MONEY: Real Estate investing may still be a good bet
JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN: Alpha brothers join the fight
TRANSITION: Alpha names acting general president, 33rd GP Mason suspended
After 36 years, Alpha returns to West Africa
Jewel Robert Harold Ogle in early years
Jewel Ogle in later years
CONTENTS THE SPHINX® H WINTER/SPRING 2012 H VOLUME 97 H NOS. 1 & 2
8 Alpha Joins the Fight for Justice In February, the nation—indeed the world—was shocked to learn that a teen carrying nothing but a soft drink and a bag of Skittles candy was shot to death by a neighborhood watchman. The shock turned to anger when the gunman was allowed to go free for weeks
before being charged with a crime. Our story is about Trayvon Martin and how Alpha brothers are doing their part to ensure justice is served.
14 Fraternity Makes Historic Move at the Top It has never been done before, but after revelations of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, the
fraternity suspended its sitting general president. Alpha Phi Alpha named a temporary replacement, and brothers are looking for a way forward.
18 Cover Story: Old Bonds Renewed in West Africa On the world map, Liberia is a special place. It has survived a civil war that literally tore apart the African country, and its citizens elected the first woman president of any African country—not once, but twice. Alpha put its imprint on the country more than 50 years ago, establishing a chapter in Monrovia. This year, Alpha renewed that transatlantic bond. The journey back to Africa is chronicled in The Sphinx SPECIAL REPORT: Letters From Liberia.
50 7 QUESTIONS for candidates for the Next General President One of two men will be the 34th general president. Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. and Mark S. Tillman vie for the fraternity’s top office. Both go on the record in The Sphinx Interview.
50 Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
IN EVERY ISSUE
3 EDITOR’S DESK 4 GENERAL OFFICERS’ LETTERS 8 NEWS 28 M ONEY AND BUSINESS 30 REGIONAL ROUNDUP / CHAPTER NEWS 52 LIFE AND LEISURE 53 ARTS AND CULTURE 44 BROTHERS ON THE MOVE 50 7 QUESTIONS: The Sphinx Interview 54 OMEGA CHAPTER 61 NEONEWS 62 LEADERSHIP DIRECTORY GUIDELINES SUBMISSION Since the founding of The Sphinx in 1914, the African-American community has looked to the
publication for its profound insight on issues of the day. The Sphinx is the world’s second-oldest con tinuously published African-American magazine in existence and is preserved in libraries and archives across the country as an historical record of community occurrences and the great issues of the day. Those interested in writing articles for The Sphinx are encouraged to read the writer’s guidelines at www.apa1906.net or write the editorial office for a printed copy of the guidelines at The Sphinx Editorial Offices, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., 2313 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21218-5211. You may also request guidelines and instructions via direct e-mail at email@example.com. The deadline for submissions for upcoming issues is 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the following dates: Summer 2012, September 1; Fall 2012, October 1; and Winter 2013, November 1, 2012. The Sphinx® is printed in the United States of America
Organizing Editor RAYMOND W. CANNON (1892-1992) Organizing General President HENRY LAKE DICKASON (1886-1957) Official Organ of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.® WINTER/SPRING 2012 VOL. 97 • NOS. 1 & 2
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RICK BLALOCK firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING EDITOR Jaquon C. Heath SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITORS Sean M. Allen Richard Butler Ezzard C. Rolle, Jr. WORLD AFFAIRS EDITOR Eric Ham ASSOCIATE EDITORS Torrance Alexander, Khoy Blasi-Diggs, David C. Brown Jr., Samuel Brown Brandon Cole, Troy A. Corbin Sr., Leonard Le’Doux Jr., Leslie Elus, Russell E. Flye Byron J. Grayson, Andre A. Greene, James E. Hale II, Larnzell “Jay” Harper Jr. Demarcus Harrison, Terry L. Hazzard, Tremaine Jasper, Jonathan C.W. Jones Kevin Jones, Moses Lee Samuel H. Lloyd, Joseph D. Lockett, Marque D. Macon Jonathan D. Madison, Robert A. Massey, Roscoe W. McClain Jr. Calvin McNeill, Renard Mobley, Anthony Moore III, Steston J. Olaye Derek O’Neal, Garrison Owens, Damion Sean Samuels, Michael Sudarkasa Zikomo Turner, Andre R. Watkins, George Wimberly
COPY EDITOR K. Thomas Oglesby CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Bryan J.A. Kelly, William Douglass Lyle, Don Weston SENIOR WRITERS Ellis Albright, Waldo E. Johnson Jr., Darryl A. Peal, Derrick Alexander Pope Ron Peters, Andrew Timothy Siwo, F. Carl Walton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS James Crumel, Aaron Crutison, Horace Dawson Ali Fadlallah, Ira L. Foster, Esq., Joseph Gambrell, Antoine M. Garibaldi Jarvis Givens, Justin Harlow, Robert L. Harris Jr., Tony O. Hubbard, Ronald C. Jackson, Aaron L. Jones, Darren M. Morton, Lowell W. Perry, Jr. Roland Shaw, Elgie R. Sims Jr., Ronald Clay Small, Michael A. Smith Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., Zollie Stevenson, Mark S. Tillman Norman E.W. Towels, Ronnie Versher Jr., Douglas Wilson Sacoby Wilson, Milton C. Woodard, Yvesner Harnould Zamar CONTRIBUTORS Hyacinth C. Ahuruonye, Lazbri Akpuchukwu, Cory J. Anderson, Brandon T. Batts Rod Beard, Dominique Beaumonte, Keith Bishop, Bobby Clark, Stephen Cosey Rufus Credle, Delores Diggs, Steven Eloiseau, Adrian Escalante, Michael Feeney James Ford II, Felix Gallagher, Carla Gaskins, Ray Gittens, Henry Goodgame Jr. Hill Harper, Damon “Dee” Horn, James “Jimmy” Huger, Richard T. James Jr. Michael Jenkins, David M. Johnson, Jabari Jones, Charles King, Percy J. Lipsey II Antwan Lofton, Dale Long, Wayne Lynn, Darryl R. Matthews Sr. Terence McPherson, Bernice Meadows, Ryan E. Middleton, Henry Ponder Oz Roberts, Jossan Robinson, Yorman Sanchez, Victor Scotti Jr., Said Sewell John C. Shelby, Derrick L. Sibert, Robbie Stokes, Ozell Sutton, Bryan Thomas Jr. Orlando Thomas, Sherelle S. Torrence, Adrian L. Wallace Charles M. Washington, Gerald Yerby
ART DIRECTION THE O’NEAL GROUP Toni O’Neal Mosley Michelle Y. Glennon PHOTOGRAPHERS Alonzo S. Blalock, Rickey Brown, Jarvis Harris Bryan J.A. Kelly, Jeff Lewis, Jason Lewis Philip McCollum, Oz Roberts, Cory Thompson, Jamal Wiggins Christopher Williams, Evelyn Wright, James A. Wright
ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY, INC. Aaron Crutison, Sr., Acting General President William Douglass Lyle, Executive Director James W. Ward, Chairman, Committee on Publications FOUNDERS Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, Vertner Woodson Tandy The Sphinx Editorial Offices Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 2313 St. Paul St. • Baltimore, MD 21218-5211 (410) 554-0040 • (410) 554-0054 FAX • www.alpha1906.net Advertising and Sales Contact: email@example.com
2 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
© 2012 Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. All rights reserved.
Heading Toward Another Centennial in Alpha
In 2014, The Sphinx will begin its 100th volume. In 2015, it will
celebrate 100 years of service. The staff is working hard as we build up to this monumental achievement. We take great pride in knowing that we are the second-oldest, continuously published, African-American magazine in America. To that end, we continue to work hard every day to make this publication the best it can be. As part of the effort to continue onward and upward, I am excited to announce new appointments to our editorial team. Brother Jaquon C. Heath, a student at St. John’s University in New York, is our new managing editor. Previously he was senior associate editor. In his new role, he will be responsible for overall management of our editorial content, including quality control and accuracy. I am also pleased to announce the appointments of two senior associate editors: Brothers Sean M. Allen of Los Angeles, Calif., and Richard Butler of Atlanta, Ga. They will join the senior editorial team and work as liaisons with our corp of associate editors around the world. In this issue, we introduce two new sections: Life and Leisure and NeoNEWS. In Life and Leisure, it is our hope that members and the general public will find this section of good use. The aim is to provide timely and in-depth, yet readerfriendly, news and information to improve your life. We’ll do this by covering all those areas of the human experience that have direct impact on our quality of life: food, travel, fashion, hobbies and more. We inaugurate the section with Brother Michael Ferrera’s take on “Dressing for Opportunities” and with a survey of the best and worst ways of “How to Get There” when you have to go by plane. NeoNEWS will provide a unique perspective—on life in general and fraternal life in particular—from a new Alpha member. Neophytes are the lifeblood of any fraternity, and The Sphinx begins hearing from them in this issue with a reflection from Sean Allen, a private pilot from Los Angeles who tells us why he wanted to be an Alpha man.
Rick Blalock is a two-time Emmy® winner and editor of The Sphinx. firstname.lastname@example.org
We also conclude our series of commemorative photos of the 7 Jewels. At the front is Jewel Robert Harold Ogle and at the back is Jewel Vertner Woodson Tandy. I hope you find a special place to frame the seven 8x10 portraits of each founder of Alpha Phi Alpha we have provided. I am especially pleased that a team of fraternity members has provided us with insight into West Africa in our SPECIAL REPORT: Letters From Liberia. These men served as our special correspondents, while on official business re-establishing the alumni chapter in Monrovia. Through them we get a close-up picture of life there. It’s the next best thing to actually being there. H
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Acting General President
Aaron Crutison Sr. is Western regional vice president and is serving as acting general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. email@example.com
Transparency and Challenges Strengthen the House of Alpha
Every once in a while, extraordinary history is made in our
fraternity. My being named acting general president is one of those historical moments. Never in our 106-year history have we had to exercise such an appointment to fill a vacancy in our illustrious fraternity’s highest office. I am pleased that most brothers have allowed for this period in our history to play out in a smooth and orderly fashion. Yes, there have been bumps on this road, as it is a road we have never traveled. But I am confident that we shall get through this period in our history and come out stronger, better and more resolute than ever before. Challenging times are not new to Alpha. The fraternity has always led during adverse situations in our history. During the 1920s, it was Alpha that encouraged our community to be learners. We implemented our Go to High School, Go to College program, to show that education was the true key to success, when others were constantly creating obstacles. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, it was Alpha that helped President Franklin D. Roosevelt understand why he and the government needed to address the injustice that African Americans faced in the workplace and the lack of quality of services rendered to American black people. In the 1950s, Thurgood Marshall and other Alpha men took the fight to American courts and changed America. Later, during the Civil Rights Movement, Brother Martin Luther King Jr. stood up against injustice and led the effort well into the 60s. Most recently, when so many said it couldn’t be done, Alpha led the way in securing a memorial to Brother King on the National Mall; a four-decade effort led by past general presidents and brothers around the world who never wavered in making that dream come true. So today, we find ourselves yet with another challenge. This time, within our own house. Sometimes, it is adversity that makes one stronger—if you take lessons learned and use them to build upon a better future. Alpha Phi Alpha is doing exactly that, and because of this, we become not just another good organization, but we become a great organization. We must continue to lead. We must trust our elected leadership. Conversely, our leadership must remain transparent and act when required to protect this house as we strengthen it. I am humbled and honored to answer the call to serve at this time in our history. Alpha Phi Alpha’s brand is precious, and we must do everything we can as brothers to protect it. I assure you that during this administration, however brief, we will set a new way forward with full transparency. Members require it, and they are owed nothing less. We have a lot of work to do. Alpha Phi Alpha must continue to lead despite the challenges we face ahead. We must remember, we have been here before. We have to lead with a fraternal heart and spirit—a fraternal heart that loves the brotherhood, and one another unconditionally. A fraternal spirit that rules our hearts, guides our thoughts and controls our lives so that we may become through thee, servants of all. H
4 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Why Proper Planning, Membership Views and Opinions Matter
Several years ago, we established a very comprehensive
strategic plan to guide our deliverable initiatives and program priorities. As a membership and democratic institution, we elect trusted representatives to provide leadership, guidance and vision. The leadership derives its power from the membership.
The strategic plan clearly outlines the process that we “will utilize to continue to develop tomorrow’s leaders, promote brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities.” As we continue in our second century of leadership and service, it is very important that the entire brotherhood, not just the board of directors, continues to assess where we are today and where we are going in the future—collectively as an organization. For us to continue to be the premiere organization for “the better making of men,” we must continuously refine our processes and respond to the internal and external forces that are ever present within and around us. The leadership must be, unequivocally, responsive and answerable to the governed, regardless of whose ox may be gored. For the leadership to be trusted and goodwill engendered, fidelity, prudence, transparency and accountability must not be catchy phrases, but part of an active and actionable state of mind as we collectively and individually discharge our fiduciary duties and obligations. I believe that the membership understands that sometimes—despite best intentions, proper planning and deployment of best efforts—the outcome(s) may not be so desirable. In such instances, the leadership must level with the membership by providing a candid and coherent assessment of the issues. As we plan and orchestrate for better days ahead, let us be mindful of the tenets of brotherhood and be guided accordingly. Proper consultation and consideration will engender goodwill and cooperation.
Hyacinth C. Ahuruonye, CPA is general treasurer of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
While the membership must never be afraid to hold the leadership accountable, the members equally have an obligation to continuously help in the assessment of organizational relevance, infrastructure, mission and community impact. We all should understand and honestly deal with the fact that these are very challenging and tumultuous times. There are sacrifices to be made; burdens to be shared. However, out of these challenges lie great opportunities. Leadership must acknowledge mistakes and/or shortcomings, where and when appropriate and provide meaningful and corrective actions. Alpha has an enviable membership profile with a treasure trove of talents and resources. As the leadership continues to improve on the deliverables and strengthen our organizational infrastructure, we welcome constructive suggestions, critiques, chastisement and solutions to identified challenges. Please share your talents, treasure and resources for the betterment of our House. Proper planning and continuous consideration of membership views and opinions will enhance better outcomes for us all. Remember, membership views and opinions matter. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Fiscal Prudence Is Now the Order of the Day
It is indeed an honor to bring fraternal greetings as your
comptroller. Since our last national convention in Chicago, at which I was elected, I have largely devoted my time to assessing our accounting policies and procedures, working to improve our financial reporting, and helping to ensure that we operate within budget. In October, I was appointed chairman of the newly created Board Oversight Committee, established to provide greater assurance that fraternal spending is controlled, fiscal challenges are appropriately addressed, and the fraternity continues to enjoy the success it has always achieved. It is vitally important that Alpha stays on a path of continuous fiscal improvement, as our responsibility is to excel, not just equal. Please be assured that I remain committed to the highest level of corporate financial stewardship, and that our current fiscal affairs and financial house remain in good order. I am happy to have been able to deliver a full financial report at the recent regional conventions, and I remain fraternally grateful for your trust and confidence. H Steven Sims is comptroller of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. email@example.com
6 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Making Strong Our Weakest Links
Fifteen years ago, on Feb. 22, 1997, I had the honor of
joining Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity along with five other brothers (Wesley O. Biles II, Corbin Coleman, Ameen Rassan Burton, Lester L. Holmes Jr. and Jamaine Hubbard). Although time has passed since our initiation, we continue to serve and be of service to this great fraternity, by all of us remaining financial. There have been times when some of us were unable to pay our grand tax; however, a collective decision was made to fill the void for each other. In return, when resources were available, whoever received assistance would pay it forward for another brother from our initiation class.
On our journey to becoming Alpha men, we were taught that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Fifteen years later, Alpha Phi Alpha is confronted with a multitude of links that require restoration, ranging from a lack of missionfocused chapters to risk-management issues. As I consider what it will take to regain strength in some of these areas, I think it is essential to look at the positive attributes being displayed by our future leaders. I am proud of my college brothers for going against the grain to destroy the poison that created a constant revolving door of foolishness. I am blessed to know men who have decided to live, internalize and heed the collective words we all have heard, read, and at one point in time, written, so it would abide eternally in our hearts. I am also pleased with high GPAs, but I also take joy in brothers who pull their weight while helping others achieve academic success. The time to realign has come! We can no longer allow “kinks” to cause disconnection within the House of Alpha. It takes every Alpha man’s force to fortify and sustain the chain of brotherhood. I have a magnitude of respect for the gentlemen who have decided to place their hands on the plough. It is to you I can look and say, there goes an Alpha Man, as you are a part of the permanent foundation.
William Douglass Lyle is executive director and chief operating officer of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc firstname.lastname@example.org
Brothers, please take time to identify and examine your weakest links. Do not be a part of the problem; be the solution. Once progress is made, remember to impart wisdom unto others, for “Alpha’s greatest interest lives outside ourselves.” H
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
TRAGEDY in SANFORD FEB. 26, 2012: Trayvon Martin, 17, is shot and killed around sunset by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, while returning to his father’s fiancée’s house in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Martin is unarmed and carrying a small amount of cash, some candy and an iced tea. Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white Hispanic, had previously called 911 to report “a suspicious person” in the neighborhood. He is instructed not to get out of his SUV or approach the person. Zimmerman follows anyway, and ,moments later, neighbors report hearing gunfire. MARCH 12: Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee says that Zimmerman, who declares self-defense, has not been charged because there are no grounds to disprove his story of the events. The death of the unarmed African American teen sparks cries of racial profiling. MARCH 14: The case is turned over to
Alpha Demands Justice By Rick Blalock IN MARCH, Alpha Phi Alpha called on all law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and quickly resolve the shooting homicide case of Trayvon Martin. Reports say that on Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon, 17, was shot while walking to the home where his father was, in Sanford, Fla., just north of Orlando. The teen was carrying a bag of candy and a soft drink when he was approached by George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer in the gated community. Zimmerman told police that he shot Trayvon in self-defense, even though police had warned him not to pursue
Trayvon during a call to alert police of his suspicions about Trayvon. It took nearly three weeks before the local prosecutor’s office decided that a grand jury would investigate. In a statement, the state attorney for Brevard and Seminole Counties, Norman R. Wolfinger, said: “I respectfully request that the public remain patient as this process continues forward.” A short time later, the U.S. Justice Department said its Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, would investigate Trayvon’s death. The fraternity has been conferring
the Florida State Attorney’s Office. MARCH 16: After pressure from the mayor, authorities finally release seven 911 calls from the night of the shooting. In another recording, Zimmerman, against the advice of the 911 dispatcher, follows Martin. In one of the recordings, a voice screams “Help, help!” in the background, followed by the sound of a gunshot. MARCH 19: The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI announce an investigation into Martin’s death.
8 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
George Zimmerman enters court.
TRAGEDY in SANFORD MARCH 20: Law firm of Alpha
Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton (center), addresses a rally as Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, and family attorneys Benjamin Crump (far left) and Brother Daryl Parks (far right) look on.
