Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity: A Centennial Celebration

The Early Alpha Chapter And Her Members, 1907-1930

“Don’t initiate until you have the right kind of material. Remember it is QUALITY we want instead of QUANTITY.”

Raymond W. Cannon,
12th General President
17 November 1925

List of Candidates for Ritual Test, November 22, 1913. [view]

In his letter to fellow Alpha chapter brothers, Thomas H. Amos, Jr., Class of 1916, lists candidates for nomination to undergo the ritual test.

Rushing Committee Report, L. H. Russell, Chair, V. O. Butler, A. P. Chippey, November 5, 1914. [view]

In its report, the Rushing Committee recommends that a potential candidate’s application be deferred based on his replies to the Ritual Test. The report reads, in part, “His answers to the questions involving women were crude and quite free in their scope. We the committee recommend that action on Mr. Burnett’s application be deferred until February.”

Annual Initiation Banquet Program, Alpha Chapter, 1912. [view image 1] | [view image 2] | [view image 3] | [view image 4] | [view image 5]

Membership Certificate (Shingle) for Abraham John Jackson, Cornell Class of 1918. Alpha Chapter, signed by Seventh General President Howard Long, 1915. [view]

Abram John Jackson attended Cornell from 1915 to 1918 and earned a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. He was initiated into Alpha Chapter on November 27, 1915. As a delegate, he attended the fraternity’s Tenth Annual Convention, held in Philadelphia, PA, the home of Rho Chapter, from December 26-29, 1917. Jackson was elected assistant general secretary of the convention.

Letter from Founder George Biddle Kelley to Aubrey Robinson, Cornell Class of 1920, and Alpha Chapter Member, December 12, 1919. [view]

The first part of Kelley’s letter regards initiation, while the second half deals with an upcoming Alpha Phi Alpha Convention in Chicago. Unable to make it to an Alpha Chapter initiation, he writes:

I am very sorry that I cannot be with you on tomorrow night... It has been a long while since I have taken part in an initiation and I am sure I would enjoy one. Convey to the other Alpha brothers and to the new initiates my hearty greetings and good wishes for their success not only as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha but their success in the college work. Tell them that the eyes of the world are on the Negro College man as never before.

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