Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Kicks Off Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Weekend in D.C.

Friday, 26 August 2011 02:33 Written by  Administrator

Baltimore, MD (Aug. 19, 2011) --- The world’s oldest intercollegiate fraternity founded by African-American men Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a celebration and recognition of this Alpha Brother and the historic monument that will be unveiled on the National Mall on Sunday, Aug. 28, in Washington, D.C.

"Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has served as the initiator, the catalyst, and the driving force to preserve the legacy and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a citizen of the world, who belongs to the ages, and whose example and will inspire generations to come through the Washington, D.C. National Memorial," said Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity 33rd General President Herman Skip Mason Jr. “I have been committed to making the dedication of the King Memorial an historic and unforgettable occasion to mark the greatest undertaking to date for the Fraternity.”

The highlight of the celebration is the invitation-only, white-tie, Gold Carpet affair at the DAR Constitution Hall on Friday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. A star-studded event will draw attendees from the civic, entertainment, corporate, and social worlds. Hill Harper, Ruby Dee, Nancy Wilson, Della Reese, Soledad O’Brien, Phylicia Rashad, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr. Richard Roundtree, Louis Gossett, Jr., Keisha Knight Pulliam, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Judge Greg Mathis, Jasmine Guy, Jennifer Holliday, Fonzworth Bentley, Micheal Jai White, Omari Hardwick, Tyrese, Victoria Rowell, Tim and Daphne Reid, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Bern Nadette Stanis are among those confirmed to attend.

An idea initially proposed by five members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (George Sealy, Alfred Bailey, John Harvey, Oscar Little, and Eddie Madison) in 1983 has blossomed into an unprecedented achievement, a monument on the Mall in Washington, D.C., an area preserved for honoring U.S. Presidents and for remembering war veterans. Now a man of peace, a symbol of hope, the first non-president, and an African American stands tall in the pantheon of U.S. heroes.

Brother Sealy first discussed this idea in 1983 with Brothers Bailey, Harvey, Little, and Madison. They determined that Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in which Dr. King was initiated as a Brother on Jan. 22, 1952, was the organization with the capacity, commitment, and contacts to carry out such a huge undertaking. They presented the idea to the Alpha Board of Directors under the leadership of 26th General President Ozell Sutton in 1984. The Board approved it, and 27th General President Charles C. Teamer, Sr. guided it through the General Convention in 1985. To build such a memorial in Washington, D.C. required legislation signed into law by the U.S. president. For eleven years, under the administrations of General Presidents Charles C. Teamer, Sr., Henry Ponder, and Milton C. Davis, Alpha Phi Alpha lobbied Congress for authorization to raise the necessary funds and to build a memorial to Dr. King in Washington, D.C.

Brother Dr. Ed Jackson, Jr. coordinated the design competition with an international panel of experts, which reviewed some 900 entries from around the globe before selecting the Roma Design Group of San Francisco. The winning design was unveiled on Sept. 13, 2000, in Washington, D.C. at a gala event addressed by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, who expressed her pleasure with the project and the design, stating, “I thank my husband’s Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, which led the 15-year effort to bring this memorial to this point.” The Tommy Hilfiger Foundation, headed by Brother Guy Vickers, with the support of Tommy Hilfiger and CEO Joel Horowitz, sponsored the unveiling. The General Motors Foundation, headed by Brother Roderick Gillum, became a major sponsor of the memorial. Brother Richard W. Marshall, from General Motors, became the Chief Financial Officer of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. On Dec. 4, 2000, the 94th anniversary of the founding of Alpha Phi Alpha, General President Wallace placed a plaque on the site where the memorial would be built. Today, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity 31st General President Harry E. Johnson Sr. serves as president and CEO of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.

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