Delores Diggs, Joshua Dubois, Eric Ham, Reginald G. Howell, Ajani Husbands, Roy L. Irons, Tremaine Jasper, William Douglass Lyle, David Myers, Darryl Parker, Donald Robertson Jr., Charles Samuels III, Andrew T. Siwo, Michael A. Smith, Ty Sosina, Stanley J. Taylor Jr., Darrell Tiller, Paul Webster, James Webber, Don Weston PHOTOGRAPHER Jeff Lewis COMMITTEE ON PUBLICATIONS Paul Brown, Chairman Malik Bullard, Tyler A. Clifford, Jaquon C. Heath, Christopher N. Hunte, Ed Marshall, Donald L. Ross, Victor K. Smith, Ozell Sutton, Steven Templin II, Rudolph Williams II 2014-2015 SUBMISSION DEADLINES (11:59 P.M. Eastern Time) Winter 2015: October 15, 2014 | Spring 2015: January 15, 2014 EDITORIAL OFFICES Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity 2313 St. Paul Street Baltimore, MD 212I8-5211 (410) 554-0040 www.apa1906.net ADVERTISING AND SALES firstname.lastname@example.org
ON T HE COVER Brother Jamelle Nelson
© 2014 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. | All Rights Reserved
[Alpha Delta, ‘05] delivers the perfect pose for the representation of the quintessential Alpha man. Photo by Jeff Lewis [Omicron Eta, ‘97]. jefflewisphotography.com
FROM THE GENERAL PRESIDENT
Take a Vacation, but Don’t Take Time Off As we rounded out the summer months, we should take note that while it was vacation season, we as Alpha men cannot take time off. I’m talking about time off from our mission. Just look at the world and all the issues we faced this summer: Conflict in the Middle East; Russia rising with imagery of the old USSR; a U.S. border crisis with thousands of people of color being detained and deported; deadly crime in our urban centers that people in Chicago know all too well; economic disparity among people who want a job but cannot find one; and police brutality that seems to never end. In late August, I represented Alpha Phi Alpha at the funeral of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Unarmed, he was shot and killed by a police officer and left to die in the street for hours in a St. Louis suburb. Mark S. Tillman General President Twitter: @alphainvest06
Alpha has made its statement about this episode. To ease their pain, the fraternity contacted a representative of the Brown family and offered to contribute to the cost of the funeral services so that the family can concentrate on healing. I am grateful for the work of General Counsel Wayne C. Harvey, who is a resident of St. Louis, and who represented the fraternity in this offer. We also are pleased to know that attorney Brother Daryl D. Parks, is representing the family, as he did the family of Trayvon Martin. I also contacted the leaders of our fellow fraternities: Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Iota Phi Theta, to convene a meeting and address how our organizations can respond. Collectively, our organizations represent over 600,000 men and approximately 3,000 chapters. It is my intent to work with my peers to develop a unified effort on this issue. Our communities are looking to all of us to help stabilize an unstable world. They are counting on us to step up and reinvest in our young people, and the neighborhoods from which they come. To do this is not easy. It never has been and it never will be. This is why we cannot take time off. I hope that each member of Alpha Phi Alpha will make a considerable effort to make things better for those we are privileged to serve. Brothers, you have tools in place, you have the skills, the ability; so as the commercial says: just do it. Now, even as we implore brothers to do the “work of Alpha” I do remain inspired knowing that many of you are taking our unique role in our society with all the seriousness required. As I travel the world, from visiting the White House to the Defense Department; to our brothers in Europe, Asia, and Africa; it’s really encouraging to see many Alpha men at the ready to respond—just as the world needs Alpha more than ever. Here’s hoping you had a summer vacation somewhere you enjoyed, and again, thanks for not taking time off.
4 4 SPHINX THE SPHINX
FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Land of the Free? In this issue, we address a number of the issues impacting black men, from socio-economic disparities to racial profiling. Joshua Dubois follows up his report on the fight for the black male; Joseph Reed helps us debunk myths about black men and Ivory Toldson explores eight lies about African-American men and academics and former prosecutor Darryl Parker provides us with an in-depth perspective on New York’s stop and frisk practices. Summer 2014 will be remembered mostly for the events that played out in a small, unknown suburb of St. Louis. Most of America, indeed the world, had never heard of Ferguson, Missouri, until a bright Saturday afternoon in August. It turned dim rather quickly when an unarmed 18-year-old named Michael Brown was shot multiple times and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. As bad as that act has turned out to be for the family and community, it also has reopened wounds of a sickness that have never been healed in America: the unequal and downright inhuman treatment of black people by some law-enforcement officers. If there is a silver lining to this nightmare of a storm, it is that Brown shooting has made Americans aware of another serious problem–the militarization of the local police departments. Local cop shops have beefed up with all the surplus equipment used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why does a small town, like Atlanta suburb Doraville, Ga., (population in 2010 census of 8,335) need a tank?
Rick Blalock Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
The show of force in Ferguson looked akin to men on the battlefield in Baghdad or Kandahar; a far cry from what we used to call “Officer Friendly.” What’s more it is clear local police do not have the adequate training that the national guard has in using this military-grade equipment. Add to the mix, that Ferguson–and so many towns like it–has a predominantly black population with a police force of 53 officers, of which only three are African American. That is a recipe for disaster, as witnessed after the violence erupted after Brown’s death. Peaceful protesters were shot with rubber bullets and tear gas by the Ferguson police in their military gear. These were the same peaceful protesters who were demanding that the thugs looting their local businesses be held accountable for the hijacking of the peaceful demonstrations. One demonstrator marched with holding a sign that summed up this rather perfectly; it read: “Go kill ISIS!!! And leave us alone.” The reference was to better use of this military equipment in the ongoing genocidal attacks on Christians and others by Islamic radical militants (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. It remains to be seen how America will respond. Unfortunately Michael Brown is but one of series of black men being wrongfully killed. Earlier this summer in New York, Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer put him in a chokehold for allegedly selling cigarettes without a license. Is this America? The Sphinx has been a part of raising issues like this since 1914. And in our 100th year of publication, as the nation’s second-oldest continuously published African-American periodical, we will continue to shine a light on places, faces and situations that dim or cast darkness on people’s right to live peacefully around the world and in “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” SUMMER 2014
SERVICE | ADVOCACY
Brother Joshua Smith Gives $1 Million to CSU
usinessman Joshua Smith [Delta Xi, ‘61]recently announced a $1 million gift to his alma mater, Central State University (CSU), in Wilberforce, Ohio. Brother Smith, a 1963 alumnus, presented a check for $100,000 in concert with the overall million-dollar pledge. The gift deepens a longstanding philanthropic relationship between Central State University and the Smith family. In 2007, he was inducted into the 1887 Legacy Society in recognition of a $250,000 insurance gift that was increased to $500,000 in 2013. That same year, he contributed $50,000 to WCSU-FM, the university’s radio station. “Thanks to the generosity of Joshua and Jackie Smith, the University will enhance its ongoing commitment to prepare innovative leaders for the future,” said Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, CSU president. “Jackie and I are pleased to continue our support of my beloved alma mater,” Smith said. “We look forward to empowering more students at Central State University to use their education to have a long-term positive impact on the world.”
Charles Whitehead, CSU Foundation president, called the gift magnificent. “It will not only support the university in a tangible way, the size of the gift will inspire other alumni to give back to their alma mater,” Whitehead said. Smith is a cum laude graduate of Central State and also attended graduate school at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, and Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. He is also a nationally renowned entrepreneur and lecturer who has been chairman and managing partner of The Coaching Group since 1998. In July 2008, Smith launched ‘Biz Talk With Josh,’ a radio talk show focusing on issues impacting entrepreneurs, small, minority and women-owned businesses. Smith made his fortune as founder, chairman and CEO of the MAXIMA Corporation, a 20-year-old consultancy that achieved a national reputation as one of the top African-American owned, and fastest-growing firms in the United States. President George H.W. Bush appointed him chairman of the U.S. Commission on Minority Business Development in 1989. He also was named by the president to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. S
Brother Joshua Smith and his wife Jackie (right) present $1 million check to Central State University President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond (left).
SERVICE | ADVOCACY
BY MILES CARY
My Real Duty Began After Iraq: A Letter From A Big Brother
fter returning from a deployment to Iraq with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, and receiving an honorable discharge with the rank of captain, I wanted to return home to West Va., and get involved in my community. I wanted to make a difference. I stopped in the local Big Brothers Big Sisters office and before I knew it, I was matched with a teen named Isaac. He was in need of a “Big Brother,” and I can say it has truly been a blessing for both of us.
initiated at Alpha Zeta Chapter at West Virginia State University in Institute, West Va., 20 years after my father joined Alpha at the very same chapter.
Although from a single-parent home, he was raised with love and discipline much to his mother's credit. She and I work as a team to make sure that he will reach his full potential. Isaac is a high school student with a 4.0 grade point average, and is a member of his school's football team. He has aspirations to become an attorney.
It has been my goal to expose Isaac to all that life has to offer. He has met our state’s U.S. senator, the governor and other important officials. We have collaborated on radio interviews, filmed commercials, and attended other major events. We also go to movies, and frequent his favorite burger joint, Five Guys. Young men like Isaac are the future of this fraternity and this country. It has been a pleasure being his Big Brother. So am I my brother's keeper? Yes, I am. And, my real duty began here, at home, after I returned from Iraq. S
My volunteering as his “Big” reminds me of why I took the steps to become an Alpha man back in 1998. I was
After four years of active duty, I am now practicing law and involved in numerous organizations that fight crime and promote education. In May, I was elected vice president of Big Brothers Big South Central, West Virginia.
From left: Brother Miles C. Cary II [Alpha Zeta, '98], vice president of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia board of directors, Brother Cary's "little," Isaac, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and Sarah Halstead, fellow board member, pose at the West Va, Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner.
THE BLACK MAN ISSUE BY JOSHUA S.D. HARRIS
Where Does the Black Man Stand in 2014 Next year it will have been 20 years ago that the Million Man March took place. It has been 50 years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act. Fifty-one years since the historic March on Washington. One hundred seven years since the founding of our beloved fraternity, and 151 years since the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863. As men of Alpha, cultural tastemakers, and positive change creators, we are intertwined to a constant state of introspective reflection and evaluation of the status quo. It is our responsibility to evaluate the current state of the black community and the black man in efforts to assess the progress or lack thereof.
