Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for black students. It had its beginnings on Tuesday, December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Alpha Phi Alpha started as a social study club that originally met at 421 North Albany Street, Ithaca, NY. The social study club was formed because social life, for blacks, was virtually non-existent. Furthermore, blacks were denied, for the most part, the mutual helpfulness which the majority of the students attending Cornell University regularly enjoyed. Seven brothers from the social study group had a vision of an organization encompassing the ideals of manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind. It was this vision that prompted those seven brothers to start the Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. From the Alpha chapter the fraternity spread to other college campuses. The fraternity was incorporated on January 29, 1908.
The Seven visionary founders, or “Jewels”, of
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. are:
Jewel Dr. Henry Arthur Callis
Jewel Charles Henry Chapman
Jewel Eugene Kinckle Jones
Jewel George Biddle Kelley
Jewel Nathanial Allison Murray
Jewel Robert Harold Ogle
Jewel Vertner Woodson Tandy
Click HERE to read more about the Jewels
These men labored in the years of severe economic times and racial conflict in the United States. Despite their difficulties of organization, the early fraternity pioneers succeeded in laying a firm foundation and remained steadfast in their goals pointing toward development of the fraternity membership-that is espousing the principles of good character, sound scholarship, fellowship, and uplifting of humanity, especially in the struggling Black community in the United States.
The fraternity has grown steadily in influence throughout the years. It has been interracial since 1945 and has expanded tremendously to the extent that there are now approximately 850 chapters located throughout the United States, Caribbean Islands, Africa, West Indies, Europe, and Asia.
The origins of the Xi Iota chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at the University of Central Florida parallel the beginnings of the Original chapter at Cornell University in 1906.
The University of Central Florida, in 1978, was quite different from what it is today. At that time the university was the only thing within miles. The population at UCF was approximately 14,000 and of that total three percent were African-American. There were already two black fraternities, the Omegas and the Sigmas, but those did not appeal to the needs of the nine brothers who initiated the pledge process. Most were familiar with Alpha Phi Alpha in some way so they went about finding out what would be needed to bring Alpha to UCF. The Graduate chapter in Orlando was brought into the process and a study group was started.
Social life at UCF, for blacks, was virtually non-existent and the brothers saw the potential for Alpha Phi Alpha to greatly improve the atmosphere, which it certainly did. The pledge process itself was long and arduous and nine brothers soon became eight, then seven. The brothers who remained crossed the burning sands on June 16, 1979, with a gala event held in the Student Center, that summer to celebrate the occasion. Those brothers were:
Carlton “Bulldog” Evans
Many things have changed over the years, however Xi Iota has adapted to the changes and continued to grow. We are still very active on campus and will continue to stay that way.