Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, The Demands of Transcendence
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On December 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 Inc. has brought together and shaped such esteemed men as Martin Luther King Jr., Cornel West, Thurgood Marshall, Wes Moore, W. E. B. DuBois, Roland Martin, and Paul Robeson. “Born in the shadow of slavery and on the lap of disenfranchisement,” Alpha Phi Alpha—like other black Greek-letter organizations—was founded to instill a spirit of high academic achievement and intellectualism, foster meaningful and lifelong ties, and racially uplift those brothers who would be initiated into its ranks.
In Alpha Phi Alpha, Gregory S. Parks, Stefan M. Bradley, and other contributing authors analyze the fraternity and its members’ fidelity to the founding precepts set forth in 1906. They discuss the identity established by the fraternity at its inception, the challenges of protecting the image and brand, and how the organization can identify and train future Alpha men to uphold the standards of an outstanding African American fraternity. Drawing on organizational identity theory and a diverse array of methodologies, the authors raise and answer questions that are relevant not only to Alpha Phi Alpha but to all black Greek-letter organizations.
Gregory S. Parks, assistant professor of law at Wake Forest University School of Law, is coeditor of African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision and editor of Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun.
Stefan M. Bradley, associate professor of history and African American studies at Saint Louis University, is the author of Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s. He lives in Alton, Illinois.
"The history of Alpha Phi Alpha is the history of America’s Black Leaders. Gregory Parks and Stefan Bradley's book helps to illustrate and inspire a greater understanding of the unique, and important role of the first, continuous intercollegiate African American Greek letter organization in United States."-- Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
"Alpha Phi Alpha provides a scholarly look at how the ethos and identity of America’s oldest black intercollegiate fraternity has been crafted, influenced and challenged by the forces of society, culture and history. This pioneering work provides a serious framework for future conversations and solutions … If Alpha Phi Alpha, and black fraternities in general, intend to persist into the next millennium this work is a must read."--Dr. Rodney T. Cohen, Assistant Dean of Yale and Director of the Afro American Cultural Center
"This book provides a special opportunity for the members of Alpha Phi Alpha and the larger community to understand not only the fraternity’s history, but also its potential for addressing major societal issues, particularly those affecting young African American males. For anyone who believes in Alpha Phi Alpha, reading this book is a must because it forces us to reflect on the relationship of the fraternity’s future to its rich past. Regardless of how successful any organization is, a robust analysis of its contributions and shortcomings can only lead to an even more productive organization. America needed Alpha Phi Alpha in 1906; it needs it even more today."--Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
"Partly historical, partly sociological, partly a critique, and partly a call for reform. . . . A thoughtful book."--Choice
"As a member of the (hopefully) last generation of Alphas to know de jure segregation as a child, and the former president of Alpha Chapter Alumni Association, I welcome this publication edited by Brothers Gregory Parks and Stefan Bradley. My almost forty years as an Alpha have seen many changes in our beloved Fraternity and society, some positive, some not. It is for this reason that the reasoned debate in this book is particularly important. Specific discussions around symbolism, our collective identity, the internal and external mechanisms that created our history and identity, and the sad history of hazing must be told, and this publication provides that framework."--Dean Burrell, former Alpha Chapter Alumni Association president
"Drawing on organizational identity theory and a diverse array of methodologies, the authors raise and answer questions that are relevant not only to Alpha Phi Alpha but to all black Greek-letter organizations."--The Chronicle
“The authors raise and answer questions that are relevant not only to Alpha Phi Alpha but to all black Greek-letter organizations.”--Triangle Tribune
“An intriguing chronicle on the fraternity’s impact on these men, and its impact on overall society. . . . A fascinating study of the links that bring great minds together.”--Midwest Book Review
"Eleven well written chapters defining the identity and complexity of the fraternity are broken into five parts: the organizational identity, men who shaped the identity, internal and external mechanisms that define the identity, and the processes that shape the identity." -- Sheila Gaines, Tennessee Libraries