“We should strive to be men, unafraid to take criticism—and in some cases risk our lives—in order to open doors for those who follow.” – W. Douglass Lyle [Xi, ‘97], Executive Director
In efforts to constantly move forward, we should evaluate and understand the strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement of the black man and of our communities. It is our mission to “develop leaders,” and this should not be limited to just leaders in Alpha or Alpha leaders. We must continue to have open and honest assessments about the state of the black man. Where does he stand on issues of education? Where does he stand on issues of politics? Where does he stand on issues of civil rights? Where does he stand on economic improvement? Where does he stand on issues that impact our communities and the world around us? This is our moment to reflect and begin to have these dialogues. “In 2014, where
does the black man stand?” is the question Alpha Phi Alpha looks to answer. As we look at issues like the Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown killings, the process of reflection and evaluation becomes imperative. If we wish to develop solutions to systematic issues that plague our communities, we must become proactive rather than reactive. Beginning to have these conversations with a focus on developing solutions is where Alpha is needed. Men of Alpha have been prominent advocates of solutions to issues that impact our communities. It is because of this that we must understand the current status of the black man and help to strengthen our communities by developing a plan of action to empower more black men worldwide who can help to lead our communities to a new era of greatness. This reflective dialogue is vital as Alpha continues to be focused on the future. Your ongoing feedback is essential to this conversation. Let the features in this magazine inspire you to make your own submissions and story suggestions as Alpha continues to advocate on behalf of our communities. #MissionFocused
Joshua S.D. Harris [Mu Chapter, ‘06] is a graduate of the Augsburg College, and the managing editor to The Sphinx magazine. Follow him on Twitter @RealJoshHarris. Do you have story ideas for The Sphinx? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEATURE | PART 2 OF A 4 PART SERIES
hy not fight for black men? The reasons are as complicated as the difficult history, and simple debates about government spending versus personal responsibility are woefully insufficient. But one of the key reasons has to do with our criminal justice system. And it points the way toward one of the key solutions—perhaps the single most important thing government can do to help win the fight for black men. No one has done more to shed light on this issue than Michelle Alexander. Alexander may be this century’s Harriet Beecher Stowe, the storied author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe was the author about whom President Abraham Lincoln remarked, “So you’re the little woman
who wrote the book that made this Great War?” Instead of making a war, Michelle Alexander wrote a book to end one. Alexander was a young civil rights attorney working for the American Civil Liberties Union of California and trying to find a model plaintiff for a civil rights case against the Oakland Police Department, which at the time was rife with corruption. One day, a 19-yearold black man walked into her office, and he looked like the perfect case to prove that the Oakland PD had gone bad. The man had been stopped and released dozens of times, for no reason at all. He had been forced to lie on the ground spread-eagle and been subjected to invasive searches, after which the police found nothing. And, important, he THE SPHINX
had taken meticulous notes of all this—every stop, every date, every badge number. “I was getting more and more excited, because I thought this was our plaintiff,” says Alexander. However, at the end of his presentation, the man shared one final fact: he had a felony record, having been busted for a drug offense years earlier and convicted as an adult. Alexander stopped him there. “I explained to him that I couldn’t take his case,” she told me. “It wouldn’t be fair to him or to us. With his felony record he’d have no credibility on the witness stand; he’d be cross-examined about his past.” Alexander realized that the “war on drugs” had created what she calls a “permanent undercaste” of men convicted of drug offenses. Alexander tried to explain to the young man that it wouldn’t work out, but he pushed back SUMMER 2014
in protest. He said that the conviction was for a minor offense, and that he’d just taken a plea deal to avoid more jail time. He said his past should have no bearing on the repeated abuse he had experienced. But Alexander didn’t budge, and eventually the young man had enough. Fighting back tears, he yelled at her, “You’re no better than anyone else! The minute I tell you I have a criminal record, you stop listening. I can’t get a job. I can’t feed my family. Where am I supposed to sleep? How long am I supposed to pay for my record?” The man stormed out in a huff, leaving Alexander stunned. At that point, something clicked with her, something that pulled together all of her prior experience in civil rights law and history. Alexander realized that, 11
As of 2004, more black men were denied the right to vote because of a criminal record than in 1870. not unlike the peonage system in the early 20th century, the “war on drugs” had created what she calls a “permanent under-caste” of men convicted of drug offenses. Men who, even after their release from incarceration for relatively minor crimes, would never again be able to navigate the world on equal footing with the rest of us. Men like the young man she met but could not serve. The full explanation of this permanent under-caste of black men and the devastation it has wrought is meticulously and powerfully delivered in The New Jim Crow—Alexander’s book about the war on drugs, which was on The New York Times bestseller list for nearly a year, and today can be found in the hands of decision makers across the country, from federal courtrooms to the halls of Congress. In the book, she describes the ramp-up of criminal-justice spending in the 1980s as the result of an intentional political strategy rather than a reasoned law enforcement response. The result has been the mass incarceration of African Americans, mostly men, with little connection to actual rates of crime. Alexander shows that there are more African Americans in the corrections system today—in prison or on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850. As of 2004, more black men were denied the right to vote because of a criminal record than in 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, giving blacks the right to vote. In the three decades since the war on drugs began, the U.S. prison population has exploded from 300,000 to more than two million people, giving the United States the highest incarceration rate in the world—higher than Russia, China, and 12
other regimes we consider repressive. A significant majority of black men in some urban areas are labeled felons for life; in and around Chicago, when you include prisoners, who number approaches 80 percent. But isn’t this just a function of more crime in black communities? Aren’t we arresting violent super-predators, the type we see on television? Alexander makes clear: in most communities, the answer is no. “It has nothing to do with crime rates,” says Alexander. “Crime rates have fluctuated over time—we’re currently at historic lows—but incarceration rates have consistently soared.” People of color are arrested in large numbers for relatively minor offenses—four out of five drug arrests in 2005, were for possession, not sales—and then given sentences that outpace their white counterparts. In fact, in the 1990s, when the war on drugs was at its peak, almost 80 percent of the increase in drug arrests was for possession of marijuana. The result of all of this is the “under-caste,” an apt if cringe-worthy term describing the massive numbers of black men who cannot access housing, who are screened out of employment, and who in many states are denied the right to vote. Facing severely limited options and few opportunities for rehabilitation, millions of these men re-offend, creating more victims in our communities and landing themselves back in jail. These men are increasingly isolated from the rest of America—including from middle-class African Americans. As the Rev. Al Sharpton, the nationally known civil rights activist and founder of the National Action Network, said: “We’re in the best of times and worst of times, at the same time.” “It’s the best-time times, because we have a black president, black attorney general, black CEOs. But it’s the worst of times because millions of African-American men are being locked up and left out like never before,” says Sharpton. THE SPHINX
Ben Jealous, former president of the NAACP, agrees. He says that “black men are the most incarcerated people on the planet … warehoused in prison for nonviolent crimes that two decades ago would have resulted in little to no jail time.” But Jealous is also hopeful. The NAACP is going state by state, attaching practical solutions to Alexander’s thesis. And because of strained prison budgets and concern about bloated government, they are finding receptive audiences not just among liberals but among conservatives too. For example, they are presently working with Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia, a Republican, to, in Jealous’s words, “make their prison system dramatically smaller.” “Our allies on the right are beginning to think about criminal-justice reform,” Jealous says. “They are finally getting beyond ‘tough on crime’ slogans, and actually focusing on what works.” In fact, bipartisan efforts on criminal-justice reform are growing. On the Democratic side, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has confronted the issue head on, spearheading an initiative to tackle youth violence and create new reentry programs for returning offenders, while working with Congress to reduce racial disparities in sentencing. He’s been joined on the right by Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, who has taken a particular interest in “smart on crime” approaches, driven by his relationship with Prison Fellowship, an evangelical Christian organization that believes in giving second chances to people who’ve been incarcerated. Meanwhile, from the halls of Congress to statehouses across the country, people are reading Michelle Alexander’s book. On a recent afternoon, I drove to the office of Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, sitting for an hour with this stalwart of the Congressional Black Caucus. His experience on the issue of black men in America spans from a stint in the Black Panther Party to Christian pulpits to losing his own son to gun violence. Rush recently SUMMER 2014
had a spat with a fellow Illinoisan, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who made headlines recommending that Chicago spend $30 million more to lock up young gang members. “I sent him a copy of The New Jim Crow,” Rush says. “He promised me that he would read it.” If Michelle Alexander is worried about black men’s criminal records, John Hope Bryant is concerned with their wallets. Bryant is a nationally acclaimed entrepreneur who promotes financial literacy. “I believe that 99 percent of black leaders are digging in the wrong hole,” Bryant says. “If you’re poor, your healthcare’s going to suck, your housing is going to suck, your infrastructure is going to suck … if you’re poor, everything sucks.” Bryant speaks like Martin Luther King Jr. on an auctioneer’s stand—a frenetic ball of energy and ideas, seamlessly mixing civil rights maxims with financial advice at 100 miles an hour. He started his first business in Compton, Calif., at the age of 10, when the corner store in his neighborhood stopped selling the type of candy kids wanted. He opened up his own store in his mother’s living room, and in three months was so successful that, in his words, “I put the corner store out of business.” Since then, Bryant has been convinced that the way out for black men is through a burgeoning bank account, not a social service program. “The whole world pivots on economic issues. If you don’t solve that, you can’t solve anything else,” Bryant says. “But if you do solve that, you have a chance at solving everything else.” S
Joshua DuBois [Eta Lambda, ‘11], author of The President’s Devotional, is former executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaDuBois 13
If one were to Google the phrase “black male” and click on the news link at this very moment, it would be difficult to find anything positive. It seems as if there is not a day that goes by without a news story highlighting the failure of black men. It is true that black men suffer from social, economic and health disparities at a higher rate than most any other group in the country, but many of the other “facts” about black males that are commonly accepted as truths are misconceptions, exaggerations or fallacies. Alpha men like to present information in sevens, so I have compiled a list of seven black male myths to debunk: 1. College enrollment One of the most pervasive myths about African-American males is that they do not enroll in college. This myth could not be further from the truth. While reviewing college enrollment data, Brother Ivory Toldson, a professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C., found that between 2001 and 2011, there was a significant increase in college 14
RE PH SE JO BY
ABOUT BLACK MEN
enrollment among black men. The enrollment increased from roughly 700,000 in 2001 to more than 1.4 million in 2011. 2. More black men in prison than college It is a sad and unfortunate reality that black men are the majority of America’s prison population despite being roughly only six percent of the total population of the United States. If you look at the incarceration rate of black men and the relatively low number of black men in the country it is easy to believe that there are more black men in prison than in college. However, that is not the case. There are nearly 600,000 more black men in college than there are in prisons, according to Toldson’s research, and the gap is continuing to increase. 3. College athlete graduation rates A primary stereotype about black people, especially black men, is that they are superior athletes. Due to this stereotype, there is also a popular belief that black male college athletes graduate at higher rates than their non-athletic black peers. The Chronicle of High Education (“Black Men as College Athletes: The Real Win-Loss Record”) found this view to be erroneous. The Chronicle found that only “50 percent of black male athletes graduate within six years from colleges compared with THE SPHINX
67 percent of athletes over all, 73 percent of undergraduates, and 56 percent of black undergraduate men.”
Rates of robbery and property crime have also dropped among black youth to the lowest level in more than 40 years.
4. Black fatherhood Probably the most prevalent stereotype of black men, in both the media and within the black community itself, is the failure of black men as fathers. Though it is unfortunately true that 72 percent of African-American children are born out of wedlock, it was found in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that black fathers are actually more involved with their kids on a daily basis than fathers from other racial groups.
