By Gerald Hyler
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, which opened this week, is an historical event for Americans, especially African Americans. Not only is it the first monument on the Washington Mall dedicated to a non-President but it is also the first one dedicated to an African American.
This feat was spearheaded by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first collegiate fraternity for African American men whose members include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, local attorney John Daniels, Jr., local physicians Dr. William Finlayson and Dr. Randle Pollard.
The local graduate chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Delta Chi Lambda Chapter, has close ties to the national monument and the man called Dr. King. Dr. King was initiated into the Sigma chapter while a graduate student at Boston University in 1952.
“I can’t think of a better person who embodies the virtues of the way we should be,” says Albert L Smith, president of Delta Chi Lambda Chapter.
“This tribute to our Brother symbolizes how much more we need to accomplish, in order to truly live out his dream.”
When asked about the significance of this memorial in the Milwaukee community, Smith added, “Look at what we have already done. When was the last time America has come together to raise $125M to do anything? Just look at the strength in numbers we have shown. We can do anything when we come together.”
Dr. King came to Milwaukee to speak at UW Milwaukee on November 23, 1965 as favor to Dr. Finlayson, also a Morehouse man.
The dedication will take place on Sunday, August 28 on the Washington Mall. This date is significant because Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech on August 28, 1963 and President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Nomination on August 28, 2008. Thousands of people are expected to attend. And the local graduate chapter of Dr. King’s fraternity will be in attendance.
The mission of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Develops Leaders, Promotes Brotherhood and Academic Excellence, While Providing Service and Advocacy for Our Communities.
175,000 men have been initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. since its founding in 1906. There are now 686 chapters in 45 states, the Bahamas, Bermuda, District of Columbia, Germany, Korea, US Virgin Islands, London, Liberia and South Africa.
Visit www.alphaphialpha.net for more information.