In Killing of Black Teen
Brother Daryl Parks and Benjamin Crump, representing the Martin family, holds news conference, telling reporters that Trayvon was on the phone with his 16-yearold girlfriend at the time of the shooting. She says she heard an altercation commence before the
with the victim’s family and their lawyers. Trayvon’s family is represented by Alpha member Daryl D. Parks, a partner at the Parks & Crump law firm in Tallahassee, Fla. “We are happy that the federal government is now pursuing the matter, but the local authorities have moved too slow,” said Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., 33rd general president of the fraternity. “This is an outrageous event and we are outraged by it.” The 911 recording from a neighbor captured the killing on tape. On it, Trayvon’s mother says it is her son pleading for help before a gunshot rings out. Police arrested Zimmerman after a special appointed state prosecutor decided to bring second-degree murder charges weeks after Trayvon was dead and buried. The arrest and ultimate prosecution comes after thousands of fraternity brothers began using social media platforms to spread the word about the case. Brothers say thanks to the good use of social media, the world is now becoming aware of the travesty and tragedy that have taken place. “It’s hard to imagine, that in 2012, African Americans still have to worry about simply walking down the street, but as we have learned from this case, that sad
fact remains,” said James Crumel, Alpha’s Southern Region vice president from his Tallahassee, Fla., regional office. “Members of the fraternity in Florida are monitoring the situation, and have reached out to the family and community to let the Martin family know they are not alone in their pursuit of justice,” said John Ellis, Alpha’s Florida District director, who oversees operations in the state for the organization from his office in Orlando. The fraternity, with its massive network of members in the U.S. and around the world, called on elected officials, civic and business leaders and its more than 200,000 members to sign an online petition urging action, including participating in rallies and marches. “This is just unconscionable to anyone of any decency, whether you are black, white or Latino,” said Ellis. “Justice must be meted out, and swiftly, in order to maintain the civility that must be the order of the day in the midst of a very emotional and tense situation.” “Trayvon’s death has raised the level of consciousness in our country,” said Brother Daryl Parks. “Our legal team continues its crusade for justice on behalf of the Martin family.”H
phone connection went dead. MARCH 22: An online petition calling for Zimmerman’s arrest surpasses 1.3 million people; the same day, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee says he will “temporarily” step aside after being criticized for the department’s handling of the fatal shooting. MARCH 22: Florida Gov. Rick Scott appoints state attorney Angela B. Corey of the 4th Judicial Circuit to oversee the case, replacing Norman Wolfinger, state attorney for the 18th District, which includes Sanford. MARCH 23: President Barack Obama speaks out publicly for the first time on the case. He says if he had a son “he would look like Trayvon.” Obama says the episode requires national “soul-searching.” MARCH 26: One month after the shooting death, rallies take place in cities across the U.S., including Sanford. City leaders hold a town hall meeting. Martin’s parents speak at meeting. Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
TRAGEDY in SANFORD
Justice For Trayvon Martin? Alpha Phi Alpha Joins the Fight
MARCH 28: Zimmerman’s father, Robert, defends his son on television saying Trayvon threatened to kill Zimmerman and then beat him so badly Zimmerman was forced to shoot. MARCH 29: Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., appears on CNN and says medical records will prove that his brother was attacked and his nose was broken by Trayvon Martin.
Kappa Kappa Chapter members show solidarity during march for justice. From left: Brothers John L Colbert, chapter adviser Nehemiah Stephens, Philip J. Lambey Jr., University of Arkansas student body president Michael Dodd and Brother Cameron W. Woods.
APRIL 2: FBI agents interview Martin’s
Kappa Kappa Chapter • University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
16-year-old girlfriend, who was on the phone with him, shortly before he was shot. APRIL 3: Zimmerman lawyers up with Craig Sonner and criminal defense attorney Hal Uhrig. APRIL 7: Zimmerman launches a website to raise money for his defense.
KAPPA KAPPA CHAPTER at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UA) demonstrated the fraternity’s aims of manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind by leading their school in a march and vigil against injustice in April. Brothers Nehemiah Stephens, Philip J. Lambey Jr. and Cameron Woods worked alongside the University of Arkansas’ chapter of the National Pan Hellenic Council, as well as the UA Black Student Association, in the “Shining Light on Injustice” peace movement. The short march and vigil, sparked by the Trayvon Martin shooting-death case, included a poem by Stephens and addresses from the president of the student body and the university’s vice provost of diversity affairs. H
Tau Chapter • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
APRIL 9: Prosecutor Angela Corey announces the case will not go to a grand jury. APRIL 10: Zimmerman’s attorneys tell the media they have lost contact with him and remove themselves from representation. APRIL 11: Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. His new lawyer, Mark O’Mara, tells the media Zimmerman has surrendered. APRIL 18: It is announced that Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. will take over George Zimmerman’s case, after the first judge had a conflict.
10 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Brother Obinna Onyeukwu holds a candle as Brother Brian Thompson ends the vigil with a closing prayer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. PHOTO BY WILLIAM SHI/THE DAILY ILLINI.
IN ILLINOIS, the members of Tau Chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign held a “Shoot First: Trayvon Martin Vigil” to pay respect and honor the memory of Trayvon Martin. The brothers led students on campus in a silent lap, around the university’s main quad. Following the lap the crowd assembled at the Illini Union, where there were three spokenword performances by students. Two members of the faculty addressed the
NEWS Tau Chapter • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign cont’d audience before the brothers initiated a call to action, and then concluded with a prayer. “We conducted this vigil because the murder of Trayvon Martin is something that happens in America all the time,” said Bryan Thomas Jr., secretary of Tau Chapter. “Yet, these stories never make major headlines. Since we have the country’s attention, it is crucial that America understands that racial injustice still occurs in society.” “Oftentimes, African Americans are portrayed as being the perpetrators or the suspects in similar situations. Actually, Trayvon was the victim, and now his family is, too. It is pivotal that we find justice for Trayvon Martin and his family,” said Thomas. H
TRAGEDY in SANFORD APRIL 20: Zimmerman’s bond is set at $150,000. During the bond hearing, Zimmerman apologizes to Trayvon
Psi Chapter • University of Pennsylvania • Philadelphia, Pa.
Brother Ike Onyeador (right), a fall 2011 initiate at Psi Chapter, marches with other students at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Martin’s family. His wife testifies that the
BROTHERS IN Philadelphia saw what happened in Florida, and immediately put Alpha into action. “At a majority-white school, it was essential that the black students united and acted against this travesty,” said Victor Scott, president of Psi Chapter at the University of Pennsylvania. “We held strategy meetings, discussed what we thought we could and should do, and the tireless efforts of a select few Penn students led to a successful march on campus with more than 200 people.” The march started on the campus and moved onto the streets of Philadelphia, culminating in a citywide rally. H
family has no savings. APRIL 23: Zimmerman is released on bail and enters a written not guilty plea and waives his right to appear at his arraignment. APRIL 30: The court considers increasing Zimmerman’s bond after learning that a website setup by him may have raised as much as $200,000 in donations. MAY 8: Judge Kenneth Lester accepts Zimmerman’s written plea of not guilty. MAY 15: A medical report by George
Tau Delta Chapter • Florida Memorial University • Miami, Fla.
Zimmerman’s family doctor, taken a day after the Feb. 26 shooting, shows Zimmerman was diagnosed with a fractured nose, two black eyes and two cuts on the back of his head. JUNE 1: The judge revokes Zimmerman’s bail and orders him back to jail within 48 hours. The decision is a result of a hearing where prosecutors reveal recorded phone conversations of the couple (that occurred before the April 20 bond hearing). They are heard talking about thousands of dollars they’ve raised from their website, as much as $135,000.
Brothers of Tau Delta Chapter at Miami’s Florida Memorial University hosted a forum about the Trayvon Martin case on March 28, 2012. Also attending the event were Trayvon’s older brother Jahvaris Fulton (in the blue shirt) and his cousin Charles (in the green shirt).
Continued on page 49 Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Another Alpha is On First Class Stamp
Postal Service Honors John H. Johnson JOHN H. JOHNSON put his stamp on the publishing industry more than half a century ago when he founded Ebony in Chicago. Now, he has a stamp of his own that is good forever. This February, the U.S. Postal Service issued a new Black Heritage Forever Stamp, commemorating the pioneering entrepreneur and publisher. Brother Johnson, the founder of Johnson Publishing Company, which also publishes Jet magazine, is the 35th honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series, which recognized the achievements of prominent African Americans through the Black Heritage series since 1978. Johnson joins a long list of Alpha men who have graced a U.S. postage stamp, including Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall and Paul Robeson. Others who have been honored include Jackie Robinson, Marian Anderson, Langston Hughes and Barbara Jordan.
VIEWPOINT: Travyon Martin is Every Young Boy By William E. Flippin, Sr.
IT WAS EARLIER this spring that I officiated at a midday funeral of a 19-year-old who was murdered near Atlanta. The killer drove a vehicle over the lifeless body after shooting the victim several times. It was the result of an altercation that happened, apparently, after comments made on Facebook. It was yet another senseless and horrible crime, the kind that seems to be occurring all over our country and taking so many of our young people. And far too many of them are young black men who should be planning a bright and hopeful future, not dying before their time. Thus, the tragic dilemma and death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. The incident has touched every corner of the United States and has made international headlines. Like the Atlanta murder I am speaking of, Trayvon’s death is not any more significant than others we have lost. However, just as the murder of Emmit Till awakened the sluggish conscious of America, so has Trayvon’s death ignited the conscience of the masses. This spotlight has not only placed the conditions of the black community under observation, but has challenged the ongoing discussion—or lack thereof—of race relations in our country. This is another wake-up call to the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
12 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
“John Johnson’s unyielding commitment to journalistic excellence and his unparalleled reporting on African-American culture have distinguished him as one of America’s greatest publishers,” said USPS Chicago Senior Plant Manager Anthony Vaughan. “I’m immensely proud that my father and his life’s passion are being recognized in such a high honor as the Black Heritage Stamp,” said Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of the company. “His legacy lives on in all whom he touched and in the work we continue to do daily.” Johnson was the trailblazing publisher of Negro Digest, Ebony, Jet, and other magazines that showcased African-American accomplishments at a time when such affirmation was rare in mainstream media. In 1946, the year after it was founded, Ebony landed its first national advertising account. Selling advertising space to white-owned corporations and persuading them to use black models in their ads were major breakthroughs. By the time of his death at age 87, he commanded a business empire encompassing magazines, cosmetics, radio stations, book publishing and more. In 1982, he became the first black person to appear on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in America. The stamp is on sale at post offices nationwide, online at usps. com and by phone at (800) 782-6724. H
to continue the manifestation of our vision and mission. Our call “to aid downtrodden humanity” must always be the torch we carry. During this episode, many have worn hoodies, given speeches and sermons, and marched in the streets of American cities. However, now it is time for us to cease the rhetoric and begin to make a meaningful change by working to uplift all the Trayvon Martins of America. As Alpha men, we have a greater responsibility to be: First of All: In situations of injustice we ought to always be the first to take the lead in action, activism and accountability. Servants of All: Our call to all the Trayvon Martins around the globe is a call to empower, enlighten and encourage young black men through our example of servant leadership. We Shall Transcend All: When we pull together, speak and act as Alpha men, these situations will become moments of transformation—not tragedy. Our prayers and support go out to the Martin family and other families who have been unjustly treated by the justice system. We stand strong as a fraternity that will always encourage youth like Trayvon Martin to move “onward and upward toward the light.” H William E. Flippin Sr. is the chaplain of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Reach him at: email@example.com.
Alpha Brother Will Head McDonald’s
Thompson Succeeds Skinner as CEO MCDONALD’S CORPORATION has announced that Don Thompson, president and chief operating officer will assume the top executive post effective July 1, 2012, as its vice chairman and CEO Jim Skinner is retiring. Thompson, 48, was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha in 1983 at Gamma Rho Chapter, while a student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He becomes the first African American to head the world’s No. 1 fast-food restaurant company. “As we look to the future, the board has every confidence that Don’s strategic leadership and global business insight make him the ideal CEO,” said Andy McKenna, chairman of McDonald’s board of directors. “His track record of performance, as president and COO of McDonald’s Corporation and president of McDonald’s USA, speak to his qualifications to further drive the company’s momentum.”
Skinner, 67, became McDonald’s CEO in November 2004. “Don Thompson is well prepared for the CEO role, and under his leadership, our company will continue to meet the needs of our 68 million customers around the world every day. With Don at the helm, I am extremely confident in the future of McDonald’s,” said Skinner. “I’m honored by the board’s election,” said Thompson. “I’m humbled to take the baton as CEO of McDonald’s.” Brother Thompson became president and COO of McDonald’s in January 2010. In this capacity, he has directed global strategy and operations for more than 33,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 119 countries. Previously, he served as president of McDonald’s USA from 2006 until 2010. In that role, he was responsible for the strategic direction and positive business results of the nearly 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. A 22-year veteran of the McDonald’s
Brother Don Thompson
business, Thompson began as an electrical engineer in 1990. Since then, he has held a variety of leadership positions in the U.S. business and global system. In addition to serving on McDonald’s board of directors, Thompson is a member of the board of directors of Exelon Corporation and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He also is a trustee of his alma mater, Purdue University. H
N.Y. Governor Taps Alpha’s Harris for Exhibit
Celebrating Black History Month in New York: From left, Brother Robert L. Harris Jr., Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and former N.Y. Gov. David Patterson
NEW YORK GOV. ANDREW M. CUOMO appointed Alpha Phi Alpha Historian Robert L. Harris, Jr. to develop a Black History Month Exhibit for the state capitol. The exhibit featured stories of 29 AfricanAmerican New Yorkers who made major contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, arts and letters, innovation and entrepreneurship, politics and sports. It also included artifacts from black organizations founded in the empire state, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Harris, also a professor of history at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a former Alpha Midwestern Region assistant vice president, added a special touch to the exhibit by including a rare copy of the first edition of the fraternity’s history book and a copy of the second issue of The Sphinx. H
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Race for 34th General President Ends June 30
Alpha Phi Alpha Names Acting General President
Ballots to be Counted, Election Certified in July
33rd General President Mason’s Suspension Leaves Vacancy ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY appointed Brother Aaron Crutison Sr. its acting general president in April. The appointment was necessary to fill a vacancy created in the Office of General President on Sunday, April 21, 2012, upon the fraternity’s suspension of 33rd General President Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr. The fraternity Board of Directors suspended Mason’s membership for an initial period of 60 days, for violations of the fraternity’s rules and regulations. Suspension of a Brother Aaron Crutison Sr. member disqualifies him from participating in any and all fraternity activities, in any capacity, until restored to good standing. During the 60day period, the Board was to conduct an investigation to determine the full scope of and severity of the violations. Crutison, the Western regional vice president, assumed the interim post immediately upon his appointment by the fraternity’s past general presidents. H
IMDP Shows Progress
By Zollie Stevenson Jr. and Darren M. Morton
SPRING 2012 marked the second year of the three-year pilot of the Initial Membership Development Program (IMDP) Pilot. Implementation of the IMDP Pilot demonstrates the benefit of diverse thought and inclusive collaboration within the fraternity. The Membership Intake Taskforce, composed of college and alumni brothers from all five regions, incorporated changes based on the results of feedback from members and neophytes who participated in the IMDP Pilot and who responded to the evaluation survey questions, as well as input by cluster deans and
14 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
THE TWO NOMINEES for office of 34th general president have spent a year crisscrossing the country in hopes of persuading Alpha brothers to vote for them. In July, the winner will be announced at the summer Board of Directors meeting in Atlanta, Ga. From the moment the nominees—Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. (first place) and Mark Tillman (second place)—were announced the campaign’s general-election cycle was underway. Tillman, the immediate past Midwestern regional vice president, began promoting his computer and information systems technology prowess. Smothers, the regional vice president of the Southwestern Region, launched a campaign centered on a theme to boost the fundraising machination of the fraternity, with his CAMPAIGN FOR ALPHA capital endowment plan to raise $25 million over five years. Each nominee made the rounds of all five regional conventions. Tillman used an oversized wooden key at each stump speech to emphasize and implore brothers to give him the “keys” to the General Office. He belted at the start of each speech: “I got my key!” Smothers chose to use the power of oratory and poetry, often citing excerpts of the poem “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by Brother Freeman Montaque. When the ballots are finally counted, the historic race will come to a close and the new era will begin. But it will not have come cheap. Both campaigns have raised and spent more than $65,000 each, not including in-kind donations of services and goods. Elections Committee Chairman Tom Phillips of Missouri said some 20,000 ballots were mailed to active brothers in April. All ballots must be postmarked by June 30. H
regional vice presidents were incorporated into IMDP for 2011-12. Some of the changes included tightening the schedule so that Sundays were excluded from the four-weekend process, tweaking some of the lectures and associated materials, replacing some of the transition ceremonies and specifying the participation schedule and role of sponsors. During spring 2011, clusters in 16 districts participated in the IMDP Pilot representing Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Mid-Atlantic, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Northern California, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rocky Mountain, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Tri-States and Virginia. Of the 220 who participated in IMDP during spring 2011, 191 became brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha
Fraternity, compared with more than 1,200 candidates who became brothers through the old Membership Intake Process (MIP). Currently all of the districts in the Eastern and Southwest Regions are participating in IMDP, bringing the total of participating districts up to 21. During fall 2011 and spring 2012, the number of candidates who became Alpha brothers through IMDP increased, with 296 crossing in fall 2011 and 552 crossing in spring 2012. In comparison, 529 candidates became brothers through MIP during fall 2011 and 510 during the spring 2012. As regional vice presidents grant permission for additional districts to participate in IMDP and as they limit use of the MIP, the number of those who participate in IMDP will increase. H
ALL THESE LEGAL
All Things Legal: A Perspective
By Keith A. Bishop, J.D.
