Alpha Becomes $1 Million Founding Donor to The Smithsonian

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the world’s oldest intercollegiate fraternal organization founded by African-American men, has announced that the fraternity is giving $1 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opens this week after five years of construction.

“Our history matters. African American stories, art, and culture are the heart and soul of American history,” said Mark S. Tillman, general president of Alpha Phi Alpha. “Alpha men are proud to support this museum, helping to bring our collective voices to a history that has largely worked to silence us. We look forward to seeing our struggle documented in meaningful and enriching ways culminating in a powerful experience for everyone who visits this institution of historical struggle and progress.”

The Museum of African American and History and Culture will be the Smithsonian’s 19th museum. It will open to the public September 24 with 11 inaugural exhibitions covering major periods of African American history, including the slave trade, segregation, the civil rights movement, and the Harlem Renaissance. It will also include exhibits on Black Greek Lettered Organizations such as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and its members.

“You cannot understand American history if you do not understand African-American history”, explains Robert L. Harris, professor emeritus at Cornell University and national historian for Alpha Phi Alpha. “This is an idea that started with black civil war veterans who wanted people to understand the contributions that blacks have made to building this country. To see it finally become real is awe-inspiring.”

President George W. Bush signed the legislation establishing the museum in 2003. Construction began in 2011. The nation’s first African-American president will speak at its dedication. To learn more about the museum, please go to

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