Happy 110th Birthday, Alpha Phi Alpha!

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated was founded at Cornell University on December 4, 1906. It is the oldest of the Black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs) which form the National PanHellenic Council (NPHC). The seven founders, the “Jewels” of Alpha Phi Alpha, are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.

In 1909, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois became an Honorary Member of the University of Michigan chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. During that same year, he was one of the founders of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Dr. Du Bois with the Howard University chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha

Dr. Du Bois with the Howard University chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha.


Born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was raised in the western New England town. From 1885-88, he studied at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. His tuition was paid by the members of his church, the First Congregation Church of Great Barrington. In addition to a diploma from Fisk, he was quickly schooled in the blatant racism of the American south. He then studied at Harvard College where he earned a second undergraduate degree. A fellowship offered him the opportunity to study at the University of Berlin before he became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895.

Dr. DuBois was an academic, a writer, and a civil rights activist. He died on August 27, 1963, in Ghana, at the age of 95.

In February 2017, Segun Ojewuyi, a friend and fellow Rotarian who is in the Department of Theater at Southern Illinois University, will direct a production of “A Nightingale for Dr. Du Bois.The production, written by Femi Osofisan, featuresMusic, dance and poetry celebrate the life of civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois in the two weeks before his death.”


© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All rights reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/


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