In 2010, the 33rd General President Herman â€œSkipâ€?
excellence on the part of members and applicants are unique additions to our new process. The fraternity also continues to enhance its riskactivities when it became apparent that our members management posture. Hazing and brutality have long been were not behaving honorably. We saw injuries and banned and do not serve any part of our mission. Alpha Phi hospitalizations that threatened us financially. We had, at Alpha has never supported the concept of physical brutality the time of the moratorium, two threatened lawsuits, three as a means of service or transcendence. And it never will; we pending lawsuits and several other allegations of injuries. will rebuke, suspend and de-charter chapters that participate The board of directors and General Convention ratified in these unlawful acts. the general presidentâ€™s actions by We recognize the prevalence extending the moratorium under of hazing on college campuses a plan of Targeted Intake. Only Alpha Phi Alpha has never and at high schools across the Alpha chapters in good standing country. We witness sports teams, are permitted to participate in the supported the concept of marching-band groups and military new membership-intake process. physical brutality as a means academies engage in various The General Convention forms of hazing. We note, with approved the new Initial of service or transcendence. some horror and amusement, the Membership Development Process And it never will; we will depiction of hazing in the movies (IMDP) as a pilot, and after an initial test run, authorized an rebuke, suspend and de-charter and on television. We know that hazing is a expanded IMDP pilot program chapters that participate in part of the American culture. We to discover its strengths and know that hazing preceded Alpha weaknesses under prevailing and these unlawful acts. Phi Alpha. We know that hazing realistic conditions. It is expected is a major concern at colleges that IMDP will replace the and universities in the U.S. and previous Membership Intake around the world. Process (MIP), which has, over the years, shown to be a We must and we will continue to set the tone of process not adaptable to dishonorable conduct. anti-hazing policies. I hope as each of you ponder The IMDP pilot program is being implemented your role in the future of our great fraternity, that within a zero-tolerance, anti-hazing policy. A culture of you will reflect on the Alpha tradition of excellence, strict compliance is being cultivated. All participants are and work to ensure that the House of Alpha remains being trained to appreciate that ad hoc exceptions to strong by thwarting hazing and other violations of the IMDP rules are not permitted. Long-term planning the fraternity at every turn. is at the core of the process. Greater transparency If we do this, we can take comfort in declaring that this and accountability modules are now features of the House will always be secure and strong. H IMDP curriculum. The requirement of criminalbackground checks and greater emphasis of academic Mason, Jr. issued a moratorium on all membership intake
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
WO R L D
A F F A I R S
Iran: A Game-Changer By Eric Ham
Of the many highstakes issues confronting the United States heading into the 2012 General Election, perhaps none are more compelling and wrought with the potential for nuclear Armageddon than the threat of a nucleararmed Iran. According to Michael Makovsky, foreign policy director at the Washington, D.C.based Bipartisan Policy Center, there is no more important issue of our day or one that can alter the landscape of this (presidential) election, than Iran. In recent months, the U.S., along with the international community, has implemented crippling economic sanctions on Iran, the likes not seen on any country except Libya. The Islamic Republic of Iran has endured U.S. economic penalties since 1979, but sanctions dramatically escalated in 2010 as the country’s leaders in Tehran have refused to abide by United Nations resolutions requiring it to suspend enrichment of uranium. As the sanctions began to take their toll on the Iranian regime, the war of words have escalated in this
16 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
high-stakes game of chicken, with U.S. ally Israel threatening preemptive strikes against Iran. To many, Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are seen as threat to Israel’s very survival, which only raises the stakes politically at home as a the Jewish vote in key states is crucial in any presidential election. This only makes the situation more intriguing as Israel has telegraphed that, should it decide on military strikes against Iran, it will probably do so without advance warning to the U.S. How this plays out for a war-weary electorate after more than a decade of military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan remains to be seen. As the drumbeat gets louder, another player emerges that could raise the stakes even higher: China. In a recent report from the Atlantic Council, the nonpartisan think tank devoted to promoting transatlantic cooperation and international security, it states: “The big story of the last decade for Iranian trade has been that of increasing reliance on China. Since 2001, Chinese exports to Iran have increased nearly 16-fold, to $12.2 billion, while Iranian exports to China last year amounted to $16.5 billion … China’s trade with Iran accounts for nearly 18 percent of Iran’s total commerce, and is second only to that with the entire 27-member European Union.” Moreover, China appears ambivalent about Iran’s nuclear progress and values its relationship with a major power in the Persian Gulf
more than it does its concerns about nuclear proliferation. It has also been suggested that China is playing a “dual game” seeking to retain access to Iran’s oil and gas resources to meet China’s increasing demand for energy while also trying to stay on good terms with the U.S. Some elements in China would prefer Iran develop a nuclear weapon to ensure the U.S. stays preoccupied in the Gulf region rather than concentrate its resources in East Asia, where China’s main interest resides. Americans are preoccupied with jobs and the economy as the issue that may well shape the outcome of November elections. But it is important that those of us who occupy the U.S.A. ponder a few critical questions and come to some conclusions: 1) What are the implications of the above mentioned world affairs? 2) How are these occurrences and circumstances tied together? 3) How do these developments play a role in our collective future especially as we head to the ballot box in November? One thing is certain, however, it appears more than a notion that the Iran imbroglio may be the ultimate gamechanger. H
Episcopal Church Elects Alpha Man to Lead Atlanta Diocese THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE of Atlanta has elected its 10th bishop, and first AfricanAmerican leader. Alpha Phi Alpha member, the Very Rev. Robert C. “Rob” Wright will take over in October. Atlanta’s diocese is the ninth largest among the Episcopal Church’s 110 dioceses. It has jurisdiction over middle and north Georgia, with 96 parishes and more than 50,000 members. “I think the biggest challenge for us and all of mainstream Christianity is to begin to talk about the good news of Jesus Christ and what his message means in the 21st century,” said Wright. Brother Wright, a 2010 initiate of the fraternity, is a member of Eta Lambda Chapter. He says he will partner with Episcopalians across the diocese and reach
The Very Rev. Brother Robert C. Wright delivers a sermon.
out to all generations, especially young people. With more than two million members, the Episcopal Church in the United States, a province of the Anglican Communion of Churches, is one of the largest in the worldwide denomination. Wright has been rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in southwest Atlanta for
Alpha Phi Alpha Well Represented at Second Inaugural of First Woman Liberian President
The Very Rev. Brother Robert C. Wright
10 years and is dean of the diocese’s MidAtlantic Convocation. Prior to that, he was canon pastor and vicar for two years at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, where he was chaplain at the Cathedral School for two years before that. Wright served as a U. S. Navy helicopter crew chief and search and rescue diver from 1982 to 1987. He then worked in organizations that serve youth in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Children’s Defense Fund, and served two mayors of Washington DC as a child advocate. Wright graduated from Howard University and has a master’s degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. The diocese’s current bishop, the Right Rev. J. Neil Alexander, 58, is stepping down to join Emory University as a professor of liturgics and leader of the university’s Department of Anglican Studies at the Candler School of Theology. Brother Wright is to be ordained as bishop on Oct. 13 at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, in Atlanta.H
IN JANUARY, history was made once again in Liberia when the country’s (and Africa’s) first female elected leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated fora second six-year term. Several members of Alpha Phi Alpha attended the ceremony, as did U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other world leaders. In her inaugural address, Johnson Sirleaf called for political reconciliation after a runoff election that was tarnished by an opposition boycott and street clashes between protesters and the police. First elected in 2005, and the only woman in Africa serving as president, Johnson Sirleaf overwhelmingly won the runoff with 90.8 percent of the vote. She was forced into the runoff after failing to reach more than 50 percent in the first round of voting, when 16 candidates were on the ballot. She says this election cemented Liberia’s transition to democracy after years of strife. In 2010, Johnson Sirleaf shared the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to stabilize the country and promote women’s rights. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
States traveled from the United en m a ph Al i tion of Alpha Ph manly deeds, ars ago, a delega put the imprint of ye to e 50 er an th t th en e w or M ey n a fraternal and of Africa. Th ent there to begi ic to the Motherl w nt la ey At Th e a. th ri ss be ro Li ac a, kind on Monrovi love for all man ericans. scholarship and many African Am of s or st ce an e land of th movement in the vid N. Howell, Oct. 6, 1958. Da on a vi ro on M in was established of Eta Epsilon chapter in Africa charter members e th e er w rs he The first Alpha ot and 17 Alpha br ty of Liberia and e Liberia YMCA, d at the Universi he is bl ta es r te former CEO of th la r, Kappa Phi, was er the decades. A second chapte there dimmed ov ce en es pr s a’ Lambda Chapter. ph urney to West Unfortunately, Al again made a jo ersity in 1976. ce on rs he ot Br . Cuttington Univ ary of this year will discover in changed in Janu h more, as you uc m d di so al ey However, all that th ni chapter. But artered the alum Africa and rech ria.” etters from Libe these poignant “L –Rick Blalock
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRYAN J.A. KELLY
18 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
By Sean L. McCaskill
n describing my experiences from the fraternity’s recent trip to the Republic of Liberia, I have to report a wide range of poignant moments, from misinformed to enlightenment! Overall, the experience was lifechanging and brought to the forefront of my mind that the people of the African Diaspora in the United States are truly misinformed about the current state of affairs in parts of Africa, and in particular Liberia. Unfortunately, many of us have lost our connection to the Motherland and see the struggles of our brothers and sisters as fighting amongst themselves. Being misinformed is a direct result of generations of reconditioning of the minds of the people of the Diaspora. We must never forget the bleak conditions that cause Africans to suffer. The Republic of Liberia is one of the world’s poorest countries, reporting a formal unemployment rate close to 85 percent. Further, 65 percent of the country is without electricity. The country is only six years removed from civil war, with vivid remnants of mass destruction present all around the countryside. However, the people of Liberia have a strong resolve, and they continue to transcend these current
20 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Alpha’s Easte Vice Preside rn Region leaders in Li nt Christoph beria: Assista President Sea er nt n McCaskill Alexander (left) and Vice (right).
circumstances. Despite the destruction and lack of resources, there is also a sense of pride within the country, stemming from the dynamic, selfless leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She continues to move the country forward with a sense of purpose. We also had the opportunity to visit the campus of Cuttington University. While touring the campus, we were informed that it was in one of the areas that did not have electricity. To our amazement, the university was powered by a generator, kept on a timed schedule. Each day, the generator was turned on at 6 a.m. and turned off at 6 p.m. Moreover, I was moved to find that students use flashlights or
candles to study at night. Even under these conditions, the students were brimming with hope and anticipation for the future. In my observations, there is a correlation between the brothers and sisters of Liberia and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Both have demonstrated great resilience under adverse conditions and the ability to recover when a dream pulls apart. Alpha was founded on the belief that “Dreams Come True.” I now believe, even more, a need and a place exists for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., on the continent of Africa. All of the collective resources, moving toward a common goal, could undoubtedly have an impact on those whose home is Africa, as well as the global diaspora. My experience
enlightened me to understand what the Jewel founders of our beloved Alpha Phi Alpha were attempting to accomplish. In living up to the aims of our dear fraternity, we strengthen our families and communities both domestically and abroad. Men of Alpha have long been instrumental in uplifting downtrodden humanity through monumental impact. I am a firm believer the same will hold true in Liberia once we are able to establish a strong and stable presence, thus improving the quality of life for all citizens there. H
Liberian citizens greet Alpha brothers upon their arrival.
A young man rides through a Monrovia neigborhood.
Alpha brothers greet students at Cuttington University during trip to Liberia.
Alpha Phi Alpha Executive Director William Douglass Lyle greets two young boys.
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
By Michael Sudarkasa
Liberia has been a country intertwined the fabric of my life. I was 10 when my family traveled there in the early 1970s when my mother was undertaking anthropological research while on sabbatical in West Africa.
It was during this period and the first decade of the millennium that I missed much of Liberia’s development because of the civil unrest there. However, during this period, I made many Liberian friends and learned much about the country’s dynamic culture. It was also during this period that I had the opportunity to meet future Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf when she then worked with Equator Bank and our offices were in the same building in Washington, D.C.
The 1980s: I next visited Monrovia in December 1988, just a few years after I was initiated into the fraternity at Epsilon Chapter at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. I was there on a holiday vacation with a colleague who was from Liberia and had invited a group of us home from nearby Ivory Coast, where we worked with the African Development Bank. While there, I enjoyed the best New Year’s Eve party that I had ever attended, and had a great time. I was thus shocked, some months later, to learn from my friend that his father had been killed and the country was descending into civil war.
Fast forward to 2012: What a special honor and sense of being in a historic place at a historic time to be able to participate in President Johnson Sirleaf ’s second inauguration and the re-chartering ceremony of Eta Epsilon Lambda, Alpha’s oldest chapter in Africa. As the current president of Rho Phi Lambda in Johannesburg, South
Brother Michael Sudarkasa is reacquainted with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the rechartering ceremony of Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter in Monrovia, Liberia.
Africa, I like to point out that we were Alpha’s first chapter chartered in the 21st century, but credit must be given to the dynamic brothers in Liberia and within the General Organization who sought to charter the first chapter on the continent, in Liberia, in 1976. The rechartering ceremony, having been graced with the presence of the Liberian president and vice president, was a truly magnificent occasion—from the processional to the lighting of the candles, to the signing of the charter document. It was a privilege to be there, and I was proud to be a part of this expansive period in Alpha’s 100-plus year history—bringing Alpha to Africa, for the mutual benefit of all. H
Far left: 33rd General President Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr. presents the Alpha Phi Alpha Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Medal to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Right: Bro. T. Nelson Williams accepts the charter for the Monrovia chapter.
22 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
By Yvesner Harnould Zamar
One thing resonates in my mind from this historic trip to Liberia: the SNAP! While visiting, I learned that the entire country had a special handshake. The symbolic gesture is depicted in statues and souvenirs all around the country. To the unsuspecting eye, it may be another novelty, but upon speaking to natives, I was told that the handshake is shared with those who are welcomed to the country. Folk legend further explains that the handshake is exchanged as a sign of liberation because slaves would have their middle finger broken or cut off so they could be identified. The handshake is a gesture that is exchanged with both parties joining hands by the pointer and middle finger, and then adding the thumb after ward. Once both parties pull away, they create a celebratory SNAP to represent the Liberation in Liberia! H
Yvesner H. Zamar (left) and Christopher Alexander give each other the SNAP handshake at a historic Liberian landmark.
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
By Tony O. Hubbard
raveling back to Liberia for the first time in 16 years was an experience in itself. It wasn’t until the rechartering and awards ceremony of Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter that I realized that Alpha had presented me with the opportunity of a lifetime: to be a part of history in the making. The fraternity awarded its highest honor upon the country’s president, and I was there to witness it. Together, we reestablished our footprint of service in a city and country that so badly needs African Americans to play a greater role in its growth and development. This opportunity was even more special upon hearing my name called as a recharter member in the presence of the president and vice president of my country. During the evening activities, I then had the opportunity to introduce myself to the vice president of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai. This was more of a reintroduction, as Mr. Boakai and my father have been friends since their childhood days. As we conversed Mr. Boakai asked me how my father was, and if he had traveled back home with me. As I attempted the take a picture with him, a member of his security detail took my camera. They said I had to follow protocol. But, the vice president quickly grabbed the camera and said to his guards, “It’s alright—this is Okay Hubbard’s son. Somebody take the picture.” This moment was particularly special because I had arrived in Liberia two weeks before the rest of the brothers and the Alpha delegation, and for two weeks I had been trying to schedule a meeting with Mr. Boakai, but was unsuccessful. In one night, I had the opportunity to reestablish a connection with my father’s childhood friend, fellowship with the president and vice president of Liberia in the same room, and, most importantly, make Alpha history. It is a memory I shall cherish forever. H
Brother Tony O. Hubbard (left) and Liberian Vice President Joseph N. Boakai at the rechartering ceremony of Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter in Monrovia, Liberia.
24 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
By Hyacinth C. Ahuruonye
t was such an awesome rush, yet a humble moment of reflection, when we landed at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, on Jan. 15, 2012. As members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s delegation, it was a great way to start the new year. This country shares so much history with my native country of Nigeria, and my adopted country and home, the United States. Liberia, now a country of more than four million people, was birthed by freed American slaves in July 1847. My connection to and with Liberia was heightened when I learned that my ancestral paternal parents were from Liberia, a neighboring country to Nigeria.
Brother Hyacinth C. Ahuruonye (right) with Brother T. Nelson Williams, president of Alpha’s Monrovia, Liberia chapter.
I learned much about the country long before this visit, thanks to Alpha Brother William Decker Clarke, a past Eastern region vice president. He told me of the history of the place, and that he was among the last foreign visitors to see Liberian president William R. Tolbert Jr. alive during his trip to Liberia in April 1980. Tolbert, who received the Alpha Award of Honor in 1976, was savagely murdered by soldiers in a coup d’état on April 12, 1980. Since then, there has been so much bloodshed in the country. But now, under the current president, the first female, the country is rebuilding and peace has returned. Our trip’s scheduled activities and initiatives included, but were not limited to, business, social, philanthropic, civic, diplomatic and economic interactions. As Alpha expands globally, it’s imperative that we continue to establish meaningful ties with various spheres and centers of influence. We visited the Liberia National Investment Commission where senior government representatives, including Commission Chairman O. Natty B. Davis, discussed opportunities for business
and civic engagements. We should explore the viability of establishing an Alpha International Investment & Opportunity Fund – so that our membership can take advantage of the connections, access and opportunities. I believe that this will enhance the membership experience as a value-add. The crowning moment, of course, was when I joined several brothers as we conducted the rechartering ceremony of Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter, to which I paid dues to become a member of this historic chapter. Similar to when Alphas were with the Liberian president in 1976, it was very gratifying to see President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf receive the Alpha Award of Honor and the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Medal. During my brief interaction with her, I informed the president that I am a member of the Kpelle tribe of Liberia, She promptly urged me to “come back home and help me rebuild Liberia.” I promised the president that I will be back. H
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
By Roland Shaw
was born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia, and the Alpha trip was the first time I was able to go back home and visit my family in more than five years. I was abroad for school when the Alphas visited in 1976, so I was determined not to miss a chance to be with Alpha brothers on Liberian soil this time around. Alpha and Liberia are uniquely intertwined in my life. I love Alpha and I love Liberia. My interests in both date back to my college days (and unbeknownst to me) to two of my early influences in life: my elementary school principal and the director of my boyhood YMCA. Both were Alpha men. When I attended Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, my first instructor was an Alpha man; my advisor was an Alpha man; the manager where I got my first job was an Alpha man; and the university president, who took personal interest in me when I became Mr. TSU, was an Alpha man as well. For me, Alpha Phi Alpha was not just my fraternity; it was my destiny and identity. The chartering ceremony for Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter was a grand affair rivaling any of the Alpha events I have attended in the United States.
Brother Roland with his biolog Shaw of Houston, Texas rechartering ceical brother, Emanuel, afte(left), r the remony of Eta Chapter in Mon rovia, Liberia. Epsilon Lambda
Goodwill was the monarch of this house as my brother, Emanuel, hosted an afterparty for the Alpha brethren. He understands what Alpha means in my life and gifted me the bejeweled pendant when I was a national finalist for 2008 Outstanding Alumni Brother of the Year representing the Southwestern Region. This trip was a unique circumstance that brought both of my worlds together: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Liberia. And now I am a member of not one, but two Alpha chapters. For that, I am grateful. H
Members of the Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter celebrate at their rechartering ceremony in Monrovia.