6. Drug selling and use If you look at any documentary about drugs, you would assume, with good reason, that the majority of black men in America either sell or use drugs. But, when you look at the data, it simply is not true.
The Pew Research Center, which has tracked this data for many years, acknowledges the fact that black fathers are more likely to live separately from their children than any other race, which is used as evidence to prove that there is a “parenting crisis” within the black community. The evidence, however, shows that despite this fact, black men remain just as involved in their children’s lives as any other race. The myth of the absent black father was dismantled further by a report from Pew that found that 67 percent of black fathers who don’t live with their kids see them at least once a month, compared to 59 percent of white fathers and just 32 percent of Hispanic fathers. 5. Black-on-black crime One would believe from the media coverage of the gang violence in Chicago that blackon-black crime is at an all-time high, when in reality it is the opposite. The black-on-black murder rate has actually decreased by 67 percent in the last 20 years, which is a sharper rate of decrease than the white-on-white murder rate. According to statistics compiled by the FBI, 7,361 black people were murdered by other African Americans in 1991, but by 2011, that number had dropped to 2,447.
In a report by Human Rights Watch, it was found that people of color are not any more likely to use or sell drugs than white people. In fact, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that white youths apparently are more likely to sell drugs than black youths. The report found that 17 percent of whites reported selling drugs by age 17, compared to 13 percent of blacks. White Americans are five times as likely than black Americans to have used most kinds of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and LSD, yet blacks are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites. 7. Black-on-white violent crime One of the most troubling stereotypes that black men have to face in America is the fear that they will commit a violent crime against white Americans. Despite fear and commonly accepted belief, this fear is unfounded. Researchers at the Bureau of Justice Statistics found, in their most recent edition of Homicide Trends in the United States, that the likelihood of a stranger committing a homicide on a white American is higher for white-onwhite crime than it is for black-on-black.
Joseph Reed [Iota Upsilon Lambda, ‘06] is a policy analyst for the NAACP. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer and should not be attributed to the policies and perspective of the NAACP.
EIGHT LIES ABOUT BLACK MALES AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS BY IVORY A. TOLDSON
All too often, most data about AfricanAmerican men and their educational experiences paints a bleak picture. This image is reinforced by the language used by too many people in assessing living conditions of black males in urban areas: phrases like “crimeridden,” “broken homes” and “drug-infested.”
Black youth of today are more violent than any generation in history. Today’s surveys and studies show the rate of violence among black youth is slightly less than it was before 1980 and less than half the rate that it was in the 1990s.
In order to promote their academic success and well-being, there is a need to delve deeper into the data. We need to understand how young black males—the so-called “endangered species” are surviving, thriving and demonstrating a level of resilience belied by popular statistics. For example, here are eight lies told about black males:
One third of black boys will serve time in prison. One in three black men will go to prison because a Justice Department report from two statisticians said they will. That report, issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 1997, was referring to black males born in 2001. At the time, they were two years old; the boys are 13 now. So far, they are a long way from the “super predators” they had been forecasted to be.
Black boys can’t read. Before blindly accepting reports that less than a fifth of black boys (and less than half of white boys) can read, check out the reports from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.
Black boys are at a natural disadvantage because most are from single-parent households. As a single variable, household composition carries little weight and appears to serve as a proxy for more serious issues, such as teenage pregnancy and incarcerated parents. Myriad co-variants, such as parents’ education and parent practices, nullify the effects of household composition on academic THE SPHINX
We need to understand how young black males... are surviving, thriving and demonstrating a level of resilience belied by popular statistics.
progress. In a superficial view of the numbers, black children from two-parent households have academic advantages over black children from single-parent homes. For example, the National Household Education SurveysParent and Family Involvement Survey found that black students from two-parent homes reported an average grade-point average of 3.1, those from mother-only homes reported a 3.0, father-only homes reported a 2.9 and no-parent homes reported a 2.7. Black students purposefully underachieve because they associate being smart with acting white. Consistent across decades of survey research, black students demonstrate more positive attitudes about education than their white student peers. Research by the University of North Carolina debunks this theory in Roslyn Arlin Mickelson’s report: The Attitude-Achievement Paradox among Black Adolescents. Black males are avoiding the teaching profession. Recently I conducted an analysis of the top 10 occupations among black and white males who have at least a bachelor’s degree and found that primary school teacher is the number one profession of collegeeducated black men and number three for white men. Secondary school teacher is number five for black men and number 14 for white men. Educational administrator is number six for black men and number 20 for white men, and counselor is number seven for black men and number 40 for white men.
is debunked after computing the numbers, using the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), which consists of 66 high-precision samples of the U.S. population drawn from 16 federal censuses, and the American Community Surveys (ACS) of 2000-2010. The revelation? The nation’s 12.7 million black men who are 18 and older make up 5.5 percent of the adult population, and 1.2 million black male college students make up 5.5 percent of all college students. By contrast, white males are 32.7 percent of the adult population and 27 percent of college students. Black men are a “dying breed.” According to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Census, since 1980, there has been a 19.9 percent increase in the total number of black men age 15 to 25 in the U.S. population. By contrast, there has been a 22.5 percent decrease in the total number of white men age 15 to 25 in the U.S. population. This list is not to suggest that problems don’t exist in the black community. However, the problems have everything to do with system inequities, not cultural pathology. We need to understand the true nature of the issues before we can begin to resolve them. In other words, “don’t cut off my foot, if my problem is a hole in the bottom of my shoe.”
Ivory A. Toldson [Nu Psi ’92], graduated from Louisiana State University and earned his Doctor of Philosophy Degree at Temple
Black men are underrepresented in institutions of higher education. This lie SUMMER 2014
University. He is a professor at Howard University. Follow him on Twitter @toldson. 17
LEADERSHIP | POLITICS | SOCIAL JUSTICE
Alpha brothers at the Florida State Capitol.
BROTHERS MAKE VOICES HEARD AT FLORIDA CAPITOL Gathering under the auspices of “Fighting on Ice to Provide a Voice to the Voiceless,” brothers from around Florida recently illustrated Alpha’s willingness and ability to affect systematic and real change with a visit to the state capitol in March in Tallahassee. Members of the Florida Federation of Alpha Chapters along with brothers from across the Southern Region ascended on the Florida statehouse, for the fourth year, to address key issues, including: Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, the school-to-prison pipeline, quality healthcare for all Floridians, equitable and quality education, citizenship rights for immigrants, access to the ballot box, voter suppression, political action to challenge candidates to respond to these issues.
Florida District Director Matthew Bradford [Alpha Epsilon Lambda, ‘96] speaks during the visit to the Florida State Capitol.
LEADERSHIP | POLITICS | SOCIAL JUSTICE
BY DARRYL PARKER
Walking While Black
Why Stop and Frisk Should Be Stopped
he first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known more commonly as the Bill of Rights, were written because antifederalists feared an American monarchy from potential abuses of power from the central government. At the time, the Constitution had not been ratified because of misgivings, including lacking explicit guarantees. These guarantees or freedoms are what we celebrate in many popular phrases such as “my country tis of there, sweet land of liberty.” Or even, “I’m proud to be an American, for at least I know I am free.” Freedoms of speech, press, religion, along with the right to bear arms, a jury trial, due process are marveled in America and have led to the country’s stability, peaceful transfer of power and unmatched respect and stature around that world. The fourth amendment in the Bill of Rights is protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. In Floyd v. City of New York, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin struck down the New York Police Department’s 10-year policy of stop and frisk. It is the practice of stopping pedestrians and searching primarily for weapons and contraband. Judge Scheindlin’s decision opined that the NYPD policy is unconstitutional by violating the fourth amendment. The ruling called for independent oversight of the program along with requirement for police to develop written policy describing when a stop is warranted.
at best, leaving many unconvinced of its purpose of effectiveness. The practice also exacerbates the general fractured relationship with communities of color and the NYPD. Proponents of stop and risk cite that crime rates in New York have been steadily declining. The justification from the program regardless of the statistical ineffectiveness of the program in recovering dangerous weapons is that the policy keeps New York safe. Critics of stop and frisk argue racial bias against people of color and the Latino community, its ineffectiveness, and the rift that it causes in the relationship between affected communities and police. There is no dispute that all parties want safe communities. If it reasonable to stop pedestrians with purely subjective levels of probable cause and search for weapons, the practice would be consistent with the fears anti-federalists had more than 200 years ago regarding the potential abusive power of the federal government. Since 88 percent of the stops have not resulted in any arrest or ticketing, living with crime is perhaps more American than living where police can violate your rights in hopes of finding contraband. New York is America’s largest city and the country looks to it for leadership in setting the tone about how we live; how we govern; how we protect and serve. Now is the time for all of us to seriously look at what kind of city we want New York to be, and what kind of America we want to call our home.
The city, under former New York Independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, appealed and Scheindlin’s ruling was overturned. A new Democrat mayor, Bill de Blasio, has since taken office and has followed through on a promise to end stop and frisk: he abandoned the Bloomberg administration’s fight and appointed the NYPD’s first inspector general.
Francis Scott Key wrote so eloquently in our national anthem that we are the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” You cannot have one without the other. For thousands of African Americans and Latinos, the stop and frisk program strips away the “free” in that phrase. S
The heightened tension and controversy of the practice was that a majority of the stops involve black people and Latinos. The stop and frisk program’s recovery rate of any guns has been questionable
Darryl Parker [Eta Sigma Lambda, ‘81] is a former prosecutor who worked in the Bronx District Attorney’s office. He now practices law in the private sector in New York.
LEADERSHIP | POLITICS | SOCIAL JUSTICE
BY AHMAD ABUZNAID
Standing Your Ground: An Islamic Perspective
s a young, 29-year-old, Palestinian-American man, I am extremely worried about the proliferation of Stand Your Ground laws and the ease with which they have been adapted, and even expanded. I am so worried that I recently traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, with a coalition of like-minded partners to present our concerns about the effects of Stand Your Ground policies to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
We highlighted several of the stories that have become a part of all of our lives, including Trayvon Martin; Jordan Davis, 17, killed during a dispute over his loud music at a Florida convenience store; and Renisha McBride, the Detroit teen shot by a white man from behind his locked screen door last year. Unfortunately, they are not the only human beings who have been taken from us, or lost their liberty, due to Stand Your Ground laws.
International bodies such as the U.N. Human Rights Committee were created to bring broad, global attention to injustice. Late last year, U.N. experts called
To be clear, Stand Your Ground policies effectively give state-sanction to those gun owners who are inclined to view certain human beings as targets, threats, and dare I say “enemy combatants.” The cases referred to above were animated by a very real “Us vs. Them” dynamic and ended in utter tragedy. People committed to peace or at least no plans to engage in violence were pitted against those committed to violence then armed with weapons, the legal protection provided by Stand Your Ground laws and the confusion they seem to create for juries.
Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and others were able to utilize Islam in the Civil Rights Movement to push forward the issues plaguing black America at the time. on our federal government to complete its investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black teen whose death brought Stand Your Ground policies to the world’s attention. But with global injustice on the agenda, there must also be practical rules and limits. For instance, our entire group had just two minutes to discuss Stand Your Ground laws, police brutality, and the inherent racism which drive both. Still, those two minutes contained truth, power, justice, and love. The shadow report that our group developed and presented to the committee laid out the ongoing assault on people of color and women, complete with statistics and stories of real tragedies that have occurred because of Stand Your Ground policies. 20
As a young man born in East Jerusalem who has lived in the West Bank and South Florida, I know violence, I have been afraid of violence, and I certainly know what it’s like for that violence to be tied to racial-ethnic differences, ignorance, and outright racism. However, here in the United States, most Muslim and Arab communities still have not joined the forefront of the fight against Stand Your Ground. No disrespect meant to those championing other causes within the Islamic community, however, I think Muslims have to break barriers on this issue too. We have to get involved in more than just stopping the “anti-sharia” legislation popping up around the country. We must be assertive and vigilant in making this country better for all, including us. Muslims have been revolutionaries everywhere—even here in the United States of America. Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and others were able to utilize Islam in the Civil Rights Movement to push forward the issues plaguing black America at the time. Many boxing historians acknowledge that Ali was not known as the “Greatest” just because of his boxing prowess. He earned that moniker because of THE SPHINX
LEADERSHIP | POLITICS | SOCIAL JUSTICE
Brother Ahmad Abuznaid, of the Dream Defenders, speaks during a press conference at the Florida State Capitol.
the man he was—and still is today—outside of the ring; the things he stood for and the things for which he continues to stand.
and blasting Mohammed Assaf’s latest hit, or a group of Muslims heading to the mosque, who happen to use the phrase “Allahu-akbar” (“God is greater”).
While Muslim communities often lag behind in overall civic engagement, we are certainly at risk of falling victim to the many injustices that plague the country. In a society with growing levels of Islamophobia, and decades of anti-Arab/Muslim rhetoric and images in the media/entertainment industry, Muslims have become a “suspect group.” Even people perceived to be a part of the Islamic community have experienced discrimination, abuse, violent and deadly attacks, spying, entrapment, deportations, and arrests.
So, as I returned from Geneva, I wondered: where are the Muslim and Arab communities on these issues? How long will we remain silent and allow others to decide our fates?
After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, I was immediately the subject of jokes regarding Arabs and Muslims. Statements such as “Your cousins went crazy” and “Don’t mess with those Arabs” were thrown around often. The real danger of the thinking behind those jokes have become more apparent in the years since the 9/11 tragedy.
The dream, so eloquently described by a man who drew the world’s attention to 20th-century injustices, Martin Luther King Jr., belongs to Muslims, too. The dream belongs to Arabs, and any other people who have been marginalized.
Today, Stand Your Ground policies make me fear that the next time a bigot with a hot temper is at a gas station, or patrolling “his” neighborhood, the victims could be a group of young Arab kids wearing keffiyehs SUMMER 2014
The Dream Defenders and other groups are on the ground in the state of Florida, organizing and educating people about the injustices that Stand Your Ground laws facilitate. There is space in this movement for those who are fighting Islamophobia.
We, too, must be the power behind social change. S
Ahmad Abuznaid [Iota Delta, ‘03] is legal and policy director of The Dream Defenders. Follow him on Twitter @diplomatesq. 21
LEADERSHIP | POLITICS | SOCIAL JUSTICE
BY AJANI HUSBANDS
The Bullet Next Time: An Open Letter to My Unborn Son
hen confronted by an armed individual, assume that this person is the police. As such, begin by placing your hands behind your head, fingers interlaced. This will assure that in the eventuality that you are shot and executed, there will be minimum opportunity for analysts and pundits to later ponder if you were the aggressor. Keeping your fingers behind your head is key, as it prevents your fingerprints from ending
somehow, in some way, you did something wrong. That perhaps there was something different you could have, or should have done. Perhaps you should have worn something different or walked in a less suspicious manner. I assure you, my son, this is not the case. Regardless of your actions, you were not meant to survive. All you can hope for is an easier postmortem investigation. This will be of some comfort to your mother and I as we cope through your loss, and so I ask you to follow these directions carefully. Be clear and concise in your cries for help. This will not in any way add to the chance that you will survive the encounter. Instead, it serves to ensure that bystanders and anyone recording just the audio of the encounter will have a clearer depiction of what is happening. Phrases such as “help me!” are not enough. You must be clear. “Please do not shoot me! I am just a kid!” will alert others to the fact that it is you that is about to be shot, rather than your assailant. “I do NOT have a weapon! Please don’t shoot me!” further emphasizes that you are unarmed (for after your death, no one is ever certain).
up on your assailant or his weapon. If at all possible, turn your back on the person (whom we will assume always to be the police). In this manner, you will be shot in the back, another telltale sign that you were the victim. You will not survive your encounter, so it is important to remember to show investigators, the courts, and critics alike that you were in fact the victim. This will be difficult as the assumption is ever-present that 22
You may be tempted to avoid such circumstance through excessive precaution. Know that this is futile. You might choose to avoid visiting public spaces such as parks and recreational facilities to minimize your encounters with police. This automatically makes you a suspect, for the one time you do happen across a public space, you will be the unknown, an unfamiliar black male, and a target for execution. You might also avoid after-school activities, and commute to and from school only with large numbers of people. This too is pointless, for they will come to your school and they will place guns at your temple, under the direction of your principal. Success THE SPHINX
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will not be your shield, as your accomplishments hide not your race. Even with a college education, you will be subject to unreasonable circumstances, and will likely be killed. Most of all, you may try to avoid driving, for this is where you will most likely be stopped, and possibly killed. This may offer some limited comfort. In my teen years, by not having a car I avoided many of the humiliations endured by my cousins and friends. One of my cousins, a doctor whose father is a diplomat, can tell you of the time he was told to get out of his father’s vehicle (which bore a diplomatic license plate) and lie face down, spread eagle on the side of the highway. He was on his way home from a residency interview. The same police officers came to the other side of the van and asked his white brother-in-law if everything was okay. Know that we have already tried to take these precautions for you. We agonized daily over what neighborhood to raise you in and what schools you should attend. We thought about being actively involved in your afterschool activities and your PTA. In the end, we realized none of it mattered. Your greatest achievements will be fluff for your eulogy. My son, you will die. You will perish at the hands of those who fear you. Your death will be likened to a hunting accident. The best you can hope for is that it is not your body that dies, only your spirit, as has been the case with me, your father. When you are older, you will know that you were never meant to be a man. Your very existence, your lifespan and quality of life, are indeed not determined by a heavenly Father, but by the complex societal trappings that deem you, somehow, to be faulty, potentially dangerous, and illequipped to exist on equal footing. My son, how could you ever be a man? My prayer for you is that you will grow to adulthood and you will have a family of your own, but know that even in adulthood (should you ever make it there) manhood is a plateau upon which you will never stand. A man holds at least some sway over his fate, for this is God-given. A man is free to protect his person and his loved ones, for this is just. Most of all, a man is granted autonomy. My son, in this country you were never meant to be a man. From the moment SUMMER 2014
you adjust your behavior to avoid being perceived as a threat (walking with extra precision in a white neighborhood or carefully avoiding walking too close to a white person), you have been stripped of the opportunity to define your own existence, of the opportunity to be a man. You will read that slaves sometimes spared their children from the cruelty of their condition by ending the child’s life. It is out of my own vanity that your mother and I could not do this. I need your inevitable suffering to be witnessed by many. I need you to feel the confusion and helplessness I felt everyday growing up, and continue to feel now. At times, I truly felt I was going mad witnessing the consistent assault against and eradication of us. I need you to experience this abomination so that I know I am not riddled with insanity, but that in fact what I have seen over so many years, the clear and concentrated intent to eradicate masculinity from Black males, is real. Perhaps it is merely for selfish reasons that I hoped to have a son, so that I might observe firsthand what has been weighed upon me all these years. For my vanity, for my selfishness, I apologize. You will needlessly suffer in this world for no other reason than you were brought into it by a Black mother and father. All I can leave you with is what Rudyard Kipling wrote to his unborn son: “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. Yours is the earth and all that’s in it, and what’s more you’ll be a man my son” His words are inspiring, but the expanse of their promise is not meant for you. My words to you are much simpler, more appropriate for your lot in life: Live with humility that you may die with grace, for this is all we have been allowed on this earth, in this country. S
Ajani Husbands [Nu Sigma, ‘03] is a writer, traveler and avid comic-book reader. This opinion article was originally published on UrbanCusp.com, and the views expressed here are his alone. Follow him on Twitter @DreadlockDipset and on his blog at sakpasediplomacy.wordpress.com.
ARTS | SPORTS | ENTERTAINMENT
BY TY SOSINA
Getting to Know Ihenacho: Life in the NFL Being a member of a nine billion dollar industry like the NFL has its share of ups and downs. We sat down with Brother Duke Ihenacho, who knows this all too well. He was cut by the Denver Broncos in August and picked up by Washington a week before the 2014 season began.
n April, the national spotlight was on Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling. Sterling was recorded saying racist comments regarding African Americans and Latinos. The conversations where held in private but backlash soon followed taking into account the Clippers’ fan base, head coach and players—a majority of whom are black. Granted, as a people, African Americans have made steps in the right direction. Some say that Sterling’s comments served a reminder that America still has people of influence who are fine with diversity as long as some people are kept “in their place.” From Fritz Pollard to Jesse Owens to Jackie Robinson, athletes have been an integral part of America’s long struggle for progress. Although athletes used to speak out on these injustices, or support organizations fought for progress, Washington safety Duke Ihenacho says things are a little different today. “I think the difference between athletes back then and athletes now is that athletes back in the day had less freedom to express themselves. There are 24
more outlets now to express ourselves with social media and everything goes viral,” said Ihenacho. In March of 2012, the Miami Heat donned hoodies in support of, at the time, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla. The photo was tweeted by LeBron James. Actions like these make one wonder why athletes don’t use their platforms and voice or take stands. It never stopped the great Muhammad Ali, who was stripped of his heavyweight title in 1967. Ali firmly followed his personal and religious beliefs rather than take part in the “White Man’s War” as he so famously phrased the Vietnam War. Ihenacho says the tides have changed. “That’s why you got guys getting fat fines now for saying something that’s probably true but probably doesn’t represent the organization the way they want us to represent the organization,” said Ihenacho. In response to Sterling’s comments, the Clippers threw their warm-ups down at center court and wore their practice jerseys inside out prior to a playoff game in silent protest. The Heat followed suit in solidarity. “I think that’s all good and we can all do that to a certain extent. It’s a sensitive issue,” Ihenacho said. “Today it’s like, I gotta get mine. If it’s not affecting me personally, I’m not going to sit out at games because I need to feed my family or I need this check.” That was the public outcry from fans and writers alike: a boycott by the Clippers players. In 1964, players were ready to strike right before the NBA’s first televised all-star game in order to be recognized as a union. They succeeded. “I’d be lying if I said I’d be willing to drop everything I’m doing right now and strike so I could make a point,” Ihenacho reluctantly said. “I don’t think I’m willing to give that up.” He also shed light on the fact that even if players did strike, ‘next man up’ transcends the practice squad. THE SPHINX
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Second and third stringers patiently and hungrily await their chance to show what they have on the field in the same manner a million other men would do. Long story short, players are in constant fear of being replaced by backups, leading fans to wonder why more players don’t stand up when issues of social importance come to the forefront of professional athletics. “It’s just easier to point fingers at who the camera is on, and I think that’s unfair,” said Ihenacho.
