Thursday, December 3, 2009
The members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. in Prairie View will join Alphas around the world in commemorating its 103rd Anniversary with a special Founders’ Day Observance Program on December 6, 2009 in the Johnson Phillip All Faith Chapel at Prairie View A&M University at 3:00 pm. The speaker for the occasion is the honorable Al Edwards, Texas State Representative for District 146 in Houston.
Edwards, first elected in 1978, wrote and sponsored House Bill 1016, making June 19th, a state holiday. He narrowly lost the election in 2006 but returned to the Texas Capitol in January 2009 with more than 27 years of committed experience, dignity, and integrity. During his tenure in the house, Edwards wrote or sponsor legislation to increase funding for healthcare, lower costs for prescription drugs, restored the CHIP program, help senior citizens with lower property taxes and adult protective services and voted against increased college/university tuition; and laws to prohibit the taking of private property by eminent domain for economic development. Additionally, Edwards has served as the Chairman of the Rules and Resolutions Committee, Chairman of Budget and Oversight of the Ways and Means Committee and a member of the Appropriations Committee.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was the first fraternity founded for Black college men on December 4, 1906, on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., by Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.
Since its founding, the fraternity has provided leadership and service during the Great Depression, World War II, Civil Rights Movements, and addressed social issues such as apartheid and urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues affecting people of color. Under its charge manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind it has established programs for mentoring, academic achievement, voter education and has made community service priority number one. Some of its major programs include the Million Dollar Contribution to the National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the United Negro Scholarship Fund. The fraternity is leading the management and construction of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the Washington Mall. Dr. King was one of the most revered brothers of the fraternity. Attorney Harry E. Johnson, Sr., the fraternity’s 31st General President serves as the President of the MLK Foundation.
The fraternity boasts membership of more than two hundred thousand college trained men dispersed in more than 1,500 college and 900 alumni chapters throughout the United States, Korea, Europe and the Caribbean. Some of its prominent members include Justice Thurgood Marshall, Congressmen William Gray, Charles Rangel, Ralph Metcalf, Emmanuel Cleaver, Al Green; Ebony Publisher John H. Johnson, former PVAMU presidents Alvin I. Thomas, E. B. Evans and Charles Hines, Mayors Lee P. Brown, David Dinkins, Maynard Jackson, Frank Jackson, Raymond E. Carreathers and Jiles P. Daniels, Sr., Texas State Representative Sylvester Turner, musicians Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie; Rhodes Scholar, Activist and Leader Paul Robeson, Olympian Jesse Owens, and legendary coaches Eddie Robinson and Lenny Wilkins and to name a few.
The program is being hosted by the Epsilon Tau Lambda (Prairie View), and assisted by Pi Omicron (TAMU) and Pi Alpha Lambda (College Station) Chapters, all members of Area IX of the Fraternity.
The program is open to the public. Several community awards will be presented to outstanding citizens who have made significant contributions throughout the year. The group will also honor several members of the athletic programs at Prairie View A&M University.
The fraternity is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland and Mr. Herman Mason of Atlanta, Georgia is 33rd General President. Shawn Granger of Houston is the president of Epsilon Tau Lambda Chapter in Prairie View.