By Special to the Daily World
BALTIMORE —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 accomplishments 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.”
Rep. Connie Morella (D-Md.) introduced legislation in 1996 to authorize Alpha Phi Alpha to establish the memorial, under the thrust of King himself being a member of one of the oldest African-American fraternities in the nation. The Alphas and Morella teamed and toiled for two years in an effort to pass the bill. In 1998, they were successful. The bill was passed and signed by President Bill Clinton. During a gold carpet affair, “M.L.K.: A Monumental Life,” on Friday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m., Rep. Morella will receive the Alpha Award of Merit for her contributions.
The invitation-only, white tie celebration at the DAR Constitution Hall will be a star-studded event that will draw influencers 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, and Jennifer Holliday 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 Herman “Skip” Mason Jr. General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. said King was a man of peace, a