26 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
n January I was given the opportunity to be a part of Alpha Phi Alpha’s delegation to the beautiful country of Liberia. In my mind, I simply thought I was being charged with the work of expanding the reach and mission of our great fraternity. Little did I know this trip would be one of the most educational experiences of my life. It also would greatly shape the way I view the world. Upon arriving in Monrovia, Liberia, my first thought was that, somehow, I had been there before. This sense of belonging only grew with each day we spent traveling the countryside, meeting the people of Liberia, and watching as they displayed their daily grit in working for a better tomorrow. For me, this experience was one that connected the dots between a fragmented history of an amazing country that I never fully understood. It was through meaningful site visits and discussions with Liberians that my understanding—and my appreciation— for this great West African country has grown. The apex of the trip, however, was not the museum visits, the guided tours or even being a guest at the second inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (herself a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority). It was our visit to Cuttington University, about 120 miles from Monrovia. Cuttington, as one of two major universities in the country, was the sight of multiple raids and attacks during times of war but it has been the mecca of progress in times of peace. As the sole collegiate representative in the Alpha delegation, visiting this campus and having the opportunity to share experiences with some of the university students here struck a chord in my heart and inspired me more than words can express. The students were the embodiment of perseverance. Despite an incredible lack of resources, assistance and even encouragement, they still are fighting to get an education and shape their own future. They even have to study by candlelight or with flashlights at night because there is no electricity after nightfall. These resolute young people remind me of our most noble and precious Jewels, whose shared hardships brought them together in 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in the Brother Christopher T. united cause of uplift. Like the fraternity’s seven Jewel founders, Alexander (far left) meets Liberian children these Liberian students share a similar spirit and a similar charge. at the Kpatawee waterfall Cuttington University My discussions with them lasted the length of a day, but I intend near in Suacoco, Liberia. to maintain the bond that we formed for a lifetime. In conjunction with the current student government organization, we are already working to first repopulate the university’s library with up-to-date books and then rebuild their student center. I have learned much in my short time in the fraternity, but it has been experiences like this one that have helped me take those lessons learned and put them into action. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
MONEY & BUSINESS
REAL ESTATE INVESTING STILL MAY BE GOOD BET
Couple Finds Nontraditional Ways to Prosper in Troubled Times
I The Woodleys at the beach, enjoying the success real-estate investing has brought them.
n challenging economic times like these, people are looking for creative ways to earn a living. For those who are invested in real estate, portfolios have taken a real beating. Residential mortgages are upside down, and banks continue to restrict the issuance of credit. Freddie and Sucre Woodley, a couple who live in suburban Houston, Texas, have found a way to turn real-estate lemons into lemonade, as detailed in their new book IT WORKS!!!: Achieving Real Estate Prosperity in a Troubled Economy. Freddie, a contractor and real estate investor, says the current abundance of foreclosed houses has created a gold mine of opportunity for investors who are willing to employ unique strategies to buy and sell homes. “Due to a slow economic recovery, high unemployment and falling home values, there is an abundance of foreclosed homes in all price ranges on the market,” said Freddie. “My wife and I achieved investment success, buying
multiple homes at a low price and using a simplistic, owner-financing model to sell the houses at a rate people could afford.” The Woodleys say their goal was to create homeowners and revitalize Detroit’s economically devastated neighborhoods. They created a model to help people make their dreams of homeownership come true, without needing a bank loan. IT WORKS!!! is a real estate-investing guide that includes a comprehensive appendix of ready-to-use marketing and property-management tools. The book details the Woodleys’ strategies for success, including how to: • find low-cost investment properties • find motivated buyers • self-finance the sale • renovate properties using your buyer’s money • earn a profit in 24 months According to Sucre, who in her old job was a healthcare marketing executive, creative thinking is essential to success in today’s troubled economy. “We utilized effective marketing strategies that tapped into people’s desires to be homeowners. You have to find a niche and work it,” she said. Noting the current economic conditions in the United States, the couple did something most business owners don’t do— give away some of their secrets for free. For a limited time, an electronic version of their book is available, free of charge, at www.myitsworking.com. H
28 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Freddie and Sucre Woodley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IT’S YOUR MONEY!
TEN FINANCIAL TIPS FOR 2012
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 401(K) MATCHING PROGRAMS Retirement plans at most companies will match your contribution, up to a certain percentage. The best news? It’s tax-deferred. REVIEW YOUR INVESTMENT/ASSET ALLOCATIONS ON A REGULAR BASIS Many people never go back and review the funds they have chosen to allocate their investments—especially in their retirement plans. You should periodically review the funds to see how those instruments are faring. Then, make adjustments to get the best return on your investment. REASSESS YOUR LIFE INSURANCE NEEDS A lot of people don’t have life insurance policies, but everyone should. If you have a plan, re-read it and check to make certain your beneficiaries are current. Often, people who are selected as life-insurance beneficiaries, especially parents or grandparents or other elders, may die before you. Don’t forget to replace their names with the ones of the new beneficiaries. NOW IS TIME TO ELIMINATE DEBT, NOT CREATE DEBT During the holidays, retailers do everything they can to get you into the store or to buy online. The key to sound financial health is to buy what you need—not what you want. Also, look for deals and bargains and try to buy everything with cash, or use credit-card bonus points to buy gifts, not your credit card. REDUCE AND ELIMINATE CREDIT-CARD BALANCES Start paying more than the minimum requirement each month. The goal is to get your credit debt down to ZERO! The sooner you do that, the sooner you start building wealth!
7 8 9 10
PLAN FOR COLLEGE EDUCATION WITH A 529 PLAN With college costs continually rising, it makes “dollars and sense” to take advantage of this tax-deferred savings plan. A 529 plan is designed to encourage saving for future college costs. Legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” they are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. COLLECT MATERIALS NEEDED TO MAKE BEST USE OF TAX DEDUCTIONS Don’t wait until the last minute to gather receipts and other documentation needed for the tax-return filing season. By having your paperwork in order, you can more readily identify what deductions you may qualify for both federal and state taxes returns. CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT States provide free credit reports, and you should always check your credit rating at least once per year. Knowing your credit score is important so you can better plan your finances. CREATE A WRITTEN BUDGET AND STICK TO IT Every successful business or nonprofit organization operates with a budget of its revenues and expenses. If you don’t have a household or personal budget, create one. If you have one (or after you create it), STICK TO IT. Don’t spend what you don’t have. CREATE AND REVIEW YOUR WILL If you don’t have a simple last will and testament, create one immediately. All of us are going to die one day. It makes for an easier transfer of your wealth and property to loved ones when a legal document says who gets what and how. If you already have a will, take time to review it and update it with any new information and bequests. Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
A Comment from the East: Change in an Ever-Changing Environment By Sean L. McCaskill
THE PURPOSE OF our recent leadership roundup in Portsmouth, Va., was manifold. Particularly, we in leadership understand that brothers of the Eastern Region insist on commitment to selfless leadership. They want us to know that all brothers want sincere and devoted servants of Alpha. They want servants who not only understand that change is a necessity of life, but also servants who have knowledge of how to assist others in making transitions that enable them to embrace the improvements that flow from it. We believe that brothers are the most valuable asset to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. This is why we selected as our theme for the 20112012 roundup, “Pay me with FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) or pay me with Brotherhood!” It was in the Eastern Region that the Seven Jewels first gathered at the “table” of leadership. This academic year, we echo their sentiments and their deeds. At our meeting, we did that with 10 times the number the Jewels started with; we had more than 75 brothers gather at the table in Portsmouth. It was a vantage point that I believe offered keen insight. First, it provided a more extensive view of
Eastern Region brothers gather for a meeting at the “table” of leadership.
the administrative aspects of Alpha Phi Alpha, the mechanisms that make this the great fraternity that it is. Second, it allows all brothers to see the true bond of brotherhood that gives us the opportunity to live in one house of Alpha. We understand that the Eastern Region is in a period of transition with the execution of IMDP and the need for good leadership in each district, in order to safeguard proper implementation of this new process. We are fortunate to have the Jewels’ legacy on which to refer as we deal with so much change. The Jewels provided the ultimate guide in what
30 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
brothers should do in order to bring about progressive leadership. They took calculated risks, developed concrete plans and identified men who could lead—not only the fraternity, but all aspects of the greater society. The Eastern Region Leadership Team has placed great emphasis on ensuring that ALL brothers in the region are properly trained to implement IMDP. As we each seek new meaning and purpose for who we are as fraternity men, what we do in terms of initiating new members and ensuring our legacy of leadership continues into the next century, depends on all of us. Our fraternity was
founded on the belief that dreams come true! Over a century ago, seven college men recognized the need for a strong bond of brotherhood among black men in this country. I share with you a dream that we can see and realize: a dream to be the best Alpha Phi Alpha and to continue to build on the legacy of the visionary founders: Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle and Vertner Woodson Tandy. When brothers change what they believe, brothers change what they do! H
Midwest Region Brothers Inspired by Go To High School, Go To College Program THE FRIGID TEMPERATURE did nothing to stop the influx of students showing up for the weekend ACT/SAT work session at the University of Minnesota. More than 300 high school students in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area spent the weekend preparing for college. The District of Minnesota organized the workshop and provided the volunteers. Students were treated to breakfast, introduced to test-taking skills, and presented an ACT/SAT prep binder containing study materials. All of the materials were free. These aptitude exams are mandatory for admission to most colleges and universities. Scoring well for many of the students can be the difference between getting in a school and getting a rejection letter. “For many children, if they do not achieve a score that the school finds acceptable, it can affect their financial aid, the scholarship they receive, as well it can determine whether or not they can even be admitted,” said Elgie Sims, Midwestern Region vice president. How well students perform on the test also determines if
Students attend a special ACT/SAT prep session sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha’s Midwest Region last fall in Minneapolis, Minn.
they can begin immediately taking college-level courses once they enroll at post-secondary institutions. “Watching these young people get ready for their future was inspiring, to say the least,” said Frederick L. Cox III, Midwest Region assistant vice president. “We need more activities like this—not only in the Midwest, but across the country.” H
Southern Region: Chartering New Waters in New Places THE PAST FEW MONTHS have been an exciting and busy time for brothers in the Southern Region. It had been a long time coming for an official Alpha function in South Carolina. The fraternity, like many other groups, had been boycotting the palmetto state because of the government’s refusal to remove the confederate battle flag from the state capitol flag pole. With the flag now off the building, but still on the grounds, the Southern Region summoned brothers to Columbia in the fall to prepare for the 2012 regional convention. The weekend gathering, September 9-11, also included a meeting of the regional board of directors. Among the major issues discussed during the meeting were the region’s financial position, leadership expectations, accountability and board-development activities aimed at creating more cohesion in the board. The board also had an opportunity to interact and engage with the two nominees
Charter members of Upsilon Theta Chapter at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., stand ready to serve Alpha and all mankind during their chartering ceremony last fall.
for 34th general president: Brothers Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. and Mark S. Tillman. Also during the fall, the seven districts that comprise the Southern Region held their annual district conferences. These conferences provided a platform for advancing fraternal education and fellowship. In addition to hearing the State of the Region addresses from Regional Vice President James Crumel and Assistant Vice President Xavier Jones, the district
conference agendas also included elections for district director and assistant district director positions. Three new district directors and seven new assistant district directors were elected. The Southern Region also conducted three chartering ceremonies. Chapters that were recently chartered are: Upsilon Delta at Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss.; Upsilon Theta at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., and Sigma Beta Lambda in Freeport, Bahamas. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Southwestern Alphas Assemble in Little Rock to Discuss Changes, Future of Fraternity By Roderick L. Smothers, Sr.
Leaders of the Southwestern Region and brothers pack a ballroom for a town hall meeting in Little Rock, Ark., last fall.
BIG THINGS CAN and do happen in small towns. Such is the case with Alpha Phi Alpha’s Southwestern Region, which met in Little Rock, Ark., for its Third Annual Southwestern Regional Leadership Summit and College Brothers Retreat. Brothers from around the region, including Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and the host state of Arkansas, gathered September 30 to October 2. Regional Vice President Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. and Assistant Vice President Roger Sancho presided over the event, held at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Little Rock. Bro. Sancho focused on the college brothers. “As this has been proclaimed by the general president as the year of the college brother, I feel it is important for the future leaders of our organization to be equipped with the skills they need
32 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
in order to take Alpha into the next 105 years,” he said. Sancho organized the College Brothers Leadership Team, a group of current and recently graduated college members who have volunteered to improve the overall experience of college brothers. The team organized and presented information to brothers. Topics ranged from fiscal management to social media to how to retain college members once a recent graduate is eligible to join an alumni chapter. The team also held a town hall meeting, where brothers spoke candidly about the state of the fraternity. Brothers who are a part of the team include: L.C. Austin (Eta Psi); Nehemiah Stephens (Kappa Kappa); Drake Alford (Tau Alpha); Martin Smith (Epsilon Epsilon); Kenn Barnes (Nu Psi); Broderick Rhodes (Theta Alpha); G. Christopher Cutkelvin
(Delta Theta); Kamau Marshall (Delta Theta); Drew Forest (Zeta Tau); Derrick Houston (Theta Chi); Thomas Ghetubah (Tau Xi); Rashaun Robinson (Beta Kappa); Jeremy Miller (Beta Tau Lambda); and Chris Harvey (Xi Kappa Lambda). This year, the summit and retreat focused primarily on the implementation of IMDP, the new membership process, chapter management and the future of the fraternity. In addition to the regional board of directors meeting, a town hall-style meeting was held to discuss brand management. Leading the panel was Brother Walter M. Kimbrough (now president of Dillard University in New Orleans), who at the time was president of PhilanderSmith College in Little Rock. The weekend event concluded with special presentations on
In the West, Brothers are Leading for Tomorrow By Aaron L. Jones
WITH A THEME of “Leading for Tomorrow,” brothers of the Western Region held their Third Annual Western Region Leadership Academy and College Brothers Retreat the weekend of Oct. 8 in Phoenix, Ariz. More than 130 brothers attended the weekend event. It was hosted by Mu Eta Chapter at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Ariz., and Delta Tau Lambda Chapter in Phoenix. Regional Vice President (and now Acting General President) Aaron Crutison Jr. and Regional
Assistant Vice President Cameron Henry presided. The event sought to build upon three principles: impact, infrastructure and innovation. Brothers also spent considerable time on the ASU campus to renew college fraternal spirit and participate in an Alpha Awareness Seminar. The brothers joined Mu Eta Chapter President Jonathan Blair, the only active brother on campus at ASU, in presenting Alpha Phi Alpha to 13 interested young
men at that campus. Many Alpha brothers described the experience as “awesome;” seeing and hearing from the men who are interested in joining the fraternity. During the leadership weekend, brothers discussed the creation of a nonprofit organization for the region called Leading for Tomorrow Foundation, with a mission to increase the impact of the region’s efforts to “Save Our Black Boys.” Brothers also witnessed the early building of a new regional infrastructure, by way of new and extensive training of chapter advisers; the development of a new Regional Constitution; and a dynamic presentation by our Regional Executive Director Jeffery T.D. Wallace. He spoke on the ways in which Alpha men attract new members and maintain the House of Alpha. The members also heard from Brother Ralph Johnson, the longtime director of the Alpha University academy. He moderated a candid conversation on our brotherhood, including how alumni brothers and college brothers should interact and how they should all support each other. H
GETTING IT RIGHT
Brothers gather in the Sheraton Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz., to rebuild the Western Region during the Third Annual Western Region Leadership Academy Weekend and College Brothers Retreat.
In our Spring/Summer 2011 issue, we erred in a story about U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Vincent Brooks (“Third Army Now Answers to Alpha Man”). After receiving a submission from the fraternity’s Special Committee on Military Brothers, we were told Gen. Brooks was a member of Alpha. It turns out, he is not. We do honor him for his service to the country and congratulate him on his appointment by President Barack Obama to three-star rank and his command of Third Army.
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Kappa Chapter Centennial Sheds Light on Service at OSU By Percy Lipsey II and Prentice Lipsey
FOR THE BROTHERS of Alpha Phi Alpha’s Kappa Chapter at the Ohio State University (OSU), in Columbus, Ohio, 2011 was the year to remember: the centennial year of Alpha on the OSU campus. The yearlong celebration began with a reunion of brothers sharing in the centennial celebration on Jan. 13, 2011. Midway through the year, 12 initiates began to carry the torch, and it became increasingly imperative to the brothers that they commemorate Kappa Chapter’s 100 years of service by creating a monument that highlights the Chapter’s contributions made to both Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and OSU. A commemorative monument was dedicated to the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center on campus. It now serves three purposes: to recognize Alpha as a leader in the university’s mission “going from excellence to eminence;” to uphold the aims of the fraternity for another 100 years; and to preserve the strong
legacy that has been established at OSU since 1911. Kappa Chapter was founded on Jan. 13, 1911, and formed out of the Omusu Society (a social literary club). The charter members included Brothers James A. Dunn, Clarence A. Jones, L.H. Hathcock, C.P. Lyman, Fred Holsey, J.C. Kingslow and W.O. Stokes. They, along with other early initiates,
immediately began to influence the House of Alpha and the world. In 1912, Dunn created the first fraternity shield, and at the 5th General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, charter member Clarence A. Jones was elected as general treasurer. He also would become the first African American on record to graduate from the OSU College of Law.
Brother James Dunn of Kappa Chapter at the Ohio State University designed the fraternity shield.
ALPHA EPSILON LAMBDA Jackson, Miss.
Brothers of Alpha Epsilon Lambda Chapter welcome the 33rd general president and guests to Jackson, Miss. Photo by Brother Abron Washington.
34 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
THE BROTHERS of Alpha Epsilon Lambda in Jackson, Miss., under the leadership of President William Merritt, hosted a reception for the 33rd general president during a recent visit to the home of famed attorney and Alpha Brother Issac Byrd. Special guests included the 27th General President Charles C. Teamer Sr. and 29th General President Milton C. Davis. Brothers were greeted by Jackson Mayor Brother Harvey Johnson and many other brothers from the surrounding area. H
CHAPTER NEWS In 1914, chapter member Henry Lake Dickason became the fraternity’s 5th general president. By 1935, Kappa Chapter would begin making more history with the initiation of track standout Jesse Owens, who in the next year, would win four gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Fellow Kappa Chapter Brother David Albritton won a silver medal in the high jump. On Dec. 3, 2011, the chapter successfully capped the centennialcelebration year by raising an obelisk: a monolithic petrified ray and foundation from which to build future success. It is hope that the obelisk will aspire the next generation of leaders within Alpha Phi Alpha who look toward the light. The obelisk was dedicated to the black cultural center, honoring the vision of Brother William E. Nelson Jr. He was in large part responsible for creating the Department of Black Studies at OSU. Nelson was also the primary advocate for establishing the black cultural center on the campus. Nelson was presented his award after a proud and heartfelt tribute made by his son, Atlanta businessman Brother Nick Nelson. H
ALPHA SIGMA LAMBDA Dallas, Texas IOTA KAPPA Paul Quinn College Dallas, Texas BELIEVING IN upholding the motto: “First of All, Servants of All,” members of Alpha Sigma Lambda Chapter in Dallas, Texas, have partnered with Shared Housing Center on several projects. The chapter participated in Christmas and Easter activities
with the affordable-housing organization. The brothers also had the help of members from its Alpha Merit Scholars program. The chapter and Alpha Scholars assisted with setting up the events, games, food service and the break down and cleanup. Also, on April 4, the brothers, along with college brothers from Iota Kappa Chapter at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, volunteered in the relief effort in the city of Lancaster, Texas, after a tornado destroyed homes and businesses. H
Top: Kappa Chapter brothers pose next to the obelisk. Photo by Terry Snead Jr. Left: Obelisk Award honoree Mignon Hale accepts award on behalf of her late husband, Brother Frank W. Hale Jr. (far left) Photo by Terry Snead Jr.
Alpha Sigma Lambda and Iota Kappa brothers volunteer with the Red Cross after a tornado in Lancaster, Texas, in April.
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Beta Omicron Lambda Delivers Toys for Christmas
Members of Beta Omicron Lambda in Mobile, Ala., became “Santa’s helpers” in December 2011. During the chapter’s annual scholarship ball, members collected toys and delivered them to the Mobile Chapter of Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. Making the delivery were Brothers Terry Hazzard, Ronnie Williams, Clifton Bates, Herb Jordan and Gary Jackson. Receiving the gifts were the association’s assistant director Nichelle Williams (far left), and Executive Director Colette M. Huff (second from right).
