Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. President Everett B. Ward Calls NFL Owners' Decision an Attack on Patriotism and Democracy


BALTIMORE, MD. – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. President Everett B. Ward called the National Football League’s owners’ unanimous decision to require players to stand when on the field during the performance of the national anthem, an attack on “the very concepts of patriotism and democracy” and urged them to reverse their decision.

In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, President Ward expressed his deep concern on behalf of the more than 150,000 members of the nation’s first intercollegiate Greek-lettered Fraternity for African American men and see the decision as effort to stifle player protests raising awareness about police brutality, hate crimes as well as hateful rhetoric.

“Protests are meant to be disruptive, inconvenient, provocative, and uncomfortable to stir the collective consciousness of people of goodwill to act for the betterment of society,” he wrote. “Peaceful protests, such as those led by our fraternity brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., influenced civil rights legislation and U.S. Supreme Court constitutional precedent during times of great civil unrest in American society. We should never lose sight of the aims of the protest because of the methods of the protest. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was not anti-bus; she was anti-segregation and inequality in public accommodations. Likewise, NFL athletes and their millions of supporters are not opposed to the flag and all of the hope and promise that it stands for, but instead opposed to the brutal and often dehumanizing mistreatment of African Americans and other marginalized groups in our society.”

In addition, President Ward called on the NFL to not only reverse their decision regarding the anthem policy, but to enact an anthem policy that allows players to continue their peaceful protests of the racial injustice that exists in this country. The NFL should also join forces with organizations and individuals (including its athletes) that are committed to addressing this important issue. Alpha Phi Alpha is ready, willing, and able to work with the NFL if the NFL will make this commitment.

“Rather than react to social pressures or threats to its profitability, the NFL must instead be visionaries and a force to shape the discussion and attitudes around issues of racial inequality that persists in this country since the institution of slavery,” Ward wrote. “Reactionary policies may appear to be financially prudent in the short run, but in the long run may prove costly.”

The Derogatory Meaning of the Ape: A Perspective From The National Historian

The Derogatory Meaning of the Ape: A Perspective From The National Historian

When racists want to denigrate African Americans, they usually compare us to animals, more specifically “apes,” as Roseanne Barr tweeted on Monday, May 28th, about Valerie Jarrett, who served in the White House as Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. White racists, who could not stomach the presence of African Americans in the White House in any capacity other than as servants, often referred to Barack and Michelle Obama as “apes.” More insidious, especially in the context of Roseanne Barr’s scurrilous comment, was the idea that Black men and women copulated with apes.

Pseudoscientific racism, which emerged in the eighteenth century during the so-called Enlightenment in Europe or the Age of Reason, advanced the idea of race and racial hierarchy. Johan Blumenbach, a German anthropologist and physiologist, published his On the Natural Varieties of Mankind in 1776, which categorized five races of mankind based on pseudoscientific measures such as cranial profile and skin color. He placed Caucasians at the top and Africans at the bottom. Apologists for enslavement in the United States and elsewhere used racial classifications to enslave, colonize, and oppress Black people. Racial apartheid in the United States and abroad was based on theories of racial inferiority, that biogenetically Africans and people of African ancestry were less intelligent, more emotional, more promiscuous, and more imitative than Caucasians. When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859 about evolution, proponents of white supremacy used his ideas to argue that Black people were in a state of “arrested development”, that we had not evolved as far as White people, and were therefore closer to “apes.”

The idea of Black inferiority was reinforced through minstrelsy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and through schoolbooks, postcards, movies, and advertising for products from shoe polish to tooth paste. African Americans were depicted as slow, dimwitted, clumsy, and without a mind of their own. They were shown with thick red lips, bulging eyes, big feet, and small heads.

Lawn jockeys were one of the most ubiquitous forms of Black stereotype, with Black men in a subservient role and usually with exaggerated features. The American theater, which grew out of vaudeville, was based in large measure on minstrelsy, especially White men in blackface, who made fun of Black men. Minstrelsy was a means of comic relief to let White Americans, especially European immigrants, know what was expected of them. White America defined itself in contradistinction to Black people. They identified themselves not so much by what they were, but by what they considered themselves not to be. The cardinal rule was not to act like Negroes, not to be an “ape.” They told their children that Black people had tails. I can remember being in a department store and a little White kid feeling my friend’s buttocks. When my friend asked the kid what he was doing, the kid said he was trying to feel his tail. The first talking movie in this country featured the White actor, Al Jolson, in blackface. This legacy has been so deeply ingrained in American popular culture and in American society, that it is part of White America’s DNA. That is why Roseanne Barr could so easily denigrate Valerie Jarrett and earlier Susan Rice, a Rhodes Scholar, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama Administration. It is difficult to fathom why she selected these two important and accomplished Black women, except that for Roseanne Barr, they are “Uppity Negroes” and need to be pulled down and put in their “place” by comparing them to “apes.”

