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.
The following Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.-sponsored events will take place during this historic celebration:
Thursday, Aug. 25, 2 p.m.
Martin Luther King Tree Planting Ceremony at Howard University
This event will announce the Alpha Phi Alpha partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota
Thursday, Aug. 25, 5 p.m.
“Reflections of a King” Jazz Mixer at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel (Invitation Only)
An event featuring renowned jazz vocalists and musicians including singer Kathleen Bertrand, saxophonist BK Jackson, and many others performing the favorite songs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Friday, Aug. 26, 9 a.m.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Private Dedication Ceremony” at the MLK National Memorial
Site-National Mall (Open only to members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and their invited guests
Event highlights will include:
• Remarks from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s children—Brother Martin Luther King, IIII and Elder Bernice King
• Remarks from eight living Alpha Phi Alpha Past General Presidents
• Alpha Civil Rights icons, including Brothers Otis Moss, Ambassador Andrew Young, Dick Gregory, the Rev. Dr.Joseph Lowery, the Rev. C.T. Vivian, and the Rev. Wyatt T. Walker
• The nine current Alpha Phi Alpha Congressional members, representing the U.S. Congress
• Silent processional to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, with attendees linked arm-in-arm (in honor of the Civil Rights marches)
• Historic singing of the Alpha Hymn at the dedication site and an historic group photo.
Friday, Aug. 26, Noon
“M.L.K. Memorial Luncheon” at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center-Exhibit Hall B
This midday event honors Alpha Civil Rights icons and donors. Other highlights include:
• Speech from Brother Ambassador Andrew Young
• Music from The Inner City Los Angeles Youth Orchestra
Friday, Aug. 26, 6 p.m.
“M.L.K.: A Monumental Life” at Constitution Hall (Attire: Black Tails/White Tie/Ball Gowns)
This theatrical and musical celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is sponsored by AARP, Abercrombie and Fitch, Alfac, ExxonMobil, Perrenial Sports and Entertainment, and The Stafford Foundation.
This star-studded Tribute will feature appearances by:
• Hill Harper, Ruby Dee, Nancy Wilson, Mary 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, Fonzworth Bentley, Micheal Jai White, Omari Hardwick, Tyrese, Victoria Rowell, Tim and Daphne Reid, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Clifton Davis, and BernNadette Stanis and many others.
The event will feature musical performances from:
• Jennifer Holliday, Denyce Graves, Tremaine Hawkins, Ann Nesby, Lalah Hathaway, Marvin Winans, Kenny Latimore, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Trin-i-tee 5:7, the Morehouse College Glee Club (from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s alma mater), and many others
These Civil Rights icons will be saluted and honored:
• Alpha Brothers Ambassador Andrew Young, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, and the Rev. C.T. Vivian, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Xernona Clayton, Ernest Green (Little Rock Nine), Diane Nash, Jibreel Khazan (Greensboro Four), the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Juanita Abernathy, Christine King Farris, the Rev. Billy Kyles, Dr. James Lawson, and others.
Friday, Aug. 26, 10 p.m.
“Afterglow Reception” at Mayflower Renaissance Hotel
This event will be hosted by Brother Hill Harper.
Saturday, Aug. 27, 5 p.m.
“Alpha Congressional Reception” at the U.S. Capitol-Cannon Caucus Room at the Cannon House Building
This reception will be hosted by the nine members of Alpha Phi Alpha who currently are serving in the U.S. Congress:
Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Robert “Bobby” C. Scott (D-Va.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Al Green (D-Texas), and Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.)
On Sunday, August 28, BET Networks taps Hill Harper to host the untold story of MLK’s life as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. in “Alpha Man: The Brotherhood of MLK” with a half-hour special on BET and CENTRIC. In celebration of the MLK National Memorial unveiling, “Alpha Man: The Brotherhood of MLK” is a character driven television news special that traces the lineage of King’s role in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. during his time as a young graduate student in divinity school in Boston. It also tells the story of how years later his fraternity brothers beat the odds to help make his National Memorial a reality. Featuring never-before-seen footage and first person accounts of King’s life as a 23-year old divinity student in Boston, actor Hill Harper takes viewers through the compelling account of King’s iconic rise from a 1952 Alpha pledge to Nobel Prize-winner and leading civil rights pioneer whose impact is still felt today. BET News will air the special at 7 p.m. (encore at 11:30 p.m.) and on CENTRIC at 1 a.m.
For a full schedule visit http://www.alpha-phi-alpha.com/Page.php?id=249.