Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity: A Centennial Celebration

Early Publications and Documents, 1910-1956

You cannot be a real Alpha Phi Alpha man unless you know how “Alpha” works. You can only find out by study of its various rules and laws.

Raymond W. Cannon
12th General President
November 2, 1927

No more than a month after Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was born, Alpha Chapter members appointed a committee to create a constitution and by-laws. Although none had ever experienced fraternity life first-hand, they strove to establish a structured and permanent organization. Once they established a constitution and by-laws, elected officers, and created rules of rituals and initiation, they moved to expand the fraternity beyond Cornell. As each new chapter was founded, its members created their own constitution, modeled after that of Alpha Chapter. In the First General Convention of the General Organization, a constitution for the General Organization was created and adopted. Subsequent revisions have been made to the fraternity’s Constitution and By-Laws to address the evolution of the fraternity and its membership. In the 1940s, the Fraternity deleted all references to race. Another such change, regarding undergraduate representation on the Executive Council, led to a revision of the Constitution in 1954. One constant of the Constitution, for individual chapters and the General Organization alike, is the stated purpose of Alpha Phi Alpha, which appears in the preamble.

Constitution and By-Laws of the Alpha Chapter, ca. 1910 [view PDF]

Constitution and By-Laws of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., 1926 [view PDF]

Constitution and By-Laws of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Revised 1954 [view PDF]

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