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Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (ΑΦΑ) is the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans. ΑΦΑ was founded on December 4, 1906, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of Brotherhood among African descendants in this country. The visionary founders, known as the “Jewels” of ΑΦΑ, are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.


ΑΦΑ initially served as a study and support group for Cornel University black men who were cut off from many opportunities of mutual helpfulness, which comes to groups of students through personal acquaintance and close association.

Many of these students were self-supporting and their resources were limited.  The Jewel founders and early leaders of the Fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for ΑΦΑ’s aims of manly deeds, scholarship and service to mankind.  


Soon after the founding at Cornell, ΑΦΑ chapters were established at other colleges and universities, many of them historically black institutions. The first fraternity at a historically black institution was ΑΦΑ Beta Chapter at Howard University in December 1907. The first Alumni Chapter was ΑΦΑ Alpha Lambda Chapter established in Louisville Kentucky in 1911.  The first national program “Go To High School Go To College,” began in 1911.  This was the beginning of one of the outstanding contributions of ΑΦΑ to the educational life of blacks in America.  True to its form as the “first of firsts,” ΑΦΑ has been interracial since 1945.

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