Many Brothers want to use some form of transformation to mark the transition from pledge to member of Alpha Phi Alpha. They have seized on the metaphor of evolution from “ape” to “man.” But that metaphor is fraught with stereotypical dangers with which we should not want to be associated. Other than evolution, we could use other models such as metamorphosis. Or, we could use qualifications for membership in a guild from apprenticeship, to journeyman, to master craftsman. We could adapt rites of passage programs that avoid stereotypes. Stereotypes die hard, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity of all organizations should not be complicit in perpetuating them. The image of the “ape” is not one with which we should want to be associated. It runs counter to everything that Alpha Phi Alpha was built on and stands for. In its verb form, “to ape,” means to imitate. While others might base their organizations on brute strength, men of Alpha are leaders and men of intellect who set the standard for others to follow. We do not “ape” anyone or anything and need to abandon the image of the “ape.”

Bro. Robert L. Harris Jr., Ph.D.

National Historian

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Waffle House Hero and Alpha Phi Alpha Brother James Shaw Jr. Honored at Alma Mater


Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. contributes $11K toward HBCU scholarship in his honor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Alpha Brother James Shaw, Jr., who disarmed the Waffle House mass shooter on April 22, was honored last night for his heroism at a special event at Tennessee State University, his alma mater.

Brother Shaw, a 2011 Beta Omicron Chapter initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., wrestled an assault rifle from a gunman and tossed it over the counter before shoving the shooter out the door after the shooter killed four people and wounded several others at a Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch. Authorities have said there would have likely been more casualties had it not been for Shaw’s actions.

“Like I’ve said, I was just trying to save myself . . . It seems like its inspires so many people throughout the world, and not only throughout the world, but in this room. For that, I am greatly, greatly appreciative,” said Brother Shaw during the ceremony. “To the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., thank you for being there. . . . There’s only one poem that comes to mind and that’s ‘Test of A Man.’ ‘The test of a man is the fight that he makes, The grit that he daily shows . . .’ Thank you for that!”

Brother Dr. Everett B. Ward, general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., praised his bravery in a statement.

“The well-being and viability of our communities has often been predicated on the willingness of strong men to put themselves in harm’s way. In like manner, the men of Alpha Phil Alpha Fraternity Inc. have established a legacy of service and sacrifice to serve the greater good that was continued by our brother James Shaw Jr., whose actions prevented further loss of life.”

Brother Dr. Jamie Riley, executive director of the Fraternity and himself, a 2003 Beta Omicron Chapter initiate and TSU alumnus, who was present, recognized Brother Shaw’s heroism and bravery with a special fraternity proclamation.

“Your example challenges me and others to be our best even in the most uncomfortable circumstances,” said Brother Dr. Riley. In addition, he added that the Fraternity, including the local alumni chapter, District, Southern Region, and the General organization was contributing $11K toward an HBCU scholarship in Brother Shaw’s honor.

The new scholarship, which will benefit a TSU student is a component of the Fraternity’s national Onward HBCU initiative involving three strategic actions to designed to strengthen access, secure assets, and engage in strategic advocacy work to ensure capacity and sustainability of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities, among them Tennessee State University.

Statement of the Fraternity on Waffle House Mass Shooting and Heroism of Brother James Shaw Jr.


Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. would like to express our sincerest condolences and prayers to the families of the victims killed and those injured in the Waffle House mass shooting in Antioch, Tennessee early Sunday morning, where a gunman armed with an AR-15 assault rifle killed four people and injured four others.

Had it not been for the quick action and courage of Brother James Shaw, Jr., a 2011 Beta Omicron chapter initiate at Tennessee State University and a restaurant patron at the time, who unarmed, wrestled the weapon from the gunman as he attempted to reload, disarmed him and forced him outside, more lives would have undoubtedly been lost.

As a Fraternity, we commend and recognize Brother Shaw for his heroism in the face of life-threatening odds. While he has humbly, declared that he is “not a hero,” his unselfish actions are a testament to “Manly Deeds” and “Love For All Mankind,” two of our Fraternal Aims and embodies what our Fraternal Hymn heralds as “the true and courageous.” Brother Shaw’s example provides increased pride among all in our Brotherhood.

Sadly, this gunman’s senseless act of domestic terrorism and hate once again underscores the need for action involving gun control and gun violence in this nation. Less than a month ago, hundreds of thousands of Alpha brothers and chapters, students, teachers, parents and victims rallied in Washington, D.C., and across the country to demand tougher gun control measures, spurred by the political activism of young people and others impacted by recent school shootings.