GAMMA ZETA LAMBDA Tampa, Fla. MEMBERS IN Tampa, Fla., at Gamma Zeta Lambda Chapter held their 13th Annual Alpha Open Scholarship Golf Classic in October 2011, at Lexington Oaks Golf Club. The chapter’s educational nonprofit foundation sponsored the event, which supports its Men of Tomorrow (MOT) Scholarship Program. Brother Phillip Paul is the MOT Program chairman. He says the annual golf tournament is important to the MOT participants and parents because it allows the brothers to give multiple scholarships to young men who probably would not be able to pursue a college education. The MOT Program is not just
36 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
about raising money; it is a multifaceted mentoring program, too, with a holistic approach to young men achieving academic success. One aim is to boost the students’ scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Brothers also hope
DELTA BETA LAMBDA Hampton, Va. THE BROTHERS of Delta Beta Lambda Chapter hosted their 27th Annual MLK Memorial Breakfast in January. The Right Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie, presiding bishop of the 13th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Church, was guest speaker. Brothers and guests from all over the metro area attended the event to honor the late Brother Martin Luther King Jr. McKenzie’s message focused on a central question: “Are you here in life to do something or to have something to do?”H
their efforts through tutoring result in higher scholastic achievement, exposure to careers and goal-setting for the youth who participate. The golf tournament was spearheaded in 2011 by Brother Rey Oliver. H
Brothers of Gamma Zeta Lambda at the chapter’s annual scholarship golf classic in Tampa, Fla.
DELTA RHO LAMBDA San Antonio, Texas
Brothers from Gamma Phi Chapter return to the Alabama District Conference for first time in six years.
GAMMA PHI Tuskegee University Tuskegee, Ala. AFTER A SIX-YEAR hiatus, the Gamma Phi Chapter of Alpha is back “on the yard.” As part of their revival, members attended the district convention in October 2011, in Birmingham, Ala. The chapter proved its worth in winning several competitions. Some awards won were Chapter with the Highest GPA (at a 3.3 cumulative GPA); Individual Brother with the Highest GPA
(Timothy Purdie with a 4.0 GPA); and April Baldwin (Gamma Phi’s Miss Black and Gold) placed first out of 14 contestants. To add to the awards, Gamma Phi placed second in the step show competition and Phillip Terrill placed third in the Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Contest. Also, congratulations to Brother Ricardo Maga-Rojas, who was elected Alabama assistant district director, the second highest fraternal position a college brother can hold in the state. H
The brothers of Delta Rho Lambda Chapter, in San Antonio Texas, recently celebrated their 46th Annual Toy Dance at La Villita Assembly Hall on the River Walk downtown. Held at the site of the Alpha Phi Alpha 1989 national convention, approximately 300 people attended. The event raised $6,400 for the chapter’s educational foundation. Instead of donating toys as done in previous years, guests provided a monetary donation. All donations from the Toy Dance were used to purchase age-appropriate educational toys for more than 300 children from various youth organizations, including the local Boys and Girls Club; New Kids on the Block Learning Center and several area churches. The brothers also partnered with Target to purchase and distribute the toys. H
DELTA PSI LAMBDA Denver, Colo. THIS SCHOOL YEAR, brothers of Delta Psi Lambda Chapter are continuing a 35-year tradition with their successful math tutorial programs for students in the Denver public schools. In the true light of Alpha, Delta Psi Lambda is upholding the values of academic excellence with a focus on saving young African American boys. The 2011-2012 program convenes weekly at Hallett Fundamental Academy. Brothers tutor fourth- and fifth-grade students. Their aim is to provide students with extra help in math, Brothers of Delta Psi Lambda spend a moment with students they tutor in Denver, Colo. Standing behind the students, from left: Brothers Buford while being positive role models and mentors Thompson, Otis Lamar, Andre Wilson and Sam Pegues. each week of the school year. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Eta Psi brothers, past and present, during the chapter’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.
ETA PSI Texas Christian University Fort Worth, Texas IN NOVEMBER 2011, the brothers at Eta Psi Chapter at Texas Christian University (TCU) hosted their annual Alpha Week program, benefiting both the campus community and the greater Fort Worth, Texas, area. Highlights included a voter registration drive, Big Brothers Big Sisters recruitment, and World Prematurity
IOTA NU University of Alabama at Birmingham GAMMA KAPPA Miles College Fairfield, Ala. IOTA NU CHAPTER brothers experienced a very busy 2011 summer and fall. While many organizations are dormant during the summer, this chapter was hard at work collecting school supplies for the youth of Birmingham, Ala. Partnering with Gamma Kappa Chapter at Miles College and Omicron Lambda Chapter in Birmingham, members collected enough supplies to stuff 300 backpacks. The brothers also gave free books to students at various elementary schools through a partnership with the Alabama Literacy Council and Books-A-Million. They joined other Alpha men in the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser. The brothers of Iota Nu are not only providing
38 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Awareness Day with the March of Dimes. Brother Greg Spencer, cofounder and president of SpendSmart.org, gave a moving presentation on financial responsibility. The week culminated with the celebration of the chapter’s 40th anniversary. Nov. 15th, marked the milestone of the chapter’s presence at TCU, where the fraternity has initiated more than 85 brothers. Its newest member, Steven Spencer, was the keynote speaker for the event. He urged brothers to recommit themselves to the high ideals of Alpha and to rejoin the House. H
service to their local community, they are also active on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Respected as one of the most outstanding Greek-lettered organizations on campus, the chapter was recently awarded three of UAB’s top awards: Most Influential Fraternity, Greek Spirit and Most Outstanding Chapter President. Working closely with other local chapters, Iota Nu hosted the 2011 Alabama District Conference on the UAB campus. H
Iota Nu Chapter brothers supporting the Alpha Goes Green Initiative on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
IOTA TAU Washington State University and Eastern Washington University Pullman, Wash.
Iota Pi Lambda Brother Larry Hicks tutors a youth in Miami, Fla.
IOTA PI LAMBDA Miami, Fla. THE 2011-2012 school season marked another year that members of Iota Pi Lambda Chapter in Miami, Fla., have tutored children in mathematics at Coral Reef Montessori Academy Charter School. Now tutoring for more than two years, brothers gather weekly to provide students with supplemental instruction and preparation for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). As a result of the chapter’s assistance, 80 percent of the school’s lowestperforming students demonstrated notable gains in mathematics. The school also earned a letter grade of “A” (an improvement from its past satisfactory mark) and was designated as a “High Performing Charter School” by the Florida Department of Education.H
BROTHERS OF Iota Tau Chapter recently held their annual Miss Black and Gold Pageant in December at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. More than 200 people attended the pageant, witnessing a competitive contest among 13 talented young ladies. The program was facilitated by Gabrielle Lewis, a senior communications major and a former Miss Black and Gold winner from the University of Tennessee-Martin, and Brother Nero Threet III, a senior communications major and the vice president of Iota Tau Chapter. The winner of the pageant was senior finance major Ramya Ramanathan. She received a $500 scholarship and went on to represent Iota Tau and the Great Northwest District at the Western Region Convention pageant in Las Vegas, Nev., in April. The second runner-up, Miss Black, was freshman psychology major Che`vaniece Marshall. First runner-up, Miss Gold, was senior economic sciences major Kristine Cortez. H
Kristine Cortez, Miss Gold; Ramya Ramanathan, Miss Black & Gold; Che`vaniece Marshall, Miss Black; surrounded by brothers of Iota Tau Chapter.
KAPPA DELTA LAMBDA Lansing, Mich.
Students and Kappa Delta Lambda members from Lansing, Mich., pose next to their bus.
ON OCT. 15, 2011, members of Kappa Delta Lambda Chapter loaded two buses of students, parents, community leaders and Alpha brothers and headed for Washington, D.C. They left the Michigan capital city of Lansing on an historic journey.
On their agenda was the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The chapter raised the funds and chartered the buses to ensure that civically aware young people from Lansing could attend at no charge. The event was coordinated by Brothers Haywood Edwards and Wayne Lynn. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
NU UPSILON University of Mississippi Oxford, Miss.
The spring 2012 initiates from Nu Upsilon Chapter at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss., participate in a fundraiser for the chapter’s Alpha Phi Alpha Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund was created to honor the four members of Nu Upsilon Chapter who have passed on to Omega Chapter.
RHO ZETA LAMBDA Evanston, Ill.
Members of Eta Rho Lambda Chapter in Rochester, N.Y., pose for their annual chapter photograph.
ETA RHO LAMBDA Rochester, N.Y. AFTER 50-PLUS YEARS, the Alpha men who make Rochester, N.Y., their home are still going strong. Eta Rho Lambda Chapter celebrates 52 years of service this year. It was founded on Oct 2, 1960, by Brothers Reuben K. Davis, Waddell Johnson, William Knox, Vantuyl Levy, Charles T. Lunsford, Robert Morrison, Stanley Thomas, Albert Whitaker and William Wortham. The chapter hosted a huge celebration upon its 50th anniversary in 2010. Standing on the shoulders of the chapter’s founders,
40 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
members continue to promote annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday events; mentor young men in local high schools as part of Project VISIONS, conducted jointly with members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; host fundraisers for the local Big Brothers Big Sisters; and support the March of Dimes with an annual March for Babies, among other projects. The members culminated their 50th year with a successful scholarship fundraising event, the Annual Dr. Charles T. Lunsford Black & Gold Gala. Over the years and through the event, the chapter has donated more than $100,000 to help deserving young black males with their college careers. H
WHEN IT WAS TIME to go back to school last August, the Education Committee of Rho Zeta Lambda Chapter in Evanston, Ill., supported the sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. /Phi Epsilon Omega Chapter during their annual Back to School Rally. It was held at the Harvey Community Center in Harvey, Ill. “We understand that education, especially for our youth, is the benchmark for progress,” said Brother Stephen Cosey, the chapter’s director of education. “Equipping our children with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom is imperative and RZL’s participation in the event exemplifies our commitment to the spirit of the Go to High School, Go to College national program,” said Cosey. In addition to bringing plenty of Alpha spirit and energy to the event, the members of the chapter provided an abundance of school supplies for the students. H
NU MU LAMBDA Decatur, Ga.
OMICRON LAMBDA Birmingham, Ala.
IT HAS OFTEN been said that when great men are made, Alpha shall make them. Continuing to hold high the name of Alpha Phi Alpha in Georgia for more than 30 years, Nu Mu Lambda Chapter in Decatur, Ga., has been busy at work this fraternal year. The Men of Nu Mu Lambda continue in the legacy of the Seven Jewels as exhibited by their most recent activities. For Founders’ Day in December, the chapter initiated a clothing drive and collaborated with a local philanthropic entity to deliver clothes to needy citizens. Brothers also partnered with “40 Girls and Some Shoes” to donate slightly used men’s and women’s shoes to the underprivileged. In preparing for their annual Scholarship Beautillion, NML recently conducted weekly professional leadership workshops. NML prepared its beaus to compete in a local Martin Luther King Jr. essay and poetry contest. The young men won first, second and third place prizes. H
MEMBERS IN the greater Birmingham, Ala., area spent much of last fall supporting several national programs of the fraternity. They call it: “One Fraternity, One Brotherhood Rendering Service to the Community.” They kicked off the season participating in the local Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) annual Brothers of Gamma Kappa, Iota Nu and Omicron Lambda “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” event by Chapters participate in the BBBS of Greater Birmingham forming teams of alumni brothers Annual Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser. and college brothers. The fundraising event helps the BBBS of Greater Birmingham raise monies that go directly to support the programs that match Birmingham students with caring mentors. The 2011 theme was: “A Perfect Game: You Play and the Kids Win.” Alpha brothers were the largest participating team and raised the most money. Not only did the Birmingham brothers raise money for BBBS, they also donated school supplies to help students enrolled in the program start the academic year with the materials needed to help them succeed. Altogether, brothers from Omicron Lambda Chapter, Gamma Kappa Chapter at Miles College and Iota Nu Chapter at the University of Alabama at Birmingham collected notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, paper, glue and crayons and donated $450 worth of supplies during the BBBS Annual Back to School Rally. The chapter also recently formed a partnership with the Alabama Literacy Council and provided books to students in the community. In September, the brothers participated in the Great Prostate Cancer Challenge Walk of Birmingham, raising $565 to help provide prostate-specific antigen (PSA) exams for men who cannot afford them. H
TAU University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, Ill. MEMBERS OF Alpha Tau Chapter recently held their 26th Annual Ritual. The Ritual, initiated by Brother Darwin Brown, is a yearly event that has taken place at the University of Illinois since 1985. The aim of the program is to strengthen the communal ties within the university campus and the surrounding communities. The speaker for 2011 was Steve Perry, an education contributor to CNN and founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School. He spoke on “Breaking America’s Education Shackles.” H
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
PI UPSILON LAMBDA Largo, Md. PI UPSILON LAMBDA Chapter brothers teamed up with members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority recently to provide toys to kids in Prince George’s County. They also helped out at the Shepherd’s Cove Women’s Shelter in Washington, D.C. The shelter is well known for feeding Pi Upsilon Lambda brothers pose with their bounty of donated toys. the hungry and helping women and children in need. H
RHO IOTA LAMBDA Chesterfield County, Va.
CHI LAMBDA Wilberforce, Ohio
RHO IOTA LAMBDA Chapter’s Gentlemen’s Society is a highly regarded mentoring program on both the local and state levels that involves two high schools. It was established four years ago and is designed to focus attention on the developmental needs of young men. The Gentlemen’s Society commences in the fall each year and concludes with an awards and recognition program at the end of the school year. It is comprised of three components: knowledge, skills and attitude. The components are designed to help the students focus their attention on successful completion of high school and the pursuit of a college education. H
ZETA DELTA LAMBDA Springfield, Ohio
Rho Iota Lambda Chapter’s Gentlemen’s Society participants from Loyd C. Bird and James River high schools pose for the camera.
TAU SIGMA University of New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. IOTA PSI LAMBDA Albuquerque, N.M. IOTA PSI LAMBDA and Tau Sigma Chapters held the New Mexico Area Alpha Institute at the Hyatt
42 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
COMING TOGETHER as one, the brothers of Chi Lambda Chapter and Zeta Delta Lambda Chapter hosted a joint Founders’ Day celebration Dec. 3, 2011. Brothers presented biographical comments about the life of each of the fraternity’s Jewel founders. The chapter presidents recognized their members and highlighted the year’s chapter activities. Widows of five deceased Chi Lambda brothers were given a yellow rose. In addition, the widow of Brother Maurice “Snooky” Reed, a past national parliamentarian, and a niece of Jewel Charles H. Chapman were recognized. Brother Robert Marcus, area director of Central Ohio, was honored for his 23 years of service to the district. Brother Thomas E. Kelley Sr., a 72-year member, 69 years with Chi Lambda, was recognized for his many years of service to the fraternity and the community. H
Place Albuquerque-Uptown Hotel in July 2011. The event consisted of presentations, workshops and practical discussions designed to train and empower New Mexico brothers to do the work of Alpha more efficiently and effectively. It was both an educational endeavor and reclamation initiative as financial, non-financial and newly relocated brothers where intensely pursued to register, attend and reinvigorate their allegiance to Alpha.
The Institute’s goals were to engage, educate and galvanize the individual efforts of brothers. The Institute attracted brothers from all over the state and beyond the New Mexico borders, including Tri-State District Director Dondrell Swanson, Western Region Vice President Aaron Crutison Sr. and both nominees for 34th general president: Brothers Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. and Mark S. Tillman. H
BROTHERS ON THE MOVE
Former Alpha AVP gets Nod as Dillard University President DILLARD UNIVERSITY’S board of trustees has chosen Brother Walter M. Kimbrough to lead the university as its seventh president. Kimbrough’s first year leading Dillard begins this fall. “We are thrilled to bring such an energetic, visionary leader to Dillard,” said Joyce Roche, the university board chairwoman.
Brother Walter M. Kimbrough
“Dr. Kimbrough is uniquely well-suited to help the university build on its strengths and chart a strategic course for the future,” Roche said. Kimbrough joins Dillard after serving seven years at the helm of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark. While there, he developed a black male initiative program, created a speaker series called “Bless the Mic,” in which he brought world-renowned figures to campus for convocations and seminars. Recruitment and graduation rates also increased while he was in Little Rock. A native of Atlanta, Ga., Kimbrough is a past Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Southern Region assistant vice president and past national board member. He was in office while pursuing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Ga. An expert on black Greek-letter organizations, Kimbrough earned a master’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a doctorate at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Prior to serving at Philander Smith College, he was a university vice president at Albany State University in Albany, Ga., and has held administrative posts at Emory University in Atlanta and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. He joined Alpha at Zeta Pi Chapter at UGA in 1986. H
KENT SMITH TAKES POST AS NEW PRESIDENT OF LANGSTON UNIVERSITY CONTINUING THE RICH tradition of Alpha members heading major colleges and universities, Brother Kent Smith was recently named the new president of Langston University in Langston, Okla. He succeeds former Langston President JoAnn Haysbert, who left the university last year to return to Hampton University in Virginia. Smith has huge shoes to fill; the last Alpha to hold the job permanently was Brother Ernest L. Holloway Sr., who died in December (see Omega Chapter tribute on page 54). Upon
his retirement a few years ago, Holloway was the longest-serving president with 25 years. Brother Smith was initiated in 1991, at Beta Sigma Chapter at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Southern University and A&M College and a doctorate in education and human resources from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Prior to his current
appointment, Smith was a university executive at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. H
Brother Kent Smith Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
BROTHERS ON THE MOVE NAPOLEON BRACY JR. Alabama State Rep. Napoleon Bracy Jr. was recently featured in the Press-Register as one of four rising stars in Alabama politics. The Mobile, Ala., daily newspaper said Brother Bracy stood out as one of the only Democrats to win high marks from veterans of both parties. At 34, Bracy, who represents District 98, is one of the state’s youngest lawmakers and formerly served on the city council in Prichard, Ala. Initiated in 1996 at Beta Phi Chapter, at Dillard University in New Orleans, Bracy graduated from the university in 2000 with a bachelor of science degree.
WILLIE N. BREWSTER III Mississippi State University (MSU) senior Willie Nelson Brewster III, a 2010 initiate from Kappa Beta Chapter, has been accepted into the Teach for America Program. He is to graduate with honors in May 2012 with a bachelor of arts in communication, with a concentration in broadcasting, as well as a B.A. in political science with a concentration in pre-law. During his time at MSU, he has been a member of the honors college, a President’s List scholar, and an MSU orientation leader. No stranger to leadership roles, Brother Brewster was Alpha Phi Alpha assistant district director of Mississippi in
WALTON NAMED VICE PRESIDENT AT LINCOLN UNIVERSITY IN PA. When students at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania in Lincoln University, Pa., return to class this fall, they will have a new vice president of student services overseeing their quality of life on campus. After serving in several administrative positions at the school, Brother F. Carl Walton Brother F. Carl Walton was recently appointed to the VP post. He joined the university as associate professor of political science in 2004, and also directed the university’s Honors Program.