It’s now the norm to see these professionals shed their bravado image and don pink everything in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The leagues’ Crucial Catch campaign has spread all the way down to the Pop Warner level, raising money for research while lending an assist to early detection. Who could forget the $1 million that Oklahoma Thunder basketball star Kevin Durant donated last May to assist after an EF5 tornado swept through the state. His donation was matched by the Thunder and Nike.
From the outside looking in, we see the inflated contracts, the signing bonuses, the flash. What we don’t see is the majority. There are more than 1,700 players in the National Football League alone including practice squad members, rookies, veterans and surefire hall-of-famers like Champ Bailey. Bailey played for the New Orleans Saints, but was released in August. He taught Ihenacho the most important technique.
We all watch the news. It relays a picture of the farfrom-perfect world we live in. In the case of athletes, Ihenacho says top stories are dominated by drugs, possession and alcohol.
“He’s got all these accolades you know? Double digit pro bowls, he’s made millions of dollars, gets respect from everybody and he’s humble. You never know that because he never speaks about it,” said Ihenacho.
When you’re elevated to a certain stature, the bad paragraphs in one’s biography are pushed to the prologue. We may not remember the humble philanthropy because its easier to recall who brought a loaded firearm into a nightclub. These stories become oversaturated with negative stigmas, which Ihenacho says is simply not the case.
“Most athletes are not out there in the media saying, ‘Look at me, I’ve got charities. Look at me, I’ve got foundations,’ and you’re not going to hear about it.” Most athletes don’t sign three-year extensions on “The View.” Chicago Bears’ receiver Brandon Marshall signed said extension in May for a noble cause. His motive was to publicly pledge $1 million to the mental health community—a notion many would consider a noble and even manly deed. “I’m going to get fined and I’m going to match that, and we want to partner with a cancer-care (charity),” Marshall said prior to the game. You know all that pink we see NFL players wearing in October? Many are unaware that its inception in 2009, was due to a whim by Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams. Williams’ mother, Sandra Hall, had been battling breast cancer since her diagnosis five years prior. Williams simply wanted to support and spread awareness by wearing pink cleats. SUMMER 2014
“It’s like this world just thrives off things that are negative and it’s like the things that we do that are positive are not important,” he said.
“There are a lot of people doing great things in the community you know? There are great fathers and great sons and great husbands in this league that I think a lot of people could look at and learn from.” S 25
ARTS | SPORTS | ENTERTAINMENT
BY TY SOSINA
Alpha athlete makes difference in Middle East Former NFL player, Brother LeMarcus Newman [Kappa Phi Lambda, ‘08], now an international human resources supervisor with the U.S. State Dept., in Doha, Qatar, is putting his athletic ability to work for a good cause—coaching kids and inspiring young people to compete. Last summer, Newman sought to bring American football to the Middle East. To achieve this goal, he
developed a partnership with the National Football League and Aspire Zone Foundation. The Aspire Zone Foundation is a Doha-based organization that develops and promotes sports to galvanize the country’s sports economy. “As a former NFL player and member of the NFL alumni I felt like I had to do something for the kids and give back and mentor young men,” says Newman. It’s not Newman’s first time coaching. He was a coach at Hightower High School in Missouri City, Texas. In February, Brother Newman succeeded in bringing teams together to play American flag football for the first time. Teens aged 13 to 19 participated in an exhibition game at Aspire Park. “One thing is clear about football and sports,” says Newman. “Sports help bridge cultural gaps. It is a cross-cultural builder. You learn a lot about yourself and about others, but you also learn to put aside your differences to work towards one common goal and that’s winning.” S
Above: Brother Newman stands by the poster he uses to recruit young men to play football in Doha, Qatar. Below: Young men are dressed and ready to play flag football.
Ty Sosina [MU. ‘09] is a sports enthusiast, freelance journalist and host of ‘Phirst Contention,’ an online sports show. Follow him on Twitter @ShaiGuy312.
ARTS | SPORTS | ENTERTAINMENT
BRISTOW’S PASSION FOR ACTING A full-time student, an employee for two companies, and an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha, all while pursuing his acting career, makes Brother Vonii Bristow [Beta Iota, ’13] a busy man. Bristow is currently a senior at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. He began acting just a few years ago and has been on a mission ever since. The National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts awarded him the “All-Star Cast Member Award” for his role in the play ‘Never Been Home.’ Bristow has been on the move, working with names like Russ Parr, David Banner, Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Burgess Jenkins and star Brother Omari Hardwick [Zeta Pi, ‘96]. Bristow has been featured in film, on television shows, in theatre performances and in commercials such as TVOne’s ‘A Christmas Blessing,’ MTV’s ‘Finding Carter,’ BET’s ‘Frat Brothers’ and NBA’s Game Time app commercial that was aired during the NBA finals. “Acting is my passion. I find comfort and am able to express my creative ability while entertaining others,” says Bristow. “Acting and living within a scene provides me with a sense of fulfillment.” S
BROOKS MAKING MOVES IN THE ARTS Geno Brooks [Xi, ‘99] is a rising writer, director and producer. He was born on the south side of Chicago, and attended Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Brooks, now a resident in Los Angeles, is a volunteer for the Young Writers Program there. It encourages young minds between the ages of eight and 17 to explore and expand their creative talents as writers. When not pursuing his creative career, Brother Brooks works as a social worker in L.A.’s South Central neighborhood. Currently working on designing his own creative program for youth, Brooks hopes to teach children how to write scripts, shoot, edit and market films on their own. Through G’Media Productions, Brooks has written, directed, and produced the award-winning web series ‘The Therapist.’ His projects explore relationships, therapy, crime, and culture. A member of the Writers Guild of America, Brooks currently writes for the web series ‘Freefall, The trouble With Going Somewhere’ and he has served executive producer of the Greek series, ‘Black Boots.’ S
LIFESTYLE | EDUCATION | WELLNESS
BY JOSHUA ADAMS
Being Black on a PWI* Campus Dubois at a White Frat Party
“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” - W.E.B. Du Bois - “Souls of Black Folk”
t is my first year in college, and some friends and I went to a frat party. It was a big deal in a couple ways; my very first frat party and the first one at which a majority of the people were not black. You see, I grew up on the south and west sides of Chicago, the quintessence of segregation in the midst of diversity. The white-party scene was foreign to me. We get to the lawn of the large fraternity house, where a couple of its brothers are checking student IDs. I’m skeptical; will they let me in or assume I do not belong. But the three friends I came with are women, and they assure me that as long as we stay in a group, I would get in. Frat brothers seem to like a high women-to-men ratio, so I should be good. The guy checking IDs lets all of us in, but before we walk through the door, another one puts his hand on my chest, asking “Are you with them?” I brush it away defensively, replying “Yeah man” with a laugh. Not that anything was funny, but more of a don’t-ever-touchme-again chuckle. He replied “Alright man, chill out. Just checking”. We exchanged passive-aggressive comments, and moved on. Inside, the place is packed. After we survey the scene, the usual party-goer formalities ensue: hugs and daps to friends, searching for drinks to “get right” before dancing the night away. The beer is in the basement, so we weave our way through the crowd. I don’t drink much at all, and to me beer has a nasty taste. But since my friends wanted some, I went along with them. In the basement we find people socializing, single
and double cupped, guys checking out the girls, girls checking out guys. There were wide-eyed freshmen with cheesy smiles, and a whole lot of drunk, ridiculously off-beat dancing. People kept bumping into me, stepping on my shoes, already submerged in a layer of beer on the floor from people spilling it. My friends were dancing in a tight-knit circle, and I was kind of dancing, at least enough to fit in, but I was really waiting for the right song. The playlist was very poppy, and most pop music is so cookie cutter to me; tweaked copies with similar words, chords, and teenage dream themes. I was waiting for them to play some mainstream rap, so I could start dancing and be less self-aware. But isn’t that weird? I’m sure if someone is observing me with a socio-political lens, it looked like I’m waiting for my cue to act black. For example, like I’m standing at the station, waiting to board the Soul Train; like I was out of place, and I knew it, and they knew it, and they knew I knew it, and I knew they knew it. ‘Lollipop’ by Lil’ Wayne drops and everyone goes crazy, including me. I start dancing, having a good time, singing the lyrics with my friends. But like many black people jamming with white folks to songs that have the “N” word in them, my fun was tempered by our “are they going to say it?” suspense. And they did. Not all the white people, but enough to notice. Hearing young, suburban white students singing “Shawty say the nigga that she wit aint shit” was weird. Of course this is not the time or place to have a debate about the “N” word, and I do not know how I am supposed to feel. But it does make me uncomfortable. Regardless of race or class, songs about sex and riches will always be popular. There are not many, if any, people who live in a capitalist society who don’t want money. There’s plenty of mainstream music, including rap that is meaningfully meaningless. But why does listening to violent or nihilistic or capitalistic or misogynistic rap around white people make me so uncomfortable? Am I a hypocrite, since I listen to my share of it?
*Predominantly White Institution
LIFESTYLE | EDUCATION | WELLNESS
Is my fear that I understand the “real” parts versus the minstrelsy aspects of mainstream rap and they don’t? But wouldn’t that make me complicit in that minstrelsy? Is this what they think black people embody? Do they know the history behind a Tupac saying ‘Thug Life’ or Biggie saying “either you slanging crack rocks or you got a wicked jump-shot”? Or do they like it because it is angry, ghetto, and it rhymes? Do they care about anything besides the beat? If they think they are hip to black people because they listen to rap, why does my presence in most settings make them feel uncomfortable? Am I afraid that when a white person hears the word bitch in a rap song, he or she is thinking of a black woman? Would I be more ok with it if they were thinking of a woman from their race? Probably. But aren’t I arguing that each race only be misogynistic to theirs, and not mine? If I asked them any of these questions, would I buy any of their answers? Do they even think about any of this things at all, ever? So many things are political. To me, it seems clear as the sky, even though most would probably say I’m overthinking or just flat out crazy. But I cannot remember a time that I did not wrestle with double consciousness— the feeling of always looking at yourself through the lens of another; the struggle to find who I am in the midst of who I say I am with who they say I am. The historically oppressed have always known the oppressor with a powerful intimacy. Women know men better than men know women because their survival depends on it. A slave knows the character of his master much better than his master. He knows that part of being a genius is knowing when to allow the master to think he’s an idiot. Lesbian and gay people can tell you the effects of homophobia better than a heterosexual. And if you want to know what the meaning of money is, you ask a poor person, not a rich one. But when I look deeper, I’m not uncomfortable around all white people listening to nihilistic, materialistic rap.
