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History of Alpha Phi Alpha

Alpha Legacy: The Founding Seven Jewels

Jewels

Since its founding on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world. The founders of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, affectionately known to the members as the Jewels, were no ordinary achievers. Given racial attitudes in 1906,their accomplishments were monumental.

Founder Henry Arthur Callis euphemistically stated that because the half-dozen African American students at Cornell University during the school year 1904-05 did not return to campus the following year, the incoming students of 1905-06, in founding Alpha Phi Alpha, were determined to bind themselves together to ensure that each would survive in the racially hostile environment. The fraternity initially served as a study and support group for students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. The Jewels and early leaders of Alpha Phi Alpha succeeded in laying a firm foundation for the fraternity’s principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.

In coming together with this simple act, they preceded by decades the emergency of such on-campus programs as affirmative action, upward bound and remedial assistance. The students set outstanding example s of scholarship, leadership and success-presiding the efforts even of the NAACP and similar civil rights organizations.