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Did you know that the bothers of Phi Beta Sigma have strong ties to the latino-based fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta? It turns out that the founding father of Sigma Lambda Beta just so happens to be a member of Phi Beta Sigma.

The Founding Father of Sigma Lambda Beta, Baltazar Mendoza-Madrigal, crossed Phi Beta Sigma and saw the great service it was doing for the advancement of the African American community. As time progressed, in the Fall of 1985, he saw the need for a similar organization that could do the same things for the Latino community.

He then went to the national board of Phi Beta Sigma and asked them for permission to found his own organization with similar goals and aspirations geared towards the Latino community. They granted him this opportunity and allowed him to build this Latino fraternity without having to drop his Phi Beta Sigma letters. He met together with 17 other men at the University of Iowa and founded Sigma Lambda Beta.

“After months of dedicated research, Mendoza-Madrigal called for a special meeting on March 7, 1986,” Sigma Lambda Beta’s national website states. “Held at the Chicano Native American Cultural Center (now known as the Latino Native American Cultural Center), this meeting would bring together the Latino students to discuss the feasibility of creating a social fraternity that would focus on the Latino culture.

‘The Latino community was divided among several social groups at the time,’ said Mendoza-Madrigal. The enthusiasm in favor of establishing a social fraternity that could help in unifying the community was so great that word started to spread quickly across the University of Iowa campus. Everyone knew that something great was about to take place. After much planning, the ideology and philosophy of this new organization were finalized on April 4th, 1986. Henceforth, this day is recognized as the official founding date of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity at The University of Iowa.”

Twenty nine years later, Sigma Lambda Beta is a proud fraternity that has grown to over 100 collegiate entities spanning across 29 states from “Coast to Coast.” While they continue to focus on the Latino community their membership has expanded beyond their Hispanic-Latino origins making them one of the most culturally diverse greek letter organizations in the US.

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(Sigma Lambda Beta founders)

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The photo above is from a Phi Beta Sigma founder’s day ball. Baltazar is front row, second from the right.

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Share this with a Sigma or a Beta and make their day!

It is amazing that black and brown people have this shared history!

If you liked this article, make sure to check out “GOMAB! These Five World Leaders Are Proud Members Of Phi Beta Sigma!” by clicking on the image below!presidential-sigmas-620x356

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Alphas

Dick Gregory was a man of Alpha Phi Alpha.

On Saturday, Dick Gregory, a pioneering force of comedy in the 1960s who later became an iconic social and political activist died of heart failure at the age of 84.

“It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory, departed this earth tonight in Washington, D.C.,” his son Christian Gregory said via a statement from his father’s rep. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Before his fame, Gregory was a 1954 initiate of the Beta Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at Southern Illinois University.

In the chapter photo below you will see him in the back row, third from the left.

Upon learning of their brother’s passing, Alpha Phi Alpha’s international Facebook page posted their condolences to the family.

As we celebrate the legacy of Brother Dick Gregory let us reflect on the following quote as we continue his legacy as men of Alpha in pursuit of justice and equality.
‘One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people’

Gregory’s home chapter, the Beta Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at Southern Illinois University also took to Twitter to memorialize their chapter brother.

We ask that you keep Gregory’s family, friends, and fraternity brothers in your thoughts. We also ask that you share this and leave your condolences and memories of him as a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha and a member of the Black greek community so that others can see how much he meant to all of us.

“Not all great men are Alphas, but all Alphas are great men.”

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chapter leadership

The Man Who Wrote the Much-Recited Poem “If” Also Wrote One of the Most Racist Poems of All Time

British colonist being carried by African men
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With the decision by Kappa Alpha Psi’s Colin Kaepernick to boycott the National Anthem, our nation has started to question and discuss the meaning of other symbols and practices that seem every day to us.

In an effort to keep the conversation going, we at WatchTheYard.com think that it is time that we as Black Greeks take a look at the much-recited poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling. While we strongly all agree that this is one of the best poems that new members and interests of Black fraternities and sororities in certain regions of the United States are asked to learn, it is the writer and not the poem that we find problematic and controversial.

For those who don’t know it, “IF” goes as follows:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.

Sounds great right? There is a reason that many members of Black fraternities and sororities know this poem by heart, it’s about controlling one’s destiny, being able to lose everthing and start from scratch, be able to converse with important people but not forget where you came from and how to talk to “the little guy.” Its about giving your all, pushing through and being a hard-working exceptional human being.