It is just a particular kind; the kind Charles Aaron says suffer from Double Unconsciousness: “Conversely, double unconsciousness means failing to look at oneself through the eyes of others, and living under a delusion of “oneness,” the myth that if you, as an individual, don’t behave in an actively racist fashion, then you’re not shaped by racism. The doubly unconscious refuse to acknowledge how certain institutions (education, housing) constantly watch their backs. They want extra credit for entertaining different points of view. They love black music, talk to a few black friends, and believe they are developing an understanding of black people (when in fact, they are only developing an image of themselves).” We leave the party, and my friends want to go to another frat house, but I just want to go home. As I walked back to my dorm a group of white guys were walking in the opposite direction, taking up the whole sidewalk. I wasn’t about to walk into the street to move out the way for them. As I tried to weave through at the last second, I bumped shoulders with one of them. He said “Watch it, home boy.” I turned around and belted “Yo, don’t call me home boy.” He kept walking. Maybe he did not hear me or just ignored me. I am glad he did not stop. Who knows what might have happened. After a quick shower, I lay down on my bed, but it was hard to go to sleep. As usual for me, there was too much on my mind. I am not only learning in the classroom, it seems I am also learning that it is hard being the socially conscious black-male introvert. S
Joshua Adams [Iota Beta, ‘12] is a journalist, music producer, writer and a grad student at the University of Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @irockJoshA.
The hopes and dreams of Americaâ€™s college students are dying. LIFESTYLE | EDUCATION | WELLNESS
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is a lifeline to support the next generation of leaders, but we cannot do it alone. Please help us by making a donation to ensure collegiate scholars hopes and dreams live on. Visit thurgoodmarshallcollegefund.org to make a donation today! Enter Source Code: APA1906 You can also scan the QR code with your smartphone.
NOVEMBER 12, 2014
Awards Gala 26th
Developing Minds... Delivering Dreams
BUSINESS | FINANCE
TED COLBERT III GAMMA LAMBDA ‘03
Boeing, Inc. has named Brother Ted Colbert III, chief information officer and vice president of the company’s Information Technology organization. He was formerly vice president of the Boeing Information Technology Infrastructure organization. In his new role, Colbert will lead the Information Technology organization and be responsible for all IT strategy, systems, infrastructure, architecture, process and people across the Boeing enterprise. Previously, he was responsible for developing and maintaining IT solutions comprising networks, computing, servers, storage, collaboration and infrastructure. He has also served as vice president of IT Business Systems, where he was responsible for developing and maintaining the computing application systems that support Boeing’s finance, human resources and corporate operations. Colbert completed the dual degree engineering program at Georgia Institute of Technology Tech and Morehouse College in 1996, with degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science.
THETA DELTA LAMBDA ‘74 Brother Bob Wingo is no stranger to laudatory comments and is a brother on the move. He is constantly in the local and national news for his hard work. His company, Sander/Wingo, has been recognized by Black Enterprise as one of the top African-American marketing companies in the United States. He also was honored for his service in helping build the King Memorial in Washington, D.C. Wingo was recently featured on the cover of El Paso magazine for an article that chronicled his life in El Paso, Texas—his family, education, and his business. In October, his alma mater, the University of Texas at El Paso honored him at the annual homecoming. During the half-time ceremony the alumni association recognized him for his contributions to the community and the university.
BUSINESS | FINANCE
BY JAMAAL MYLES
3 Work–Life Balance Principles for Grads in Debt One of the main struggles among recent alums on the journey to success is finding a healthy work–life balance. Let me first say that I am a strong advocate of the work hard, play hard mentality. Even as I’m writing this, I’m enjoying myself in downtown Austin. But before you can play hard, you must first work even harder. It goes without saying that success on any level requires a ton of work. Getting rid of your student loan debt is no different. You must have a strong amount of ambition, focus, and patience to see things through— but many of us can’t survive the student-loan struggle because we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy enough entertainment in the process. Because of which, I must suggest the following: 1. On your monthly budget, create a category for play money. This will go towards any recreational expenses like movie outings, clothes, and more. Temper your spending. This category isn’t meant for you to go on an all-out shopping spree; it’s strictly to sooth your temptations a bit so you won’t feel 32
completely deprived of fun. Making the most of your play money expenses will ensure that you survive through paying down your debt each month. 2. Plan at least one vacation throughout the year. Even if you can only afford a mini vacation, take one. These are activities that will allow you to unwind and enjoy a little bit of tranquility as you stay on track with your goals. 3. Whatever you do, don’t stop paying your debts. Learning how to play a little in the midst of your challenges is a valuable skill that will be important to leverage in other hard endeavors. Give yourself this experience and you’ll be thankful in the end! S
Jamaal Myles [Tau Alpha, ‘08], after overcoming $95,000 in tuition debt, founded The Urban Money Manager in an effort to help other college men with student loan debt. Follow him on Twitter @theurbanmoney. THE SPHINX
Brothers in Tuskegee, Ala., at the annual Be Like King Male Retreat
ALPHA NU LAMBDA TUSKEGEE, ALA.
Showing how the strength of working together can accomplish great things, brothers in Tuskegee, Ala., recently hosted the second annual Be Like King Male Retreat. Brothers Tyler Hunter [Gamma Phi, ‘13] and Stephen Hamilton [Gamma Phi, ‘13] of Gamma Phi Chapter led the big event on the campus of Tuskegee University along with the brothers from Alpha Nu Lambda Chapter. The event attracted boys to men, from elementary-school ages to college students and young men from the community. The participants competed in a team quiz bowl contest and participated in teambuilding games. Several youngsters said they learned things about Martin Luther King Jr. they never knew. One elementary student asked “can I come back next year?” which prompted brothers to begin plans for the third annual program.
ALPHA DELTA LAMBDA MEMPHIS, TENN.
MEMPHIS BROTHERS ESTABLISH INITIATIVES FOR SICKLE-CELL SUFFERERS Brothers in Memphis recently helped open a newly renovated residence that offers transitional housing and social services to help young men affected with Sickle Cell Disease. Alpha Delta Lambda Chapter Brother Trevor Thompson, chief executive officer of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee (SCFT), noted that the facility, The Carpenter House, is named in honor of Brother Kenneth Carpenter and his wife, Dr. Terrell Carpenter. The six-bedroom house is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at helping men, especially those 18 to 25,
transition from their family homes to homes of their own. As a first-of-its-kind undertaking for individuals affected with sickle cell disease, transitional housing, job training and other services will be offered to men suffering from the disease. Brother James Taylor, the SCFT’s chief administrative officer said: “We’re pleased to be partners in this effort with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which has provided a transition grant to support our efforts to serve as mentors for young people with sickle cell disease.”
Alpha Delta Lambda Chapter brothers and SCFT members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the The Carpenter House in Memphis, Tenn.
ALPHA MU LAMBDA KNOXVILLE, TENN.
As part of celebrating the annual King Holiday, the men of Alpha Mu Lambda Chapter, lead by Erick Simpson [Zeta Tau Lambda, ‘86], educational program chairman and Gary Pettway [Gamma Tau, ‘70], chapter president, welcomed awarded five scholarships to seniors from various high schools in Knoxville, Tenn.
Brothers from Alpha Mu Lambda in Knoxville, Tenn., pose with scholarship winners.
Frank E. Burns Jr., Johnathan A. Chandler, Reginald R. Coleman, Leon Humphrey Jr. and Dontae T. Johnson gave their insight on an oratorical presentation: “What needs to be done to complete the journeys of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela for racial equality and to recommit ourselves to a more caring and equal society?”
Since the events inaugural breakfast, Alpha Mu Lambda has awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships, book vouchers, and assistance with college expenses. Brother Leroy Sims’ [Beta Delta, ‘74] company, Premier Party Planners, provided the food for the event.
BETA PSI LAMBDA LOS ANGELES
Plans are under way for the 2014 “A Season of Joy” holiday benefit extravaganza. Each year the multifaceted venture that provides a full Christmas experience for children and families in challenging situations. For 2013, Beta Psi Lambda brothers were joined by alumni members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Tau Tau Omega Chapter in Santa Monica, Calif. Sponsors included Mattel Toys, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, A New Way of Life Foundation,
Alpha Esquires, Los Angeles Police Dept., and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. This joint effort provided toys, clothing, food baskets and financial assistance for children and families afflicted with Sickle Cell Anemia. The event also supported children with incarcerated parents, and families living in five of the largest housing developments in Los Angeles. Successfully, “A Season of Joy” impacted more than 2,500 children in the metro area.
Members of Beta Psi Lambda and the Tau Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. pose at “A Season of Joy” program in Los Angeles.
ETA EPSILON LAMBDA MONROVIA, LIBERIA
Brothers in Monrovia, Liberia were recipients of the Golden Image Award (GIA) at the Third Annual Golden Image Awards Program. According to Augustine Ngafuan, minister of foreign affairs, the chapter was unanimously selected following a thorough research and vetting of organizations nominated for the honor. The selection committee members were captivated by the stellar leadership, service and empowerment projects undertaken by Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attended along with several dignitaries and other government officials, including U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac. Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter President T. Nelson Williams II [Gamma Psi, ‘83] accepts the The chapter brothers raised $21,500 for scholarship and Golden Image Award from Foreign Affairs Mineducational programs between 2012 and 2013. The funds ister Augustine Ngafuan, in Monrovia, Liberia. benefited 114 junior and senior high school students. As a way of promoting technology in Liberia, brothers there established the Aaron B. Milton Engineering Scholarship at the University of Liberia. The chapter has also commenced mentoring partnerships with the YMCA of Liberia through its Subject-to-Citizen (S2C) program and Ricks Institute through its Servant Leadership Program.
Recently, Alpha Phi Alpha proudly and resolutely joined the Ministry of Gender and Development, the GenderBased Taskforce, and the leadership of the Republic of Liberia in the fight against sexual assault and rape perpetuated against women and children.
KAPPA TAU Hannah Hunsinger/Kansas State Collegian
KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, wipes tears during her speech at Kappa Tau Chapter’s Alpha Lecture Series in April.
Brothers at Kansas State University (KSU) in Manhattan, Kan., have refused to let the flame of justice burn out regarding the killing of Trayvon Martin. In April, they hosted a program on campus featuring a keynote speech by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin. Addressing a packed KSU Student Union ballroom, Fulton said the worst day of her life was not so much when she found out her youngest son was dead. It was the day she had to attend his funeral. It’s now been more than two years since Martin, 17, was shot and killed during an altercation with George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. The incident and ensuing trial was covered closely by national news outlets and political pundits alike. The brothers invited Fulton as part of their Alpha Lecture Series. During her presentation, Fulton spoke out against the “stand your ground” law which played a vital role in the outcome of the criminal trial that followed Martin’s death. The law allows a person to use justifiable force for self-defense without being forced to retreat from the situation when they feel threatened.