44 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
2011-2012 and also chapter president at Kappa Beta. In his hometown of New Albany, Miss., he was student body president, drum major for his high school band, and has been inducted into the New Albany High School Hall of Fame. The Teach for America program places recent baccalaureate graduates, graduate students, and professionals in underserved urban or rural public schools for two-year teaching stints. Brewster has been assigned to teach elementary education in Jacksonville, Fla. DARRYL A. HICKS Iota Chapter initiate Darryl A. Hicks has joined The Catalyst Group at Morgan Stanley
Smith Barney in Peachtree City, Ga. With this latest appointment, Brother Hicks continues building on a distinguished career in both the public and private sector. In 2010, he won the Democratic nomination for Georgia Labor Commissioner and attracted more than one million votes in the primary and general elections. He previously served as the top political appointee of Georgia’s largest county when he was chief of staff to the chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Hicks also spent more than 20 years on the management team of AGL Resources, parent company of Atlanta Gas Light Company. He currently sits on the boards of directors of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and Atlanta Metropolitan College Foundation, and he is a member of the Fayette County,
“I am more than pleased that the search committee, comprised of a cross section of persons from the University recommended Dr. Walton as one of the finalists,” said University President Robert R. Jennings. Walton earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in political science from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and a bachelor of arts degree in political science at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Ga. While matriculating at Morris Brown, he joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at Iota Chapter in 1981. Prior to joining the Lincoln University faculty, Walton taught political science at Morris Brown and at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Walton’s major research focuses on legislative politics and black political organizations. Walton spent time on Capitol Hill as an aide to U.S. Rep. Sandford Bishop, D-Ga., and was an American Political Science Association congressional fellow. H
BROTHERS ON THE MOVE DR. FRED KENCY, NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER MAKE NICE MATCH After completing his studies at the University of South Alabama (USA) College of Medicine in Mobile, Ala., Dr. Fred Kency has been performing his residency at the U.S. Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif. It was in March that Brother Kency learned where he would perform Ga., Board of Elections & Voter Registration. In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush honored Hicks as the “Outstanding Volunteer of Georgia.” Brother Hicks, a life member of Alpha in the Rho Sigma Lambda Chapter in McDonough, Ga., graduated from Morris Brown College in Atlanta with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and he holds an MBA in executive management from Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business. HERB JORDAN Alabama Alpha member Herb Jordan has been named a senior practitioner in his profession by the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF). Jordan, the director of public relations at Bishop State Community College in Mobile, Ala., received the status following his recognition by the Mobile chapter of the Public
his residency, during the annual matching day of the National Residency Matching Program. That is the day when future doctors at medical schools across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn at which hospitals they will see patients as residents. Kency was initiated in 2009, at Beta Omicron Lambda Chapter in Mobile, Ala. while attending medical school. H
Relations Council of Alabama. SPRF is a regional organization whose members are PR professionals in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The group stated that Brother Jordan was “a veteran public relations practitioner who has exhibited exemplary ethical standards in the profession, and who has demonstrated a sincere commitment to the development and growth of the public relations profession.” It was a prescient honor, as Bishop State recently captured two first-place (gold) public relations and marketing awards in the prestigious Paragon Awards Competition. The awards program is held annually by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR). Jordan accepted the awards during a banquet in San Francisco, Calif., on March 13. Jordan was initiated in 2006 at Beta Omicron Lambda Chapter in Mobile,
Brother Fred Kency, M.D., points to San Diego on the matching map last March.
Ala., where he remains active. MICHAEL MITCHELL After putting in long hours, days, weeks and months, Brother Michael Mitchell has earned the doctorate. Mitchell, initiated at Mu Pi Lambda Chapter in Brookhaven, Miss., in 2001, is currently the dean of students at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. His doctoral research and program of study was higher education administration. He formally received his degree May 13, 2011, from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. EDMOND NELSON After completing his studies at the University of South Alabama (USA) College of Medicine in Mobile, Ala., Brother Edmond Nelson is
now completing his residence training at the USA Hospitals. It was in March that Dr. Nelson learned where he would perform his residency, during the annual matching day of the National Residency Matching Program. That is the day when future doctors at medical schools across the United States and Canada simultaneously learn at which hospitals they will see patients as residents. Nelson was initiated, at Beta Upsilon Chapter at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala., in 2002. He is now active with Beta Omicron Lambda Chapter in Mobile, Ala. MORGAN JAMES PETERS Brother Morgan James Peters was recently named director of African and African-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMASS). Continued on page 46
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
BROTHERS ON THE MOVE Peters, an associate professor of English, joined the UMASS faculty in 2003 and was awarded tenure in 2009. Nicknamed “Daphunkeeprofessor,” he is a specialist in black drama and folklore, creative writing, oral traditions and media production. Peters has distinguished himself as a multi-award-winning performing artist, writer and media artist. He was awarded the “Educator of the Year” by the Cape Cod Chapter of the NAACP. Peters was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in 1991 at Epsilon Gamma Lambda Chapter in Boston, Mass.
National Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, assists in the coordination of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and serves on the Federal Interagency Reentry Council. Schneeberg came to the Obama administration after working for almost a decade as the director of operations for Straight Ahead Ministries, a national faith-based juvenile justice non-profit group in Greater Boston. A native of Roxbury, Mass., Schneeberg joined Alpha at Sigma Chapter while a student at Boston University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in urban affairs.
EUGENE SCHNEEBERG When the White House was looking for a proven leader to help promote its fatherhood programs, it turned to Eugene Schneeberg. Brother Schneeberg is the director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Dept. of Justice. In this capacity, he helps coordinate efforts between the White House and Justice department to outreach and partner with faith-based and other nonprofit organizations, such as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, around the country. Under his leadership, the center works to advance the goals of the president’s
HILTON O. SMITH A standout in the Cleveland, Ohio, community, the Rev. Hilton O. Smith was recently honored by Turner Construction Company for his pioneering efforts to promote inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses. Brother Smith, a senior vice president at Turner, is the company’s point man on diversity in his role as director of national corporate community affairs. During the first dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., in August, Smith received the “Lifetime Diversity Pioneer
46 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Award” for his persistent effort throughout the United States ensuring that minority- and womenowned businesses have an opportunity to compete in the construction industry. He received one of the only two medallions commissioned. The other medallion was placed in a time capsule at the memorial.
Brother Smith, a 1967 initiate, joined Alpha Phi Alpha at Gamma Psi Chapter while a student at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C. He also completed graduate coursework at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He is a life member and active with Delta Alpha Lambda Chapter in Cleveland, Ohio.
MURRAY NAMED CHIEF JUSTICE EMERITUS AT FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY Brother G.C. Murray Jr., J.D., was the first black male chief justice of the Florida State University (FSU) Supreme Court in Tallahassee, Fla. The work he did in his role as a law student at the student-run judiciary left an indelible mark. So much so, he was recently honored and bestowed with the emeritus title. The honor comes at the same time FSU celebrates 50 years of racial integration. Brother Murray, a recent graduate of FSU College of Law, was formally recognized in December 2011 by the FSU Student Senate with a proclamation. The organization cited his achievement in creating the Judicial Fellows Program. He also served as president of the FSU chapter of the National Black Law Students Association, which won the 2011-2012 National Chapter of the Year Award. Fraternally, Brother Murray was initiated in spring 2006 at Tau Delta Chapter at Florida International University in Miami, Fla. He is currently a member of Beta Beta Lambda Chapter in Miami, Fla. H
Brother G.C. Murray Jr. (center) accepts an honor appointment as FSU chief justice emeritus.
BROTHERS ON THE MOVE RICHARD D. SMITH Longtime Louisiana physician, Brother Dr. Richard D. Smith was presented the Golden Stethoscope Award by the Saint Francis Medical Center in Monroe, La. The award recognizes physicians who have been identified as excelling in quality of care in the local region. Brother Smith, a board-certified internal medicine physician, is the first African-American doctor to receive the honor. Smith, a fall 1973 initiate of Alpha at Theta Chi Chapter at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., graduated with a degree in microbiology before earning a doctor of medicine degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. Smith has served on the faculty of the Louisiana State University
(LSU) Medical School at the LSU Health Sciences Center/ EA Conway Medical Center in Monroe, La. He established the Smith Medical Clinic in 1989. A life member of Alpha, Smith was a charter member of Theta Chi and since 1986 has been active in Eta Delta Lambda Chapter in Monroe, where he serves as director of the chapter’s educational foundation. In 1989, he was named Southwestern Region Brother of the Year. He also served as Louisiana district director from 1996 to 2001. ARTHUR D. VAUGHN Once a candidate for city council in the northwest Atlanta
PIERRE THOMAS HONORED BY NABJ FOR OUTSTANDING JOURNALISM SKILLS A member of Alpha Phi Alpha is the 2012 Journalist of the Year winner from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Brother Pierre Thomas, initiated in 1982 at Theta Iota Chapter at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Va., was selected by the journalism organization for his work as senior justice correspondent at “ABC News.” Thomas and his team led ABC’s coverage of many of the top stories in 2011. Last January, when U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others were shot in Tucson, Ariz., Thomas was among the first to report details about what happened. Thomas was also the first reporter in the news division to tell his colleagues that U.S. President Barack Obama was holding a hastily arranged news conference on a Sunday night to tell the world that terrorist suspect Osama Bin Laden had been captured and killed. Thomas, a 1984 graduate of Virginia Tech, earned a George Foster Peabody Award from the University of Georgia; the Alfred I. duPont Award from Columbia
suburb of Marietta, Ga., Brother Arthur D. Vaughn was recently appointed chair of the City of Marietta Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee receives and evaluates written complaints against elected officials. Vaughn is also treasurer of the Marietta City Schools Foundation, which holds more than $5 million in assets and promotes educational achievement and excellence among students, faculty, staff and administrators. A past president of Omicron Mu Lambda Chapter in Marietta, Cobb County, Ga., Vaughn is the former vice chairman of the Marietta Board of Lights and Water, the first and only African American to serve in the position.
Vaughn earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., and holds a master of public administration degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga. He also earned a master’s in accounting from Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) in Marietta, Ga., where he is the university controller. Initiated in 1990 at Delta Zeta Chapter at Syracuse University, Vaughn was named New York College Brother of the Year in 1992 and national Alumni Brother of the Year in 2002. He also serves as the fraternity’s chairman of the Special Committee on Political Action. H
University, and an Emmy for his contributions to ABC’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He also won another Emmy for his contributions to the network’s coverage of the Obama-Biden inauguration in 2009. Thomas was honored at NABJ’s 37th Annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans, La., June 2024. The honor was bestowed at the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala, which recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community. H
Brother Pierre Thomas on location for ABC News. Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
BROTHERS ON THE MOVE
Thomas Orchestrates New Generation of Musicians in New Orleans WHEN CHILDREN in the perennially poor neighborhoods of New Orleans have wanted to learn how to play music, Brother Trenton Thomas has been the young man to whom they have looked. Thomas, an accomplished violinist, has played a pivotal role in music education programs in the city of New Orleans. From 2008 to 2010, Thomas worked as one of the violin
Brother Trenton Thomas (left) teaching students how to play the violin.
STERLING A. WILDER HONORED BY OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK Virginia Alpha member Sterling A. Wilder was recently featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) for being recognized as an “Everyday Hero” by Dollar General and its vendor partners Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble. Wilder, initiated into Alpha in 1993 at Gamma Nu Lambda Chapter in Lynchburg, Va., is committed to making a difference in his community through his work with the Jubilee Family Development Center. He established the center to provide children and their families with a structured haven away from drugs and violence. The Jubilee Center provides youth and family-development services, including after-school tutoring, computer training, cultural activities, mentoring, community service activities and access to health screening. Wilder earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va., and holds a master’s degree in education and counseling from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va. He has been recognized by his
48 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
instructors for the New Orleans String Project, a nonprofit program that provides free instruction to students interested in string instruments. In 2009, he assisted in the formation of the Saturday Music School; another nonprofit program sponsored by the University of New Orleans (UNO) and the New Orleans Jazz Institute. Brother Thomas, initiated in fall 2009 at Theta Phi Chapter UNO, is originally from Baton Rouge, La. He moved to New Orleans in the fall of 2006 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music education with a concentration in violin at UNO. On campus, he has been a leader too. As a UNO orientation leader, last fall, he spoke at the opening banquet for the National Orientation Directors Association Conference—one of only four undergraduate students from across the United States chosen to speak at the banquet. In 2010, he led Theta Phi Chapter in bringing its Miss Black and Gold Pageant back to the campus. Currently, Thomas is a student-teacher and instructs students in a beginning violin class in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Upon graduation, he plans to begin his professional music-teaching career in the public school system and start a jazz orchestra program to show students that there are many musical possibilities and opportunities regardless of the instrument they play. H
chapter as Brother of the Year and also has received the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. He also was honored by the ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ with its Use Your Life Award. H
Brother Wilder at the Jubilee Family Development Center in Lynchburg, Va.
Justice for Trayvon Martin? Alpha Phi Alpha Joins the Fight
Continued from page 11
Rho Rho • Stony Brook University • Stony Brook, N.Y.
Detroit Alpha brothers march and rally for justice, from left: Michael Patton, Ronald Cheek, Gamma Lambda Chapter President Richard James Jr., Darrin Flowers, Kyle Broughton, Harvey Christian, Arthur Hampton and Arthur Colbert.
ON MARCH 26, the brothers of Rho Rho Chapter at Stony Brook University held a vigil to remember Trayvon Martin. The day marked one month since the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old African American male. “The purpose of the vigil was to spread awareness to the campus about what is going on outside the university community,” said Steven Eloiseau, Rho Rho Chapter president. “It was also to express that as a campus community, we need to stand together and be heard so that justice can be served.” The program drew a great crowd for the program, from other fraternity and sorority members, students, faculty members and alumni. H
Gamma Lambda • Detroit, Mich. IN THE WAKE of the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, hundreds of protesters gathered in Detroit on March 26 to bring attention to the widespread violence in the Motor City. Members of Gamma Lambda Chapter joined in a march and a rally at Phillip Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. Alpha members wore hooded sweatshirts to honor Trayvon, who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Since Trayvon’s tragic death in late February, protests and marches across the country seeking justice in the case have brought attention to the issue of racial profiling, probable cause and excessive force. In Detroit, where dozens of children’s lives have been lost already this year because of gun violence, the Trayvon Martin case is shining the light on violence against children and the need for conflict resolution. H
Like Trayvon Martin, members of the National Pan Hellenic Council wear their hoodies in solidarity as they share a moment of silence at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y.
Alpha Men Join Major Demonstration for Justice in Nation’s Capital member of Omicron Lambda Alpha Chapter. “Overall, it was amazing to see so many people of every race, color and creed come together to fight for justice.” It rained on the program, but that was not enough to keep the huge crowd away. The gathering heard from several speakers, including social activist Brother Dick Gregory and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Brother Julian Wilson, grandson of Jewel Robert Harold Ogle, was also at the event. H
A rally participant pauses to capture the moment with his camera.
PHOTO BY MCARTHUR CATO/C5 PHOTOGRAPHY
MORE THAN 30 BROTHERS from Washington, D.C.-area Alpha chapters—Omicron Lambda Alpha; Mu Lambda; Omicron Eta Lambda and Pi Upsilon Lambda—along with family, friends and supporters, gathered for a rally at Freedom Plaza on March 24 to show support for Trayvon Martin’s family and take a stand against injustice. “Other civic organizations attended, but Alpha by far had the greatest numbers in attendance,” said Jossan Robinson, a
The crowd withstands the rain during the Trayvon Martin justice rally in Washington, D.C.
Alpha brothers in Washington, D.C., at the Trayvon Martin justice rally.
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
The Sphinx Interview
34th general president nominee Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. is Southwestern regional vice president and past Southwestern assistant vice president
What is the singular most important issue facing the fraternity in 2012 and why? Restoring the trust and faith of our members and putting Alpha on a sound financial footing. Alpha Phi Alpha develops leaders and serves downtrodden humanity. But, we cannot do this if members are not fully engaged and inspired to lead. To be effective, we need to develop ourselves financially. As a trained and experienced fundraiser, I will within the first 100 days implement elements of the CAMPAIGN FOR ALPHA, a capital campaign that will raise $25 million over five years to ensure long-term viability and resources to conduct our programs with real impact on the communities in which we serve. Explain how your personal and professional life experiences will benefit you as general president and the fraternity as a whole? I owe Alpha for saving my life. I was a poor, lost boy, raised by a single mom; and Alpha men filled the void. With their help, I learned how to be a better father to my children and what it meant to “go to high school, and go to college.” That’s how I received my Ph.D. before the age of 30. These life experiences coupled with my professional fundraiser skills will benefit not just me, but the fraternity as a whole. I’ll be able to reach out to those we serve, while raising needed funs with transparency and accountability. What is your plan to keep the fraternity solvent? As general president, I will use my experience to ensure Alpha remains solvent and grows financially. I am the only candidate with professional experience raising millions of dollars and being a great steward in the management of those dollars. I have raised more than $30 million and authored grants of more than $100 million as a university vice president. My plan is simple: “If we do not have it, we won’t spend it, if we don’t need it, we won’t buy it. For more information, visit my website: www.rodericklsmothers.com. What role should the fraternity play on college campuses to enhance fraternity life there in general and Alpha Phi Alpha in particular? Many of our fraternity’s greatest general presidents have been leaders in higher education, as I am. Many of them served as general president while they were college presidents, including William H. Hale and Walter Washington. It’s the best of both worlds when our GP can also be a college executive. It allows the GP to really get a sense of daily college life and the concerns of college brothers. I have had the experience at two major universities, as vice president of institutional advancement.
