Dr. Calvin O. Atchison, Sr., arrived at a regularly scheduled meeting for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Following the usual activities at the meeting, Dr. Atchison was then presented with a surprise.
The graduates of the TSU Alphas recognized Dr. Atchison’s birthday as he turned 97 years old.
He was further surprised by recognition for his 36 years of mentoring and the work he has done as an advisor.
Dr. Atchison was surprised with two jackets with a tailored, perfect fit. He received a black jacket and a gold jacket.
Alpha Phi Alpha was the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American men. Seven college men founded it at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1906.
“We recognized the need for a strong bond of brotherhood among African descendants in this country,” said the founders. The founders, known as the ‘Jewels’ of the fraternity, include: Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.
The fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially at Cornell. The Jewel founders and early leaders of the fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha’s principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.
The first alumni chapter was established in 1911. While continuing to stress academic excellence among its members, the Alphas also recognized the need to help correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African Americans. Alpha Phi Alpha has long stood at the forefront of the African American community’s fight for civil rights.
The jackets that Dr. Atchison received were designed for the Alphas to wear at the Memorial Dedication of MLK in Washington, DC. The Alphas went as a group.