IOTA PI LAMBDA MIAMI
Above, members of the Iota Pi Lambda Chapter’s Men of Tomorrow program and Brother Chris Stevenson [Iota Delta, ‘74] (on far right).
The brothers of the Iota Pi Lambda Chapter participated in Miami-Dade County’s annual March of Dimes event. IPL brothers and the chapter’s Men of Tomorrow participants were among the 3,000 people who walked a 5K course to garner support for local natal outreach and research initiatives funded by the March of Dimes. From the chapter’s online collection drive, IPL raised several hundred dollars to support MOD efforts in MiamiDade County. The Men of Tomorrow participants received community service hours and firsthand accounts on the importance of the March for Babies and its impact in South Florida.
GEORGIA ALPHAS HONORED FOR DROPOUT-PREVENTION EFFORTS In Georgia, Alpha brothers are gearing up for another round of seminars and workshops this fall, to help reduce the black-male dropout rate. The initiative is part of an ongoing program that was created in 2007, thanks to the foresight of Brother Ira Foster [Gamma Zeta, ‘83], an attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program. The Georgia District leadership team met with Georgia Appleseed, a nonprofit organization that works to raise the voices of the poor, the children and the marginalized while increasing justice in Georgia through law and policy reform. That meeting resulted in a larger partnership which includes the Southern Center for Human Rights, Georgia Legal Services Program and the Alpha Georgia Education Foundation. Alpha Phi Alpha’s work, conducting statewide workshops, earned it the Georgia Apple Award in April, from Georgia Appleseed. The first workshops began in November 2012, focusing on the high dropout rate at some of the Georgia’s largest public school districts. Held in rural communities and in metro areas across the state, the workshops reached over 1,000 people. The workshops focused on educating parents about the high dropout rate in urban cities, the school dropout to prison pipeline issue and solutions that can help children stay in school and graduate.
IOTA PSI LAMBDA
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Exciting, energized, and elegant, the brothers of Iota Psi Lambda Chapter in Albuquerque, N.M., recently presented their neophyte brothers to the public. The event called “Egyptian Elevation at the Alpha Suite” saw each member dressed with high-class, cosmopolitan-attire, and held at the Casablanca Lounge at Hotel Andaluz, one of Albuquerque’s premiere and most historic establishments. The night consisted of dancing, Iota Psi Lambda brothers celebrate the initiation of neophyte music, wine and food. Neophyte brothers Brothers Anthony Jamal Sanders (third from left) and Corey Anthony Jamal Sanders [Iota Psi Lambda, ‘13] DeAndre Betz (fourth from right) in center wearing vest and and Corey DeAndre Betz [Iota Psi Lambda, ‘13] gold bow ties. were presented before a packed house. The event also brought together eight of the nine historically black Greek-lettered organizations to network and interact with academics, community leaders and professionals throughout the city.
Brothers in Washington, D.C., share a moment with Brother Dick Gregory.
OMICRON ETA LAMBDA WASHINGTON, D.C.
Omicron Eta Lambda Chapter in Washington, D.C., welcomed Brother Dick Gregory [Beta Eta, ‘54] to a packed house to celebrate Founders Day. Gregory, a veteran civil rights activist and pioneer among black comedians, delivered a rousing performance filled with humor and political satire. His show added comedy to serious topics around racial and social issues and politics. His energy and witty jokes kept the audience laughing, yet provided thought-provoking commentary about political leaders and the state of race relations in the United States and around the world. Local stand-up comedians, Brother Lamont King [Nu Kappa, ‘95] and Larry Lancaster opened the show. Brother Jason Lee served as emcee.
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RHO SIGMA LAMBDA MORROW, GA.
Members of Rho Sigma Lambda Chapter gathered with their families to celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Brother Martin Luther King Jr. at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga. earlier this year. As part of the program, the brothers invited local leaders to discuss ‘Moving Beyond the Dream: Commemorating the Legacy of Brother Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ • Brother Lawrence Lyle, director of educational activities for the chapter presided. • Special guests for the luncheon included Southern Regional Vice President Ron Natson [Delta Eta, ‘75], Georgia District Director Ellis Albright [Delta Eta, ‘75], Brothers Walter Kimbrough [Iota, ‘61] and John Carter [Iota, ‘67]. • Carter, a retired BellSouth executive was a project manager for Washington D.C. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation. Kimbrough, retired United Methodist minister gave the keynote address. • The chapter presented several awards including a scholarship award to a deserving student.
RHO NU LAMBDA
CARROLLTON, TEXAS One year later, after tragedy struck the Carrollton, Texas, community in August 2013, the brothers of Rho Nu Lambda Chapter in Carrollton, Texas are still answering the call. Zina Bowser, of the local Tau Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, was brutally murdered in her home in Dallas. Bowser left behind two sons, Chris and Myles, who also sustained injuries during the crime. While Chris was still in the hospital, Rho Nu Lambda Chapter President Burnie Reed [Beta Kappa, ‘75] called on chapter members to provide school clothes and support for Bowser’s two sons. Brothers gave generously, giving the young men enough clothes to last the entire school year. And now, a year later, members of RNL are still on the job providing help when and where they can.
MU PHI LAMBDA
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
PI ALPHA LAMBDA
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS Brothers of Pi Omicron Chapter at Texas A&M University and Pi Alpha Lambda Chapter came together to remember their fallen brother, Reginald Broadus [Pi Omicron, 92], who was murdered alongside Crystal Miller by two teenagers in the summer 1994. Brothers worked to place a plaque to the memory of Broadus at the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University, which has served as the centerpiece memorial for the lives of former students who are deceased. “Remembering Broadus’ legacy of leadership was motivation enough for us to rededicate his history,” says Pi Omicron Chapter President Daunte Cauley [Pi Omicron, 11].
Members of Mu Phi Lambda Chapter in Seoul, South Korea, have established the Mu Phi Lambda Literary Society. Reports from the Korean Peninsula are that the society and its development program are positively impacting lives there by introducing topics of discussion that stimulate the minds of all those who participate. The literary society attempts to reiterate the power of learning by emphasizing reading and open discussion among the literary society’s participants. The Mu Phi Lambda Literary Society meets monthly, facilitated by various chapter brothers, discussing a broad range of relevant topics, and is open to the public.
Members of Sigma Zeta Lambda Chapter pose for a group photo, from left: Leonard Posey; Samuel Baker; Associate Editor to The Sphinx Zachary Hawkins; Vice President Todd Easley; President Kelly Wilson III; Treasurer Alfred J. Lee; Secretary Douglas Bush III and George Adams.
SIGMA ZETA LAMBDA MORRIS COUNTY, N.J.
Sigma Zeta Lambda was granted a two-year provisional chapter in Morris County, N.J., at the 2013 General Convention in Austin, Texas. Since the gavel closed at the General Convention last summer, the brothers of Sigma Zeta Lambda Chapter have been very busy. They supported A Call to Action: Rally for Justice in July, in Newark, N.J., as a peaceful expression of the chapter members’ grief and dissatisfaction with the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. The chapter also co-sponsored a Community Health Day and Walkathon in September with Morris County-based organizations, including local chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta Sororities. Membership has increased since the chapter’s chartering, and now number more than 18 members.
NEW YORK CHAPTERS COMMEMORATE BROWN V. BOARD AT STATE CAPITOL Three chapters of the New York Association of Chapters of Alpha (NYACOA) recently gathered in Albany, at the state capitol to receive a proclamation commemorating the historic Brown vs. Board of Education case. The ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, that outlawed racial segregation in public schools, was held in May, in the State Assembly Chambers. Brothers of Eta Chi Lambda in Rockland County and Beta Pi Lambda in Albany and the Capital Region, joined with Brother Walter Mosley III [Omicron Eta Lambda, ‘97], of Gamma Iota Lambda Chapter in Brooklyn for the festive occasion. Mosley represents Brooklyn in the Assembly and sponsored the New York State proclamation. Since 1963, members of Eta Chi Lambda have worked diligently to honor the work and efforts of Brother Thurgood Marshall [Nu, ‘26] and his role in the Brown decision. The chapter hosts annual education programs and has erected a monument dedicated to Marshall, at the site of a successful desegregation effort that occurred in the Village of Hillburn in Rockland County, in 1943.
BY JOSHUA S.D. HARRIS
Chuck Stone: A Journalism Giant [Alpha Kappa, ’68]
he Angry Man of the Negro Press” is what the caption read underneath the photo of Brother Charles Stone Jr. in Newsweek on Aug. 25, 1963. The story appeared three days before the historic March on Washington. At the time Brother Stone was a White House correspondent and the editor at the Washington
one point, 75 “wanted” black men turned themselves in—to him—before surrendering to the police. Stone would document the physical state of the men before police arrived and if anything was different the next day after they were taken into custody, he wrote about it in his column. “I was in awe of Charlie Boy’s brilliance and rare talent as an activist. I followed his career with deep interest and was impressed with his trail blazing,” said Brother Bill Robinson [Beta Beta Lambda, ‘04], president of Florida Memorial University. Stone was one of the founders and the first president of the National Association of Black Journalists. He also used his talents in the classroom, teaching hundreds of students at several institutions. He spent 14 years at his last post, at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill after retiring in 1991, from the Philadelphia Daily News.