While all of this is great, it turns out that British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, the writer of “IF” and the Jungle Book also wrote the famous poem “The White Man’s Burden” that just so happens to be one of the most racist poems you will ever read. If “the man” had a favorite poem, this would be his ISH.

The poem proposes that white men have a “moral obligation to rule the non-white peoples of the Earth, whilst encouraging their economic, cultural, and social progress through colonialism until they can independently manage their own affairs.” It literally encourages white men to go out and subjugate and rule non-whites because it is their duty.

Here is the poem:

Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed

  Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need;

To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild—

  Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden, In patience to abide,

  To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain

  To seek another’s profit, And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden, The savage wars of peace—

  Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought,

  Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden, No tawdry rule of kings,

  But toil of serf and sweeper, The tale of common things.

The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread,

  Go make them with your living, And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden And reap his old reward:

  The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard—

The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—

  “Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden, Ye dare not stoop to less—

  Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloak your weariness;

By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do,

  The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden, Have done with childish days—

  The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood, through all the thankless years

  Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!

…yeah…that was pretty racist right? Before we got out of the first stanza it referred to non-whites as the white man’s “new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.” The rest gets even worse.

A 1920s map of the global distribution of the races who are "the white man's burden".

A 1920s map of the global distribution of the races who are “the white man’s burden”.

Let’s leave it at this, there is no doubt in our mind that “IF” is an amazing poem, it actually happens to be one of the favorite poems the brother who is writing this article learned while crossing. We just want you to know the history behind it.

To some people, this is important information that might cause their chapter to rethink if having initiates in their Black fraternity learn the words to a poem written by a guy who advocated for oppressing no-whites. Other people can argue that the words and meaning of the poem are bigger than their writer.

What you do with this knowledge is really up to you.

Please leave a comment with any alternatives to this poem that get the same message across.

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Click on the arrows below to see more racist cartoons from the time “The White Mans Burden” was written about “The White Mans Burden”

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AKAs

Story Behind The Picture: Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Famed Marian Anderson And Segregation In New Orleans

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The following photograph depicts the Sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. of New Orleans, as they gather to receive and regale the famous contralto and AKA Soror Marian Anderson.

According to Creolegen.com, “Miss Anderson was made an honorary member of AKA by the national organization after an incident wherein the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow her to sing at Constitution Hall, a hall which the DAR owned. Daughters of the American Revolution had a strict policy against allowing African-American entertainers on their stage. In response, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt withdrew her membership in the DAR and instead, invited Ms. Anderson to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This momentous event took place on Easter Sunday, 09 April 1939, before a crowd of 75,000 people.”


After this worldwide notoriety came to Miss Anderson, the Philadelphia native from a deeply religious family gained international star status.

The following photo was taken at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Kriege of St. Charles Avenue on Monday night (6/5/1940) after Soror Anderson, held her much anticipated recital at the Municipal Auditorium. At the home she was entertained by her New Orleans Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters who regarded her as the world’s greatest singer. While this event was packed and celebrated it also sparked racial tension,

“Marian Anderson’s appearance in New Orleans had not been without controversy. The white organizers of the concert had planned a whites-only event, but after vociferous protests from blacks, the Municipal Auditorium allocated seats for them only in the balcony. The NAACP protested that “horizontal” segregation of this kind was insulting to people of color and that only “vertical” segregation, whereby colored and whites sat on opposite sides of the hall but on the same level, would be acceptable.

When the Municipal Auditorium’s Commission rejected this demand, refusing to let blacks sit on the ground floor, the NAACP voted to boycott the concert. This proposed boycott split the black community. The sororities and fraternities wanted the concert to go ahead because they saw it as an opportunity for an internationally renowned black singer to perform in New Orleans. Even the Louisiana Weekly lashed out at the organization in print accusing its executive director, Roy Wilkins of “fighting to keep Negroes from hearing a great Negro artist.” The NAACP failed to persuade Ms. Anderson to cancel her appearance and failed to dissuade blacks from attending. They lost the fight and Anderson’s concert was held with Negroes sitting in the balcony. An event many would never forget.”

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Here is a documentary on Soror Marian Anderson for those who would like to learn more about her.

Click on the arrows below to see more videos of Soror Marian Anderson performing.

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