Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. began at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York as a social study club for African American Males. The group was established to fill the void of social and cultural interaction on the Ivy League campus left behind by segregation. With the desire to organize a social and literary group in mind, C.C. Poindexter called for a meeting at his lodging place at 421 North Albany Street. Later in March 1906, another of these formative meetings was held at the residence of Miss Annie Singleton, located at 411 East State Street. Miss Singleton was later given the designation of mother of the fraternity as a compliment for all of her hard work and dedication.
As time progressed, but the need for social and cultural change continued, the group of men continued to be diligent in working towards their goal. After much debate and careful thought the decision was made to make the group a more formal entity. Therefore, on December 4th, 1906, the members’ dedication and dream was realized and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was born, making it the first African American Greek Letter Organization. The Founders of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. were no ordinary achievers and given the racial attitudes in 1906, their accomplishments were monumental. In coming together, the jewels set outstanding examples of scholarship, leadership, and success, preceding the efforts even of the NAACP and similar civil rights organizations.
In January of 1908, the fraternity was incorporated under the laws of New York State and was officially recognized as the first African American Fraternal Organization and the first to be incorporated. In its 96-year existence, Alpha Phi Alpha has implemented a number of national programs, which have benefited the African American community as well as communities as a whole. Many of the projects include: “A Voteless People, is a Hopeless People,” which concentrates on voter registration and awareness. “Go To High School, Go To College,” another nationally mandated program, which focuses on the educational enrichment of African American youth. Project Alpha is a national program involving frank discussions between brothers, health care professionals, and young black men about teenage pregnancy, personal responsibility in sexual experiences, and sexually transmitted disease prevention. Finally, the fraternity has partnered with other programs such as March of Dimes, Boy Scouts of America, and the Big Brother-Big Sister Programs.
Today, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity continues to be one of the most influential black organizations in the world-with over 150,000 members initiated since its inception. There are now over 500 chapters in North America, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Currently, the Torch of Enlightment, Scholarship, and Brotherhood is still carried by the members of this most illustrious fraternity. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was the first and remains the very heart and soul of Black Greek Letter Organizations worldwide.
Finally, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, as we continue to transcend all, the fraternity has finally unveiled a memorial at our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. to honor our very distinguished brother, the late Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many world leaders and citizens, foreign and domestic, are making the journey to visit this historic tribute to such an honored member of the exceptional brotherhood that is Alpha Phi Alpha.