Afro-American. He was not afraid to use his position to pressure the Kennedy administration to act on civilrights issues. “Brother Stone was an unapologetic, unrelenting journalist who only sought to correct injustice and inequality. To say that he was a pacesetter, given all of his accomplishments and advocacy on so many levels, may even be an understatement,” said Brother Terry Collins [Alpha Theta, ‘90], a reporter at the Associated Press. Born in 1924, in St. Louis and raised in Hartford, Conn., Stone was affectionately called Chuck or Charlie Boy by family members and friends. He had a storied career, starting in the black press and transitioning to “mainstream news media. Stone joined the Philadelphia Daily News as its first black columnist, at a time when there were few African Americans in America’s major newsrooms. Stone was committed to fighting injustice in the African-American community. In Philadelphia, he used his column as a tool to fight police brutality. At 42
While diligent in his career he also served as an advisor to U.S. Rep. Brother Adam Clayton Powell [Eta]. In Alpha, he was part of the original group that established the fraternity’s World Policy Council. “Chuck was a very valued member of the World Policy Council,” said Brother Horace Dawson [Nu, ‘46], retired U.S. ambassador to Botswana and a member of the WPC. “He had great experience in politics, journalism and education and had tremendous ideas.” Stone always was willing to “tell it like it is” and speak out against injustice. He committed his life and career to positively impacting the black community. As a journalist he broke down barriers and created opportunities that paved the way for many people of color in the news industry today. One of those, Baltimore television anchor Brother Vic Carter [Xi Alpha, ‘78]. “Brother Stone once told me that when he was reporting for the Philadelphia Daily News in 1972, ‘The only other thing that was black in the newsroom were the telephones,’” said Carter. Stone, 89, died from congestive heart failure. He entered Omega Chapter on April 6. THE SPHINX
OMEGA CHAPTER CHAPTER NEWS
BY DARRELL L. TILLER
William H. Gray III left the world better than he found it [Rho, ‘62]
oted Philadelphian, national lawmaker, religious and corporate leader, global citizen with an eye on the prize of freedom and liberty, and keeper of the trust in service to the least of these, the Rev. Brother William Herbert Gray III was the quintessential man of Alpha. It is ironic that he transitioned to Omega just a few months apart from Nelson Mandela. For it was Brother Gray’s efforts as a top leader in Congress who engineered U.S. sanctions that forced the South African government to free Mandela and end apartheid there. Born Aug. 20, 1941 in Baton Rouge, La., at the age of three Brother Gray moved with his parents to Florida where his father was president of Florida Normal and Industrial College, now Florida A&M University. By eight, Gray had come to Philadelphia when his father was appointed pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church. After high school, Gray matriculated Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., and in 1963, earned bachelor’s degree in sociology. He continued his higher education at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, N.J., where he earned a Master of Divinity Degree. He also earned a Master of Theology Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. He joined the ranks of Alpha men at the fraternity’s Rho Chapter on Feb 1, 1962, in Philadelphia. During the 1960s, Gray initially served as assistant pastor at Union Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J. He was later elevated to senior pastor there and installed by the Rev. Brother Martin Luther King Jr., a good friend of the family. In 1970, he joined the ranks of the teaching academy with a post as assistant professor at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, N.J. As historical precedence and divine order would dictate, in 1972, Brother Gray succeeded his father as the senior minister at Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia and served until 2008. His father, the Rev. William H. Gray Jr. had led the church 22 years, and his grandfather, the Rev. William H. Gray Sr., served from 1925, until his death in 1949. Politics came calling and America, and indeed the SUMMER 2014
world, would be better for Gray answering the call. From 1979 to 1991, Gray was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania’s 2nd congressional. His time on Capitol Hill marked historical firsts for the country and African Americans. He was the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee, and then became the first black House majority whip from 1989 to 1991, (the third highest-ranking post in the House). Along with Alpha brother and fellow Congressman Ron Dellums, from Oakland, Calif., he introduced House Resolution 1460 which became known as the Comprehensive Apartheid Act. With an overwhelming override of President Ronald Regan’s veto, the act put in place sanctions banning import of South African goods and materials and implemented U.S. banking restrictions on South Africa. Brother Gray’s congressional responsibilities did not deter him from pastoral care; he would return to Philadelphia on Sundays to preach at Bright Hope. After his time in Congress, Brother Gray became president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund. During his tenure, the organization raised more than $2.3 billion for historically black and college and universities. He was also tapped by President Bill Clinton to serve as a special adviser on Haiti. Noted for his astute business sense and commitment to corporate social responsibility, Brother Gray sat on several corporate boards. Brother Gray was also an avid tennis player and fan. He was on a trip enjoying the sport he loved, attending the Wimbledon tennis tournament, in England, with his son Andrew when he died. He was not ill, but entered Omega Chapter July 1, 2013, in London at age 71. Above all, he was a family man—loving husband to Andrea, guiding father to William IV, Andrew and Justin; devoted son to Hazel; and a wise grandfather. Darrell L Tiller [Rho, ‘88] is the president of Rho Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s alumni chapter in Philadelphia. 43
BY RICK BLALOCK
Julius L. Chambers broke barriers, fought discrimination [Gamma Beta, ‘56]
ulius L. Chambers lived segregation then defeated it. He will always be known as one of those unsung heroes who were the very underpinning of the Civil Rights Movement. Like Brother Martin Luther King Jr., and others, Julius L. Chambers, a civil rights attorney, endured firebombings of his house, office and car. The intimidation came with winning case after case against racial segregation. In the latter part of his career, Brother Chambers was president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1984. But long before that, he was in the trenches in the Deep South making changes, from the moment he graduated from law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—which at the time begrudgingly began admitting “negroes.” In 1965, he worked with the NAACP and took on 35 school-desegregation suits and 20 suits charging discrimination in public accommodations. One of those cases (Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education) went all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 1971, justices unanimously upheld granting federal courts the power to order busing to force racial integration. The ruling had the effect of ending government-sanctioned segregation in Southern schools. Brother Chambers would also take on job discrimination cases in his long career. But, his victories came with a cost. After the Supreme Court’s decision, his offices were firebombed. In the wake of his string of court wins in 1965, his car was firebombed and two bombs exploded in his home. Born Julius LeVonne Chambers in 1936, in Mount Gilead, N.C., Chambers experienced segregation up close and personal. He began his education in a small racially segregated rural school that
lacked both indoor plumbing and a library. He then attended an all-black high school, to which he was bused 12 miles past a better equipped all-white high school less than a mile from his home. He graduated in May 1954, the month the Supreme Court ordered an end to school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. He then enrolled at historically-black North Carolina Central University, in Durham, N.C., where he was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha at Gamma Beta Chapter in 1956. He was elected student body president and graduated summa cum laude. Next, he earned a master’s degree in history from the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He earned his law degree from UNC at which he was editor of The North Carolina Law Review. Despite graduating first in his class, he was barred from the year-end banquet at the segregated Chapel Hill Country Club. Brother Thurgood Marshall, who headed the legal defense fund at the time, tapped him to be an intern. By 1972, Chambers private practice in Charlotte grew to 11 members, five of whom were white. He had the first integrated law firm in North Carolina. After teaching at Michigan’s law school, he returned to his undergraduate alma mater in 1993, as president of North Carolina Central University. He went back to practicing law in 2001. Brother Chambers had a heart attack in April, and had been in declining health. His wife died in 2012, and he entered Omega Chapter Aug. 2, 2013, at his home in Charlotte, N.C. He was 76. He is survived by his son, daughter and three grandchildren. Horace G. Dawson Jr. [Nu, ‘46], former U.S. ambassador to Botswana, contributed to this story.
44 44 SPHINX THE SPHINX
The following is a listing of members who have entered Omega Chapter. For each member: we list his name; the category of membership (college, alumni or life; with life member number if available); chapter of initiation; date of initiation; last chapter active with; and date of death. All of the information is based on what is submitted by chapters and family members and reconciled with the fraternityâ€™s records.
Robert M. Alexander LM 358 Gamma: 5/1/44 General Organization Omega: 8/2/14
James Croom LM 110 Xi: 5/1/47 Delta Epsilon Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
Jacob A. Haynes Alumni Delta Alpha: 11/17/72 Pi Delta Lambda Omega: 3/31/14
Felix L. Armfield Alumni Beta Theta Lambda: 10/2/89 Rho Lambda Omega: 4/30/14
Jesse Curtis Jr. LM 2364 Psi Lambda: 12/1/75 Psi Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
William E. Jackson LM 942 Delta Beta: 4/21/48 Epsilon Pi Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
John F. Bailey Jr. LM 2513 Epsilon Nu Lambda: 10/10/52 Epsilon Nu Lambda Omega: 4/20/14
L.H.B. Foote Alumni Gamma Mu Lambda: 4/11/18 Gamma Mu Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Ronnie S. Jenkins LM 7092 Eta Lambda: 2/28/89 Eta Lambda Omega: 7/25/14
Alfred L. Bookhardt Alumni Beta Beta: 12/1/48 Delta Xi Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
Isaac B. Greggs LM 2121 Beta Sigma: 11/2/46 Beta Iota Lambda Omega: 4/28/14
Fernanious Emanuel Jones III College Theta Mu: 3/12/92 Theta Mu Omega: 4/4/14
Allen Broussard LM 9468 Xi Alpha Lambda: 5/18/90 Xi Alpha Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Harold E. Guinyard LM 8145 Delta Beta: 11/15/52 Beta Beta Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Willie Jones LM 2366 Beta Upsilon: 12/1/50 Psi Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Brian Christopher Cooke Alumni Eta Pi: 10/24/04 Psi Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
I. S. Hankins Alumni Upsilon Lambda: 12/1/35 Delta Xi Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
Frank T. Lambeth Alumni Beta Epsilon: 4/1/48 Mu Lambda Omega: 4/19/14
Curtis J. Cotton Alumni Alpha Xi Lambda: 6/11/76 Alpha Xi Lambda Omega: 7/3/14
Lorenzo B. Harley Alumni Delta Xi Lambda: 2/24/87 Delta Xi Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
Hiram E. Mann LM 780 Pi: 5/3/47 Iota Beta Lambda Omega: 5/17/14
TO ALL OUR BROTHERS IN OMEGA CHAPTER, MAY YOU REST IN PEACE. TO ALL OUR BROTHERS IN OMEGA CHAPTER... MAY YOU REST IN PEACE SUMMER 2014
Vance O. McNair LM 7432 Beta Rho: 5/6/49 Zeta Iota Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Samuel W. Seals LM 3898 Beta Pi: 11/30/36 Psi Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Bert T. Thomas LM 6137 Alpha Chi Lambda: 4/1/77 Alpha Chi Lambda Omega: 6/14/14
Albert M. Miller Jr. LM 1686 Beta Omicron: 5/1/37 Psi Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Dr. Oscar Sistrunk Jr. Alumni Nu: 12/1/49 Delta Xi Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
Samuel S. Trammell Jr. LM 2371 Psi Lambda: 4/1/60 Psi Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
Horace L. Orr LM 6096 Beta Omicron: 11/19/55 Delta Xi Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
Allen Smallwood LM 4383 Delta Pi: 4/1/51 Zeta Omicron Lambda Omega: 5/1/14
J. Douglass Vaughn-Harris LM 11971 Iota Omicron Lambda: 7/1/77 Delta Psi Lambda Omega: 5/25/14
William J. Patterson LM 9855 Gamma Zeta: 11/1/53 Alpha Chi Lambda Omega: 8/15/14
Fletcher Smith Alumni Delta Alpha Lambda: 11/30/77 Delta Alpha Lambda Omega: 7/25/14
Willie H. Wilder Sr. LM 7137 Omicron Lambda: 5/1/74 Omicron Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
William C. Roberson LM 4402 Beta Phi: 12/1/55 Beta Beta Lambda Omega: 4/22/14
George L. Speight Alumni Delta Chi Lambda: 12/1/27 Delta Xi Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
Paul Robeson Jr. LM 2494 Gamma Iota Lambda: 6/12/75 Gamma Iota Lambda Omega: 4/26/14
James Subbs Alumni Delta Xi Lambda: 10/15/92 Delta Xi Lambda Omega: 4/1/14
TO ALL OUR BROTHERS IN OMEGA CHAPTER, MAY YOU REST IN PEACE.
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