Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity: A Centennial Celebration

Alpha Phi Alpha and the Great War

Letter from Eighth General President William A. Pollard on behalf of the Committee for the Establishment of a Colored Officers Training Camp to the General Membership. May 5, 1917. [view]

William A. Pollard (Eighth General President 1918-1919) implores the General Membership of the fraternity to recruit young black college men as candidates for the colored officers’ training camp because “the government has already established similar training camps for the training of white youths. Thus, unless we succeed in our project, those of our colored men who should be conscripted will be officered solely by white officers.”

Photograph of Victor R. Daly in Uniform from the Photograph Album of Victor R. Daly, Alpha Chapter, ca. 1917 [view]

Victor Reginald Daly of the Alpha Chapter and Cornell Class of 1919 was one of the men who joined the U.S. Army in 1917 and trained at Fort Des Moines along with 639 other African-American men. As First Lieutenant in the 367th Infantry Regiment during WWI, he was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for his service in France.

Ft. Des Moines Officers-in-Training from the Photograph Album of Victor R. Daly, Alpha Chapter, ca. 1917. [view]

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. had the greatest representation of any organization or club at the camp. Thirty-two Alpha men were granted commissions. Daly is the first person seated in the second row from the top.

Letter from Victor R. Daly to Alpha Chapter from Camp Upton, November 2, 1917. [view image 1] | [view image 2]

First Lieutenant Daly writes to Alpha Chapter brothers about his first experiences as a soldier, including the relationship between white and black troops: “The spirit that exists between the white & colored troops is A#1, they mingle freely and exchange mutual help to an almost amazing degree, the colored YMCA is as crowded with white soldiers all the time as with our own men. The white officers are fine, too.”

Cornell University Information for War Records form for Victor R. Daly, 1927 [view]

The University distributed this form to Cornell war alumni and their families. Notable on Victor Daly’s form, completed by his father, Thomas Daly, was his listing of the Croix de Guerre for his service in France.

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