ALPHA PHI ALPHA
At the start of the 20th century, black students at American universities were often excluded from the personal and close associations the predominantly white student population enjoyed in fraternal organizations. During the 1905–06 school year, Cornell University saw the organization of the first Greek letter fraternity for black students, by black students. Alpha Phi Alpha was organized with the stated aim to provide a mechanism to build those associations and provide mutual support among African American students. At the outset, there was disagreement about the group's purpose: some wanted a social and literary club where everyone could participate, others a traditional fraternal organization. But there was general dissatisfaction with lack of access to a literary society, and members proposed to enlarge the functions of the group. The fraternal supporters were in the minority and the society thereafter worked to provide a literary, study, social, and support group for all minority students who encountered social and academic racial prejudice.
Founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University InIthaca, New York, and the founders are collectively known as the "Seven Jewels". Alpha Phi Alpha is the first intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established by African Americans.
The fraternity expanded when additional chapters were chartered at Howard University and Virginia Union University in 1907. From 1908, Alpha Phi Alpha became the prototype for other Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO). The fraternity has over 185,000 members and has been open to men of all races since 1940. Members of Alpha Phi Alpha include Jamaican Prime Minister Norman Manley, Nobel Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr., U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Olympian Jesse Owens, Justice Thurgood Marshall, United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, and Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.