50 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
How would you bridge the longstanding gap between college brothers, just-graduated brothers and alumni brothers? By using my extensive experience on all three levels— especially what I learned as a regional assistant vice president while at Louisiana State University. That post prepared me for later roles as national chairman of the College Brothers Affairs Commission. Now, as a university vice president, I coexist with college and alumni brothers daily. As I said earlier, it’s the best of both worlds that gives me the unique perspective to bridge the gap. What role should Alpha play in other areas of human existence, i.e. military, education, social, political, business activities? Alpha should always play a leading role in these areas of concern whether it is a Don Thompson at McDonald’s or General Walter Gaskins, deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Alpha has always been on the forefront of human existence. For example, more Alpha men serve as college presidents than any other black Greek groups; we have more members of Congress than the others; we were THE leaders of the Civil Rights Movement; and we built the King Memorial. As general president, I will keep us on the right track outside the House of Alpha. You and your opponent both worked together on the fraternity’s board of directors. Please cite seven positive things you have to say about the opposing candidate in the race for general president and why? Bro. Tillman is my friend. Bro. Tillman has a very quiet demeanor. He freely accepts input on how to better his convention planning. I have shared with him some of the commonly accepted principles of fundraising that will benefit the fraternity as a whole. He has a very big sense of humor and will make you laugh. We have and will continue to work collaboratively on the board of directors and beyond. I am very proud to call him my brother. H
The Sphinx Interview
34th general president nominee Mark Tillman is immediate past Midwestern regional vice president
What is the singular, most important issue facing the fraternity in 2012 and why? As a fraternity, we are first and foremost a brotherhood. So we must never lose sight of that aspect. We must concentrate on the business of brotherhood. The most important issue I see is fraternal apathy. Have we truly asked ourselves why 75 percent of our brothers lose interest in Alpha Phi Alpha within five years of their initiation—and they no longer remain engaged with the fraternity? My platform and my vision, the Alpha Investment, is about re-enforcing the value proposition of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The details are located at my website, www.thealphainvestment.org. Explain how your personal and professional life experiences will benefit you as general president and the fraternity as a whole? I have more than 20 years of leadership experience in the information technology industry, with managerial experience in leading teams and managing systems design costs. That experience provided me with effective organizational skills with attention to cost-efficient systems. I also have excellent interpersonal, communications and team-building skills with sensitivity to cultural differences of individuals. In my personal life, I believe in balance I enjoy other activities, and I have a supportive wife who allows me to maintain balance. My life reflects that I support Alpha Phi Alpha. I am respectful of our precepts and our mission. What is your plan to keep the fraternity solvent? My vision statement states “…committing to a sound fiscal infrastructure that strengthens the fraternity’s financial position….” I will provide fiscal leadership with all facets of the organization, including the planning of any national event with a strong focus on execution under budget, being fiscally transparent, being accountable, and meticulously negotiating with service providers to provide high value at a reasonable cost. My experience and leadership as a Midwestern regional vice president resulted in each regional convention being profitable, and that success was shared with the host chapters in those cities. I will hire a full-time director of development and involve the brotherhood in all aspects. What role should the fraternity play on college campuses to enhance fraternity life there in general and Alpha Phi Alpha in particular? The meaning behind the Alpha Investment platform is the continuing evolution and development of the next generation into solid contributors to society and to our organization. Our role on college campuses is to provide guidance and mentorship with a focus on scholastic achievement for all students, and our college chapters are a major part of that. Alpha Phi
Alpha is enhanced by demonstrating the organization’s belief and support of education, personal achievement, and chapters of college-age men who are worthy ambassadors to our mission. I will ensure we work with campus leadership to enhance our position on their campuses. How would you bridge the longstanding gap between college brothers, just-graduated brothers and alumni brothers? My platform outlines the following for brothers to remain connected to the fraternity: communicate to every member and connect him to the fraternity regardless of membership status; develop a welcome packet that invites any member to join an alumni chapter anywhere on the globe; provide and promote affordable activities that allow for brothers and families to connect with others to strengthen our fraternal bond. We will develop a major marketing effort to encourage brothers to reinvest their time and talents in the fraternity. Together we will remove the perception of a gap. Every brother brings value to the whole. What role should Alpha play in other areas of human existence, i.e. military, education, social, political, business activities? “…Provide service and advocacy for our communities” is our mission. Our role as an organization is to demonstrate our relevance to our communities. We will continue to exercise the collective and stabilized strength of our membership to provide awareness to health concerns, the mentorship and education of our youth, and enlighten voters so none are hopeless. We will also partner with business and civic organizations because, in today’s world, Alpha Phi Alpha cannot do everything and we cannot do it alone. We must rely on the effort and resources of others to be an organization of service. Uplift the downtrodden masses. You and your opponent both worked together on the fraternity’s board of directors. Please cite seven positive things you have to say about the opposing candidate in the race for general president and why? My relationship with Brother Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. as a fellow brother in service has always been respectful, brotherly and fraternal. From the moment I congratulated him as a newly elected vice president in 2009 through two years as board members, we maintained a relationship that is supportive and collaborative. As a tenured vice president, I did not hesitate to support the Southwestern Region to further its goals when Brother Smothers asked for assistance. We were able to share ideas with consideration to each other’s diverse opinions. We have distinctive ideas as candidates, but he will always remain my brother. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Getting From Here to There
Airport Survey Highlights the Best and Worst Brother Michael Ferrera in his men’s custom clothing shop in Los Angeles, Calif.
Dressing for Opportunities: It’s the Simple Things that Count By Michael Ferrera
WE ARE ALWAYS told to never judge a book by its cover. But it is the cover that attracts our attention. It is the cover that makes us open the book or move on to the next one on the shelf. So it is when dressing for success. Whether in school or the workplace, while we continue moving upward in our various professions, how we look can have a lot to do with whether or not we move up. Image plays an important role. This is why I prefer the term “dress for opportunities” over the longused “dress for success.” Dressing properly, professionally and appropriately can help you seize opportunities and be successful. When enhancing your image, there are three key components that will guarantee success: be clean, be organized and be confident. One of the biggest distractions when wearing the correct outfit or a perfectly tailored suit is when it is not clean. Check if your garment is unclean or has an odor. Look out for those unwanted spots of any kind. It will not matter how fancy or expensive your brand of clothing is if it is not clean. The man wearing a suit off the rack will achieve a greater look if his suit is impeccable and your Armani or Hugo Boss has a stain from your morning breakfast.
52 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Organization also plays an important part in your complete image. Organization is not limited to the clothes you wear; it also means having an ink pen handy and a pad to take notes. A mobile device always comes in handy these days, too. Don’t forget your business cards; have them at the ready for interactions and engagements. The third component that is essential to your success is confidence. There is a longtime saying: When you look good, you feel good. It is absolutely true. When you look the part, it allows you to be confident in your image, which will leave you with one less thing to be concerned about as you interact with others. Confidence is so important because when you are confident in yourself, it will show. As you continue your journey, be conscious of your image and always dress for opportunities. Opportunities will come and you must be dresses to seize them. But the key is to make sure to tackle the simple things when it comes to dressing and success will follow. H Michael Ferrera is the author of The Perfect Gentleman’s Pocket Guide: Modern Secrets to Etiquette, Style and Charming Charisma. He also is president of Michael Ferrera Custom Clothing in Los Angeles, Calif. For more information, visit www.michaelferrera.com.
In a recent survey by Travel+Leisure magazine, readers rated 22 of the largest airports in the United States. The readers scored the airports in seven categories: flight delays; design; amenities; food and drink; check-in and security; service; and transportation and location. Here’s how they rank. BEST 1 Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP) 2 Charlotte Douglas (CLT) 3 Detroit Metropolitan (DTW) 4 Orlando (MCO) 5 San Francisco (SFO) 6 Baltimore Marshall (BWI) 7 Las Vegas McCarran (LAS) 8 Seattle (SEA) 9 Denver (DEN) 10 Miami International (MIA) WORST 1 New York LaGuardia (LGA) 2 Los Angeles (LAX) 3 Philadelphia (PHL) 4 New York Kennedy (JFK) 5 Newark, N.J. (EWR) 6 Chicago O’Hare (ORD) 7 Washington Dulles (IAD) 8 Boston Logan (BOS) 9 Houston Bush (IAH) 10 Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson (ATL)
A R T S A N D C U LT U R E
BOOK Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, The Demands of Transcendence BY GREGORY S. PARKS AND STEFAN M. BRADLEY, EDITORS University Press of Kentucky; Hardcover; 416 pages ON DEC. 4, 1906, on Cornell University’s campus, seven black men founded one of the greatest and most enduring organizations in American history. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has brought together and shaped such esteemed men as Martin Luther King Jr., Cornel West, Thurgood Marshall, W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson, among many others. The fraternity, the oldest and one of the most influential black Greek-lettered organizations, has been a champion of civil rights since its inception. It has promoted—and delivered—distinction, achievement and tradition. In Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, The Demands of
Transcendence, editors Brother Gregory S. Parks and Stefan M. Bradley have gathered experts from both inside and outside the fraternity to investigate whether the fraternity continues to live up to the lofty standards set by its founders. Parks and Bradley begin with a look at Alpha’s image and history. There’s also a chapter, “Those Who Carried the Torch: The General Presidents of Alpha Phi Alpha,” by Brother Andre McKenzie that profiles the world leadership through the years. Throughout the collection, Alpha Phi Alpha is evaluated based on its original values of philanthropy, public policy, academic achievement and
racial pride. The book analyzes the fraternity from a historical perspective to provide insight to its current practices. It is a book well worth the read, for both black Greek members and those who are not members of social fraternities or sororities.
Hostile Takeover: Manifesting God’s Plan and Purpose for Your Finances
BY CEDRIC DUKES Zoe Life Publishing; Paperback 115 pages
AT NO TIME in our recent history has the economic situation both in the United States and the international community been in such crisis. Families everywhere are facing foreclosures, bankruptcies and unemployment at a growing rate. In Hostile Takeover: Manifesting God’s Plan and Purpose for Your Finances, Brother Cedric Dukes argues that people need to take control of their finances and regain stability. He goes back to the basics and also reminds the reader that everything is in God’s hands. Dukes offers biblically sound advice on such daunting financial topics as budgeting, investing and inheritance. He even explains tithing by giving the practice its proper spiritual foundation and making it clear why this is such a necessary catalyst for your life. By connecting all the dots to what he calls the greatest financial adviser, Dukes shows how to turn your money troubles around by a hostile takeover and to manifest God’s plan and purpose for your personal finances.
Brotherhood began with me I created the word bond Tighter than any grip More solid than any pyramid For years men have tried to duplicate my make up and have failed My lasting friendships developed leaders My commitment to service built monumental memorials My promotion of academic excellence presented the world with the greatest of minds My colors influenced young men to tap into their uncanny potential The pages of my history book never turned its back on a brother in need My pin adorned the hearts of many pharaohs, who’ve marched fearlessly to what I call “The Light of the World” My songs sung in one unified body My head always facing east like Giza’s Sphinx My letters worth more than the grandest of tax Brotherhood survives with my name —Brother Naiquan D. Greene
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
O M E G A : Chapter of Sweet Rest
Ernest L. Holloway Sr. was a Gentle Giant in Alpha By Roderick L. Smothers, Sr.
n the academy of bright minds and leaders, you could always find this huge spirit of a man named Ernest L. Holloway Sr. For years he was the embodiment of one of America’s great universities— Langston University in Langston, Okla., having served as its president for more than 25 years. He was a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha and lived Alpha each and every day. In his time, he was what brothers affectionately call a “giant” in Alpha. Brother Holloway died of cancer on Dec. 10, 2011. He was born in Boley, Okla., on Sept. 12, 1930. He was initiated into Alpha 19 years later on Dec. 10, 1949, at Beta Kappa Chapter at Langston University. Always a standout on and off campus, it was no surprise that he ultimately returned to his alma mater as its formidable leader.
54 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
He graduated—or as folks from his era would say, “he finished”—Langston with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture. He later earned his doctorate at the University of Oklahoma. From his days as a college brother to his years as a senior Alpha man, Holloway always held high the name of Alpha. As an alumnus member of the fraternity, he joined Zeta Gamma Lambda Chapter in Langston and became life member #1380. Upon entering Omega Chapter, Holloway had more than 62 years of service and displayed a resolute commitment to the ideals, aims and precepts of the fraternity. He was a leader, a scholar and a servant to the numerous communities he served. Holloway worked for 40 years at Langston, where he ascended through the ranks as registrar; professor; dean of student affairs; vice president for administrative affairs; and university president. He was the school’s 14th and longest-serving president. It was Holloway who provided unmatched leadership that ushered in multiple periods of advancement and progress at Langston. His success as an educator paralleled his success as a leader in Alpha Phi Alpha. He served the fraternity faithfully as chapter president; treasurer; secretary and dean of pledges; senior adviser to more than five Oklahoma district directors; and adviser
Beta Kappa Chapter initiates Malcolm Jones (right) and Javon Brame (left) with Brother Ernest L. Holloway Sr. at the Langston University ceremony, naming the agriculture building in Holloway’s honor.
to seven Southwestern regional vice presidents and five general presidents. He also chaired the region’s education foundation and Higher Education Commission. His last national post was as a member of the fraternity’s national education foundation. The pinnacle of his contributions to Alpha, however, is the establishment of the Southwestern Region/Langston University Alpha Youth Leadership Institute. The institute works to save young black males and put them on a path of education and learning so they become productive citizens. Holloway was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; a 33rd degree Prince Hall Mason in the Northwestern Consistory; a member of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Heritage Association; and a member of Phi Delta Kappa. He also was a charter member of the Langston chapter of the Lions Club. Holloway was a family man and a role model to many. Following his wife’s death years earlier, he carried on and continued his work. Cherishing memories of their father are Holloway’s sons, Ernest L. Holloway Jr., Norman Holloway and Reginald Holloway—all Alpha men and Langston University graduates. H
O M E G A : Chapter of Sweet Rest
Only the Good Die Young: Elgin Olu Stafford was a Brother’s Keeper BROTHER’S REFLECTION By Jarvis Givens
here is nothing normal about
I recall countless episodes of
writing a tribute to one of
Elgin singing Japanese music, by his
your best friends when he dies so
favorite artist, Crystal Kay, at the
terribly young. Such is the case
top of his lungs to the dismay of the
with Brother Elgin Olu Stafford. It
rest of the brothers in our house.
is horrific to know that his life was
I couldn’t help but laugh when I
cut so short, at age 23.
caught myself humming the lyrics
in the car one day—lyrics of which
He entered Omega Chapter in
March 2012, in Los Angeles.
I had not the slightest capacity to
Spontaneous and kindhearted
are words that describe the memories
I will cherish of my dear friend and
was always one to remind others of
line brother. We were initiated into
the often overlooked yet vital aspects
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity on Nov.
of life—family, friendship, and
10, 2007, at Alpha Epsilon Chapter at the University of California Berkeley, along with our line brothers Mario Jay Carroll, Terance Orme and David Hampton II.
As an Alpha man, Brother
Stafford took seriously the brotherly bonds of this organization and was always one to lift up his brothers in their time of need. I will never forget
This young man, my brother,
culture. He advocated tolerance for Brother Elgin Olu Stafford
Brother Stafford took seriously the brotherly bonds of this organization and was always one to lift up his brothers in their time of need.
his persistence in making sure that
difference, worked tirelessly to stop the bullying of young gay people, and worked on the campus of UC Berkeley to bring African-American students together to fight for equality for all people. He always had a smile to warm the hearts of those who crossed his path.
Elgin Stafford was a precious gift
of a friend and brother who can never
his brothers took time for themselves
perspective he had on life. I believe that
be replaced. What he gave us while he
when school became stressful, or that
he, in his Sierra Leonean roots and
was here is enmeshed in our memory
they did something fun when life was
extensive world traveling, saw himself
and gives us an everlasting will and
becoming too mechanical. He was
to be a world citizen—a man with love
reason to love more and more.
truly his brothers’ keeper.
for all mankind. It was no surprise
Brother Stafford and I both
to me when he was admitted to the
forever be ingrained in my thoughts
entered UC Berkeley as freshmen in
University of Southern California
and in my heart. To him I bid farewell
fall 2006. Between then and now, I
(USC) to pursue a master’s degree in
and say may you rest in heavenly peace. H
have come to admire the international
Brother Stafford’s gentle spirit will
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
O M E G A : Chapter of Sweet Rest
Jerry Hammond was bold city leader in American Midwest NEW YORK HAD ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JR. Atlanta had Maynard H. Jackson. Ohio’s capital city of Columbus had Jerry Hammond. Brother Hammond, 76, of Columbus, Ohio, was a trailblazer. He was a formidable public servant, the first African American president of the Columbus City Council and a passionate supporter of the arts. Brother Hammond, born in neighboring state Indiana, was a member of Alpha Rho Lambda Chapter in Columbus. He always lived up to the aims of the fraternity. He was a leader who was extremely concerned about the city of Columbus, its neighborhoods and its people. He served on the city council for 16 years, from 1974 until retiring in1990. The was president the final six years. He led efforts to outlaw discrimination in employment and housing, and to establish goals for minority and female WILLIE J. BRADLEY, 87, of Colonial Heights, Va., joined Alpha in 1947 at Beta Gamma Chapter at Virginia State University (VSU) in Petersburg, Va. A life member, he was most recently active with Nu Omicron Lambda Chapter in Fort Lee Va., where he was a charter member. Brother Bradley earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts in 1949, and a master’s degree in 1973, both from VSU. His college education was interrupted by military service with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was recalled to active military service in 1950 during the Korean Conflict and remained on active duty until his retirement in 1969. A dedicated alumnus of his alma mater, he served on several VSUrelated boards and committees. In 1991, he was inducted into the VSU
56 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
participation in city-funded projects. Prior to serving on the council, he chaired the Police Community Relations Committee that helped draft the city’s first written policy on use of deadly force. Hammond also worked tirelessly to help the city grow and prosper by working for strong neighborhoods, strategic economic development and growth policies. He was recognized nationally for his knowledge of human services needs, particularly in the areas of redevelopment and housing. Long before his public service, Hammond was a community organizer and worked in the corporate world. In the 1960s, he was a youth counselor. In 1969, he joined Columbus Southern Power (later American Electric Power) and for two decades led the utility’s civic and corporate affairs. He entered Omega Chapter on Aug. 10, 2010, after a decadelong bout with Parkinson’s disease. To remember Brother Hammond, memorial contributions may be made to King Arts Complex, 867 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Columbus, OH 43203 and to The Madden Center for Parkinson’s Disease at The Ohio State University, Department of Neurology, 395 W. 12th Ave., Room 740, Columbus, OH 43210. H
Sports Wall of Fame and was honored as Alumnus of the Year in 1996. In the community, Bradley was a longtime member of Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg and an active member of the local Democratic Party. He received the Boy Scouts of America Robert E. Lee Council’s Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service to youth and also received a community service award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He entered Omega Chapter on July 2, 2011, in Richmond, Va., and was buried with full military honors in Chester, Va. FRANKLYN V. DUFFY, 92, of Toledo, Ohio, helped usher in the use of fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Brother Duffy, a retired dentist, conducted a study in the late 1950s
while he was director of Toledo’s dental health division. His research confirmed the value of drinking-water fluoridation in reducing tooth decay in children. Duffy left the Buckeye State to go to college at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Mich., where he earned an agriculture degree. But he learned more than science while there. He was barred from living in an MSU dormitory because he was black. With the help of a Michigan legislator and the NAACP, he challenged the discrimination and became the first black student to have a dorm room there. In the late 1940s, he and his wife, Helen, settled in Raleigh, where he worked for the federal government helping farmers improve their harvests through such practices as crop rotation. But they soon left for Columbus, Ohio, after he was beaten up for being in a restaurant with a “white” woman, who was his light-
O M E G A : Chapter of Sweet Rest skinned wife. After settling in Columbus, Duffy enrolled in dental school at Ohio State University. He took classes during the day and cleaned tables in a hotel at night. During weekends, he sorted mail for the post office. In 1956, he earned a doctor of dental surgery degree and then returned to Toledo and opened his practice. Duffy was also a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II. In addition to his membership in Alpha Phi Alpha and the Alpha Rho Lambda Chapter, he was affiliated with Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and the NAACP. He died in a Columbus hospital, and entered Omega Chapter on April 21, 2010, after a battle with lung disease. JOSEPH C. HARRISON SR., 66, of Columbus, Ohio, was a member of Alpha Rho Lambda Chapter. Born in 1944 in New Orleans, La., he graduated from the Ohio State University in Columbus in 1966, with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. An avid community leader, Brother Harrison worked to assist the poor, disabled and the elderly. During his college years, he was an active participant in activities of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also worked in Ohio to organize people to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign and marches on Washington during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Professionally, Harrison was a member of the Ohio Housing Authority conference and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Harrison entered Omega Chapter on Aug. 10, 2010.
