Frederick Douglass and Harriet Ross Tubman were both born into slavery around the same time on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and became two of the best-known African Americans of the Civil War era. Both Douglass and Tubman escaped slavery as young adults: he in 1838, she in 1849, but did not turn their backs on their fellows in bondage and fought the rest of their lives to free their people.
While Douglass fought with words by becoming the spokesperson for the anti-slavery movement, giving lectures, and starting his own abolitionist newspaper, Harriet operated in the shadows. During a ten-year span, she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. She once proudly pointed out to Douglass, that in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”
Below you will find a very powerful letter written to Harriet by Douglas in 1868.
I am glad to know that the story of your eventful life has been written by a kind lady, and that the same is soon to be published. You ask for what you do not need when you call upon me for a word of commendation. I need such words from you far more than you can need them from me, especially where your superior labors and devotion to the cause of the lately enslaved of our land are known as I know them. The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day – you in the night. I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt, “God bless you,” has been your only reward. The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism. Excepting John Brown – of sacred memory – I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have. Much that you have done would seem improbable to those who do not know you as I know you. It is to me a great pleasure and a great privilege to bear testimony for your character and your works, and to say to those to whom you may come, that I regard you in every way truthful and trustworthy.
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Iota Phi Theta Founder Webster Lewis Was a Famous Jazz/ Disco Keyboardist
The brothers of Iota Phi Theta know it, but many outside of their great fraternity don’t know that one of the fraternity’s founders just so happens to be the amazing jazz and disco keyboardist, Webster Lewis.
Lewis was born in Baltimore in 1943 and attended Morgan State University where he became one of the founders of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. in 1963.
He attended the New England Conservatory of Music for his masters and went on to a have a very notable music career.
He started in jazz where he worked with George Russell, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, Stanton Davis, and the Piano Choir and in 1976, he signed with Epic Records where he produced a string of successful disco hits including “On the Town/Saturday Night Steppin’ Out/Do it With Style” in 1977 and “Give Me Some Emotion” in the 80s, both of which hit the music charts.
Lewis made a name for himself as a session musician and studio arranger, for greats including Barry White, Herbie Hancock, and others.
In the 80s he moved into doing soundtrack work for film and TV, including the movies The Hearse (1980), Body and Soul (1981) and My Tutor (1983).
In 2002, he passed away as a result of diabetes but his memory lives on through his hits and musical contributions as well as his phenomenal work to establish Iota Phi Theta.
Listen to some of his well-known hits below.
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The First Black Mayor of New York, David Dinkins, Is a Member of Alpha Phi Alpha
Did you know that the first Black Mayor of New York, David Dinkins is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha?
Dinkins crossed the Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at Howard University in 1984 where he graduated cum laude with a degree in mathematics in 1950.
Here is a picture of the Beta Chapter in 1950. David Dinkins is on the far left and Andrew Young, the man who would become the mayor of Atlanta, is the 6th brother from the right.
Dinkins received his LL.B. from Brooklyn Law School in 1956 and started a private practice from 1956 to 1975 while he rose to the head of the Democratic party in Harlem.
In 1966, Dinkins briefly served as a member of the New York State Assembly (78th D.) and later served as the president of the New York City Board of Elections (1972–1973) and New York City Clerk (1975–1985). In 1985, he became the Manhattan borough president and on On November 7, 1989, Dinkins made history by being elected mayor of New York City, defeating Republican nominee Rudy Giuliani in the general election.
After serving as mayor Dinkins served as a Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Dinkins, who is currently in his 90s, is a pride to his fraternity and in 2013 members of the Wall Street Alphas and the Beta Chapter Alumni Association (BCAA) hosted a special tribute to him at the Red Rooster Harlem. The event — entitled “An Alpha Man from Gotham” – brought together members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. across several generations to honor the legacy of Dinkins.
Check out this video the event below.
Video by Sun Chase Media
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Woody Strode: The Definition Of Alpha Phi Alpha Badass
If you want to know about manliness, hard work and grit, look no further than Alpha Phi Alpha’s very own, Woody Strode.
Strode was a college track and football star at UCLA, one of the first Blacks to integrate the NFL, a professional wrestler, a Golden Globe nominated actor, and a WWII veteran. This man was the definition of a renaissance man, keep reading this article and you will understand exactly why.
Strode was born in Los Angeles on July 25, 1914, the son of a Creek-Blackfoot-African-American father and a Cherokee-African-American mother. He grew up in South Central and became so good at sports(track and field/football) that he made it to UCLA and played alongside Jackie Robinson and Kenny Washington, both who broke the color barriers of baseball and football in the 1940s. His world-class decathlon capabilities were spearheaded by a 50 ft (15 m) plus shot put (when the world record was 57 ft (17 m)) and a 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) high jump (the world record at time was 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)). While in college, Strode joined UCLA’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter. Strode’s athletic physique was so appealing that a nude portrait of him was featured in Hubert Stowitts’s acclaimed exhibition of athletic portraits shown at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The exhibit was closed because the Nazis did not agree with the inclusion of black and Jewish athletes being show in such a powerful light.
When World War II broke out, Strode was playing for the Hollywood Bears Football team but quit to join the United States Army Air Corps and spent the war unloading bombs in Guam and the Marianas, as well as playing on the Army football team at March Field in Riverside, California.
In 1941, Strode married a real life princess. Strode’s first wife was Princess Luukialuana Kalaeloa (a.k.a. Luana Strode), a distant relative of Liliuokalani, the last queen of Hawaii. That same year he began his career as a professional wrestler and made his film debut in the movie “Sundown.”
Woody then went on to play professional football for the LA Rams from 1946-1948 and then the Calgary Stampeders, eventually retiring in 1949 to focus on acting. Between 1941 and 1962, Strode was billed as the Pacific Coast Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and the Pacific Coast Negro Heavyweight Wrestling Champion.
Strode’s exercise regimen was that of a superhero and nothing more than epic. He performed 1000 free squats, 1000 sit-ups, and 1000 pushups every day until he turned 40, at which point he reduced the numbers to 500.
Strode was noted for film roles that contrasted with the stereotypes of his time. He is probably best remembered for his brief Golden Globe-nominated role in Spartacus (1960) as the Ethiopian gladiator Draba, in which he fights Kirk Douglas to the death. By the time he died on New Year’s Eve, 1994, he had worked with such legendary directors as Cecil B. Demille (The Ten Commandments), Lewis Milestone (Pork Chop Hill), Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus), Sergio Leone (Once Upon A Time in the West), and John Ford (Sergeant Rutledge, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance).
Strode died of lung cancer on December 31, 1994, in Glendora, California, aged 80. He is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.
Strode was an Alpha Man and an Alpha male. Nothing could stop him and he did whatever he put his mind to. Please share this piece of history with your networks on Facebook and remind them that Alpha Phi Alpha does not play when it comes to influential members.
Click on the arrow below to see our gallery of VERY VERY badass photos of Strode throughout the years.
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