December 4th, 1906: Founder’s Day for the first Black Greek Organization in the world at Cornell University, which began as a result of seven men rallying against racism and segregation in academic institutions and beyond. Established during a time where very few outlets for Black upliftment existed, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated focuses on social and academic achievement with an emphasis on brotherhood at the core of its founding. In addition to being the oldest Black organization and the University of Michigan, Alpha Phi Alpha has developed numerous renowned members that have spearheaded changes in society for generations. Notable brothers include Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall and W.E.B. Du Bois, all of which are examples that showcase the prestige and honor of carrying the Alpha title. The Epsilon chapter at the University of Michigan has been around since 1909, making it one of the oldest chapters in the organization’s history.
To open their Founder’s Day this year, each one of the members welcomed attendees and emphasized their focus on community through a social hour. Displaying their national recognitions and awards, their hard work shows they have pioneered for over more than 100 years of service and leadership. All nine members openly invited the community for a time of socialization, with food and dance –– creating a day that not only celebrated the founding of their organization but also to uniting the Black community is always a welcome sight on campus.
“To me, Alpha Phi Alpha is more than just a fraternity,” D’Andre Simpson, Alpha Phi Alpha Epsilon chapter President said. “It’s an everlasting brotherhood that has allowed me to grow as a leader, serve my community, and most importantly meet the uncles of my future children. The brotherhood and service of my fraternity goes beyond college and I will forever have an impact on the world through my organization.”
The social hour was followed by a step reception. Through the cold and windy air, all Alpha brothers stood on the steps of Rackham graduate school, proudly showcasing their black and gold colors with heads held high. Brothers performed their difficult, sharp and powerful stroll routine, reciting the fraternity’s critical moments in Alpha history. In honor of Founder’s Day, the Alphas paid homage to its 1907 founding at Cornell University.
From Founder’s Day and beyond, Alpha Phi Alpha continues to be a localizing agent for cultivating fellowship in the Black community. Multiple Black students came to show their support for the group, including their sister sorority, the newly initiated Beta Eta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, making the Founders Day a memorable and historic night for all.