RAYMOND V. HAYSBERT SR., 90, of Baltimore, Md., joined Alpha in 1950 at Chi Lambda Chapter in Wilberforce, Ohio. A standout businessman, Brother Haysbert’s long life began on Jan. 19, 1920, when he was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He studied at Wilberforce University, and after serving in the U.S. Army (with the famed Tuskegee Airmen unit) he graduated cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1947. He subsequently went across the road to nearby Central State University (CSU) and earned another degree. In 1950, CSU awarded him a bachelor of science degree in accounting. He held several accounting jobs and also became an instructor at Central State. He also taught classes at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. He was a lecturer at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. Of all of his ventures, Haysbert will be best known for his affiliation with, and later ownership of, Parks Sausage Company. In 1952, he moved to Baltimore and joined the company as general manager. Working with Henry G. Parks, the company flourished and-by 1974, Haysbert was named president. He later bought the company. During his lifetime ,Haysbert owned and operated more than 15 businesses. He was honored numerous times for his business acumen and his philanthropic efforts, and he was a tireless fighter for equality and civil rights. He was a longtime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and
was also chairman of the Baltimore Urban League. He entered Omega Chapter on May 24, 2010. ROBERT “BOB” K. WRIGHT, 93, of Daytona Beach, Fla., was a member of Beta Delta Lambda Chapter, but his influence and inspiration within the fraternity reached far and wide. Not only did he serve at the local level, he also was the district director for Florida. Born in Mansfield, Ga., in 1917, Brother Wright’s first job as a kid was bagging flour and sugar into five-pound bags at the neighborhood grocery. Along with his work ethic and his mother’s determination, he attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla., where he was initiated into Alpha at the fraternity’s Beta Nu Chapter. His matriculation was briefly interrupted when he enlisted in the U.S. Army to help pay for his sister’s education. After his military service, he returned to campus and graduated in 1947. That same year, Mary McLeod Bethune hired him to teach tailoring at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach. He later attended South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C., where he graduated with a law degree in 1964. Over the years, his impact in the community was omnipresent. He helped bring federal dollars and programs to Volusia County, Fla., during U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. Wright died at his home in Daytona Beach after a long illness and entered Omega Chapter on June 14, 2011.
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
An Arab-American’s Journey By Ali Fadlallah
ON A COLD December day in the St. Paul, Minn., YMCA, I curled a pair of dumbbells as my future brother educated me on the spirit of Alpha Phi Alpha. The simplistic eloquence of his message resonates as strongly with me today as the legacy of our Jewels. He said: “The majority of us in Alpha do not share blood; but those of us who hold Alpha high are no less brothers. What we do share in lieu of blood is sweat and vision. And those two things bond us in ways that blood alone cannot.” Upon first knocking on the door of Alpha Phi Alpha’s 11th house, I could not understand why brothers kept peering at me through the window shades, laughing, and reluctant to open the door. My white skin camouflaged Minneapolis’ snow-covered streets, and I was often told that my cornrows helped bear me a resemblance to the musical artist Sean Paul. With a do-rag covering my braids, a red bandana covering my do-rag, and a Twin Cities fitted cap covering my red bandana, I could barely foresee the ensuing evolution of the bald, Arab Alpha man that would eventually cross the burning sands. At the time, I was merely focused on getting out of the cold and into the 11th house. I kept knocking. As different faces appeared through the window, I was taken by how many of them I recognized. Wow, he’s an Alpha, too? Isn’t he a professor? Isn’t he a district attorney? Isn’t he our starting linebacker? Soon, dawn became dusk, and my knuckles began to harden like December’s soil. Nonetheless, I continued to knock. Finally, a brother cracked the window sill open and spoke: “What can I do for you, lil’ guy?” With little hesitation I responded: “I want to be an Alpha man.” His eyebrows shot up like a tempered father’s and after staring at me intently for several moments, he replied: “You own a suit?” I waited anxiously for the door to open, but to my disappointment, I received no such invitation. I continued knocking. Shortly thereafter, a young, half-AfricanAmerican, half-Caucasian man approached and began knocking with me. With four sets of knuckles drumming, we still heard no response. Then, a third gentleman showed up—this time an immigrant 58 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
from Nigeria—and he began knocking, as well. There were now six sets of knuckles banging on Mu Chapter’s door; still no response. Together, we began to sweat and grow hungry. We were starving for likeminded mentors and peers. We were thirsty for a loving network of go-getters in the name of service and advocacy. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I walked to those doorsteps of the 11th house in search of my identity. However, I would do justice to say that I came to Alpha because my identity was in search of a home. I was born in Detroit and grew up in Dearborn, Mich., a nearby suburb and the densest Arabpopulated region outside of the Middle East. The cultural gap between my peers and me and our immigrant parents is as wide as the American educational gap for blacks and whites. As a child on Dearborn’s east side, I watched neighbors and dear friends fall victim to violence and drug abuse that mirrored and plagued our neighboring Detroit. Today, my first-generation, immigrant peers and I remain marginalized members of society. Like the roots of all social inequalities, the injustices began in schools. Many of our teachers took pride in perpetuating a cycle that championed materialism and mediocrity over service and scholarship. Consumed with the common immigrant struggle to balance indigenous values with an adopted American culture, the youth remain blinded to the inequalities that psychologically and socially affect our young people of color. Despite being born into Dearborn’s culture, my journey has been far from heroic. My parents are living martyrs who have scratched, scraped and persevered through poverty, utmost change and cold inequalities to pay for their childrens’ college education. When my mother brought her dream to life and opened Motor City Pharmacy in Detroit, and my father became the principal of my middle school (and later high school), Mama still patched my torn jeans. It was her way of teaching me that there are starving, hollow eyes beyond the steps of the new home that she and my father had built in Dearborn. Throughout my journey as an educator and artist, the
Into Alpha Phi Alpha
Mu Chapter brothers “strolling” at the Black Student Union’s annual Ebony Ball at the University of Minnesota, from front to back: Damola Ogundipe, Thomas Toley and Ali Fadlallah.
lessons from my parents and the spirit of my fraternity have coincided sources of empowerment—constantly reminding me that the only way to truly give back is by paying it forward. As we memorialized Brother Martin Luther King Jr. last year with a national memorial, I am thankful that my parents instilled in me the same fervor for fighting injustices that King infused into our country. Beyond the riveting messages of his famous speeches and marches, I am most inspired by a message regarding brothers and sisters in the struggle for civil rights that Brother King delivered to his children during dinner, when he set his fork down and insisted: “You will never be what you ought to be, until they are what they ought to be.” Indeed, we work tirelessly in the name of brotherhood because we understand this very
responsibility best. And so there we stood: three aspirants of Alpha representing four heritages, four cultures, the immigrant experience, the firstgeneration experience, and the multi-generational experience. As we knocked relentlessly in the cold, we began to ask each other the burning questions: “Why Alpha?” Then, “Why not?” Then finally, “Where else?” And as we knocked and probed each other, we became one mind. We then shared not only sweat, but also a vision. And therein our six sets of knuckles became seven—the number of completion—on that tenth day of February in 2009. The Mu Chapter—the chapter that gave us Raymond Cannon, the first editor of The Sphinx and our 12th general president—brothers opened the door with gifts and welcoming arms and we became men of Alpha. H Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
62 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
Why I Wanted To Be an Alpha Man By Sean M. Allen
WHAT DEFINES A MAN? Is it the outward appearance or the inward perseverance? My childhood memories and perceptions of my godfather are prevalent and still hold true even to this day. It seemed as if his everyday purpose was to think above and beyond himself for his family and friends, while selflessly sacrificing for his community. A Christian, family man, businessman and gentleman were just some lifestyles that describe him. He is my role model. He is an Alpha man. As I grew older, I obtained a great appreciation of the morals and values of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. While enrolled at North Carolina A&T State University, the Alpha chapter on campus held several programs that encompassed professional development and academicstimulating incentives, coupled with volunteer events that had a direct
impact on the local urban community. Today, I believe that the fraternity’s aims of manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind resonate with my personal values. In fact, after five years of being interested in membership, my motivation to join the fraternity only grew stronger. Alpha Phi Alpha is a trailblazer in the world. Its long-term commitment to leading the community for more than 105 years remains true. The Alpha men were the first to develop and publish a history of black college life. To this day, I perform my manly deeds, I am an effective leader of scholarship, and I make a positive impact on the community. However, exercising that leadership with brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha, could impact more lives. In the end, making an exponential impact to the community is a goal that I am committed to for the rest of my life. Most importantly, Alpha Phi
High in the sky: Brother Sean M. Allen as pilot in command.
Alpha represents brotherhood— something that cannot be molded anywhere else. Gaining wisdom and advice from the more seasoned generations provides invaluable knowledge that I can build upon in my life and pass on to those who come after me. Plus, having the opportunity to fellowship and socialize with men from diverse backgrounds creates a stronger feeling of cultural identity. Because I am a part of the global fraternity that Alpha is, I aspire to travel thousands of miles and still be able to perform the work of Alpha with fraternity brothers overseas. Thurgood Marshall once said: “We can always stick together when we are losing, but tend to find means of breaking up when we’re winning.” The brotherhood of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. unites to make a positive difference in the world during times of triumph and victory. What defines a man to me is not the life that he lives, but the influence and legacy that he gives.H Sean M. Allen is a project manager at BP USPL and a private pilot. He was initiated at Beta Psi Lambda Chapter in Los Angeles, Calif., in April 2012.
Alpha neophytes from Beta Psi Lambda’s April 2012 line (from left) Brothers Frankie Sandoval, Sean M. Allen, Craig Bailey, De Shon Andrews and Charles Lemle. Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
Henry Arthur Callis
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Acting General President Aaron Crutison, Sr. email@example.com
Charles Henry Chapman
Regional Assistant Vice President Southwest Roger Sancho firstname.lastname@example.org
Immediate Past General President Darryl R. Matthews, Sr. email@example.com
Regional Assistant Vice President West Cameron Henry firstname.lastname@example.org
General Treasurer Hyacinth C. Ahuruonye email@example.com
General Counsel Keith A. Bishop firstname.lastname@example.org
Comptroller Steven Sims email@example.com
Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer William Douglass Lyle firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional Vice President - East Sean L. McCaskill email@example.com Regional Vice President - Midwest Elgie R. Sims firstname.lastname@example.org Regional Vice President - South James L. Crumel email@example.com Regional Vice President - Southwest Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. firstname.lastname@example.org Regional Vice President - West Aaron Crutison, Sr. email@example.com Regional Assistant Vice President East Christopher Alexander firstname.lastname@example.org Regional Assistant Vice President Midwest Frederick L. Cox III email@example.com Regional Assistant Vice President South Xavier Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
62 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
APPOINTED OFFICERS Historian Robert L. Harris, Jr. email@example.com Editor-in-Chief The Sphinx Ricky L. Blalock firstname.lastname@example.org Interim Director of General Conventions Van Strickland email@example.com ARCHIVIST Jerome Offord, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org GENERAL CONVENTION OFFICIALS Parliamentarian Anderson C. Elridge, III email@example.com Chaplain William E. Flippin, Sr. firstname.lastname@example.org Sergeant of Arms Ron Russell email@example.com
Eugene Kinckle Jones
GENERAL CONVENTION COMMITTEES CHAIRMEN RULES & CREDENTIALS Eric Clark firstname.lastname@example.org AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENT Herman Clifton Johnson email@example.com GRIEVANCES AND DISCIPLINE Hervery B. O. Young, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org STANDING COMMITTEES CHAIRMEN CONSTITUTION Ricky L. Blalock email@example.com ENDOWMENT & CAPITAL FORMATION Robert L Wright firstname.lastname@example.org BUDGET & FINANCE Frank Humphrey email@example.com ELECTIONS Thomas A. Phillips firstname.lastname@example.org MEMBERSHIP, STANDARDS & EXTENSION Melvin M. Stroble, Sr. email@example.com PUBLICATIONS James W. Ward firstname.lastname@example.org HISTORICAL COMMISSION Norman E.W. Towels email@example.com PUBLIC POLICY Tyson King-Meadows firstname.lastname@example.org HUMAN RESOURCES Antonio I. M. Johnson, Esq. email@example.com
George Biddle Kelley
Nathaniel Allison Murray
Robert Harold Ogle
Vertner Woodson Tandy
RACIAL JUSTICE (COMMISSION) Derrick Pope, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGIATE SCHOLARS BOWL James “JI” Irvin JIrvin06@nemesispromotions.com
ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS Zollie J. Stevenson, Jr. email@example.com
31st General President Harry E. Johnson, Sr. firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE BROTHERS AFFAIRS (COMMISSION) Maurice D. Gipson email@example.com
HOUSING Jerryl E. Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org
POLITICAL ACTION Arthur Vaughn email@example.com
30th General President Adrian L. Wallace firstname.lastname@example.org
HEALTH & WELLNESS Michael A. Smith email@example.com
RECLAMATION Bradley D. Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
29th General President Milton C. Davis email@example.com
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES Jamil Omar Buie firstname.lastname@example.org
PROJECT ALPHA Byron D. Gautier email@example.com
28th General President Henry Ponder firstname.lastname@example.org
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. MEMORIAL INTERNAL FUNDRAISING Frank Russell, Jr. email@example.com
RITUAL & CEREMONIES Russell E. Flye firstname.lastname@example.org
27th General President Charles C. Teamer, Sr. email@example.com
SENIOR ALPHA AFFAIRS
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Andre A. Moss firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT Audrey L. Mackey email@example.com
26th General President Ozell Sutton 1640 Loch Lomond Trail, SW Atlanta GA 30331 (404) 344-0370
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Brandon Tucker firstname.lastname@example.org
TIME AND PLACE Maurice Jenkins email@example.com
MEDIATION & ARBITRATION Edwin D. Givens, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
WALK AMERICA-MARCH OF DIMES Wilbert L. Brown email@example.com
MILITARY BROTHERS Langston D. Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
WORLD POLICY COUNCIL Horace G. Dawson, Jr. email@example.com
MEMBERSHIP INTAKE TASK FORCE Walter Kimbrough firstname.lastname@example.org
BUSINESS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (COMMISSION) Cecil Howard, Esq. email@example.com LIFE MEMBERSHIP Charles P. Loeb, III firstname.lastname@example.org SPECIAL COMMITTEES CHAIRMEN ALPHA PHI ALPHA GOES GREEN INITIATIVE Sacoby Wilson email@example.com ALPHA LITERACY INITIATIVE Vacant AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY Anton C. Bizzell firstname.lastname@example.org ALPHAS IN THE ACADEMY M. Christopher Brown email@example.com BELFORD V. LAWSON ORATORICAL Gregory L. Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org BIG BROTHERS & BIG SISTERS Dale H. Long email@example.com BOY SCOUTS Verdree Lockhart firstname.lastname@example.org BLACK AND GOLD PAGEANT Andre Prospere email@example.com COLLEGE LIFE TO CORPORATE LIFE Nicholas B. Fletcher Nick.Fletcher@kellogg.com
MIS / TECHNOLOGY Wendell D. Ferguson firstname.lastname@example.org NATIONAL ARTS AND HUMANITIES ADVISORY COUNCIL Darryl Bell email@example.com NEW FRATERNAL PROGRAM INITIATIVES Ronald J. Peters firstname.lastname@example.org
EDUCATION FOUNDATION Waldo Johnson email@example.com
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Corporate Office 2313 St. Paul St. Baltimore, MD 21218 (410) 554-0040 (410) 554-0054 Fax www.apa1906.net ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY JEWEL FOUNDERS
BUILDING FOUNDATION Robert “Bob” Leandras Jones, II firstname.lastname@example.org PAST GENERAL PRESIDENTS
25th General President James Williams 1733 Brookwood Drive Akron, OH 44313 (330) 867-7536
Henry Arthur Callis Charles Henry Chapman Eugene Kinckle Jones George Biddle Kelley Nathaniel Allison Murray Robert Harold Ogle Vertner Woodson Tandy
32nd General President Darryl R. Matthews, Sr. email@example.com
Winter/Spring 2012 H THE SPHINX
PERSPECTIVE: THE LAST PAGE
Higher Ground By Eric Ham
IT’S BEEN MONTHS, and seems like ages ago now, that the last bastion of competition in the Republican Primary race—Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich—withdrew giving then Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney his long-awaited quest to be the party’s official nominee. Now, with Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, come November, they and President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will face-off to see who occupies the White House through January 20, 2017. During the Primary season, there were numerous debates featuring a slew of candidates vying to become the Republican’s choice to take on the Democratic incumbent. The rhetoric was heated, provocative, and at times, disappointing. But as Romney/Ryan and Obama/Biden lock horns and their respective campaigns gear up for the fall showdown one can only hope for a more engaging and nuanced examination of the many serious challenges America faces. Over the course of campaign we’ve seen roughly 20 Republican debates and millions in dollars spent on campaigning. So far, for the most part, the country has yet to hear proposed solutions or alternative visions that address such compelling issues as a nuclear-armed Iran; the increasingly fragile state of the global economy; or a comprehensive strategy for confronting fragile and failing states that pose myriad of national security challenges a la the Arab Awakening. The media punditry is projecting the money spent on this presidential election could exceed $2 billion. A remarkable amount by any stretch, and even more amazing considering the severity of the U.S. economy. All that money, coming from the campaigns as well as the Super PACs, will be used by the Republicans and Democrats to outline their strategy, fuel their mission and communicate their message to the voters. However, with less than three months to go until Election Day,
64 THE SPHINX H Winter/Spring 2012
candidates in both parties have offered very little in terms of solutions for the way forward on U.S. global strategy. Of course, one of the arguments to be made is that Primary Election season rarely displays substance, grand strategy or nuance as candidates attempt to placate their respective bases. Now that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan are in full campaign mode, as is the president and vice president; the conventions set and staged; and platforms promulgated, it’s now is the time for both teams to take the nation to higher ground. Opinion polls have been showing for months the country is on the wrong track and the electorate is still uneasy about the economy despite signs of a recovery. The U.S. debt is still alarmingly high and continues to climb, estimated to reach above $15 trillion this year. Gasoline prices have gone from shocking to outright frightening with no end in sight. In light of these economic troubles, neither Romney, who talks incessantly about his private-sector experience, or Obama, have demonstrated an in-depth understanding of the problems confronting the economy or that they have a plan to address them. Exacerbating these anxieties is increased rhetoric about Iran and its potential to produce a nuclear weapon. This predicament has many oil speculators wary, which in turn is leading to higher oil prices; this despite the United States’ record domestic oil production during the Obama presidency. Yet, potential Israeli attacks on Iran’s nuclear program could also disrupt the transportation of oil through the Straits of Hormuz, which might be the reason for the uptick in oil prices. Additionally, China’s economy is slowing and as a large consumer of U.S. goods, what will this mean for an already fragile American economic recovery? Moreover, the ongoing debt crisis plaguing the Eurozone could have far reaching
effects on the U.S. economy. For example, if once stable nations such as Greece and Italy (who have already needed several bailouts) should have another major setback, repercussions to U.S. markets would be devastating; possibly wiping out any modest gains to the financial markets and freezing access to capital. This doomsday scenario could send the U.S economy into a tailspin not seen since the Great Depression. The intricacies of globalization are complicated and very messy. Therefore, it is high time candidates make the electorate a part of the conversation and speak directly to the American people about how grave the situation is facing the country. For as great as the nation is and can be, these intractable issues cannot be conquered through simple poll testing, focus groups or catchy campaign slogans. This is a journey. A journey the American people may be willing to embark on, but one they certainly don’t want to go on alone. The candidate that exposes all the dangers and offers a detailed plan for a better way forward will be the successful one. That will be the candidate who shows the people to higher ground.H The views, opinions and words expressed here on PERSPECTIVE: THE LAST PAGE are solely those of the author and do not reflect any opinion or position of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., or The Sphinx. Eric Ham is founder of Washington-based The XII Project and managing editor of Capitol Connections.
Jewel Vertner Woodson Tandy in early years
Jewel Tandy at the 1939 Alpha General Convention
The WINTER/SPRING 2012 ISSUE ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY, INC. 2313 ST. PAUL STREET BALTIMORE, MD 21218-5234