The Urgency of Now demands we, as Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., remain steadfast in our advocacy on issues that ensure that our community is safe, and that justice will be served.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mourns Civil Rights Trailblazer

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mourns Civil Rights Trailblazer

The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. express our sincere sympathy at passing to Ms. Linda Brown. Ms. Brown is an important figure in history as she serves as the main plaintiff in the Brown v Board of Education case argued by our dear brother Thurgood Marshall. This landmark case overturned the 1896 Plessy v Ferguson decision that legalized the separate but equal doctrine. We are grateful to Ms. Brown for their willingness to stand against inequality and injustice.

General President's Statement on the Death of Stephon Clark

General President's Statement on the Death of Stephon Clark

On March 18, 2018, Sacramento, California police fatally shot 22-year-old Stephon Clark in the backyard of the home he shared with his grandparents. Mr. Clark is another name added to the long list of unarmed African Americans killed at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the public.

As we watch the number of murdered African Americans rise, we are also disheartened by the fact that many of these crimes go unprosecuted and unpunished. The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. have been focused on observing the Urgency of Now. It is now time for targeted and deliberate action to address the issues that are literally killing our communities. It is no longer sufficient to wait for others to advocate on our behalf. We are who we have been waiting for. We must individually and collectively educate ourselves and engage in active resistance to police brutality, negligent enforcement, and judicial apathy.

Following the example of our brothers in Sacramento, California who were present at their city council meeting to not only voice objections to the conditions that led to Stephon Clark’s shooting, but also to register and educate new voters to ensure that their voices will be heard through the ballot box. I urge everyone to actively find ways to pursue strategies that advance our cause for justice which will lead to systemic and lasting change.

Onward and Upward Always,

Everett B. Ward
General President

2018 Priorities & 2017 Year In Review

2018 Priorities & 2017 Year In Review

General President Ward and Executive Director Riley present the “2018 Priorities & 2017 Year In Review”. Take a look at what was accomplished by the Brotherhood of Alpha Phi Alpha in 2017 as well as the goals and priorities set for 2018. Click the look below to take a look.

2018 Priorities & 2017 Year In Review

General President's Statement on Trump’s Racist Slur Against Haiti and African Countries

General President's Statement on Trump’s Racist Slur Against Haiti and African Countries

My Brothers of Alpha,

The vulgar and racially charged statement by President Donald Trump affirms why people of good will must stand against racism and injustice today more than ever. The blatant and racist verbal assault on people from Africa and Haiti underscores his complete lack of understanding of the enormous contributions Americans from Africa and Haiti have rendered to the nation.

The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, on the eve of Brother Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s. birthday and three months before the 50th anniversary of his assassination are even more resolved to utilize our collective human capital and financial resources to fight against racism. The words of Dr. King continue to guide the fraternity’s actions. Dr. King stated, “When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”

The men of Alpha are resilient in their continuous battle against racism and injustice.  We take this insult especially personal since many of our members in the United States are originally from Haiti and various African countries, in addition to having Alpha chapter’s in Liberia and South Africa.

That is why I ask you to join me in contacting your congressional representatives to express your dismay over President Trump’s latest comments. We must not sit on the sidelines and allow this President’s words to go unchallenged. Click here for information on how to contact your elected officials. In your communications, express your dismay with a political system that stands silent as elected officials speak untruths and hate as a strategy to dismantle efforts to unify our country. In addition, I encourage our College Brothers to host awareness sessions on their respective campuses with elected officials to provide accurate updates on current political and civic issues. Also, use your social media platforms to highlight the positive accomplishments and contributions of those on your campuses or in your community who originate from Haiti or African countries.

Collectively, we can make a change. The urgency is now, my brothers.

Will you join me in taking these action today?
Onward & Upward Always,

Brother Everett B. Ward, Ph.D.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Honors Dr. King's Legacy with Community Service


BALTIMORE – The college and alumni brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. have planned several activities and community service efforts nationally and around the Greater Baltimore region for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 15 in honor of one of its most renowned members.

Representatives from 10 local chapters of the Fraternity will participate in the city’s 18th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade at noon with step presentations, marching and a motorcade. Alpha Phi Alpha has been a major participant and highlight of the annual parade, which begins at the corner of Eutaw Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and follows Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and ends at Baltimore Street.

“On Monday, we celebrate and honor the legacy of one of our most beloved and recognized members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not only with our presence, but with service,” said Dr. Jamie Riley, executive director of the fraternity’s corporate headquarters located at 2313 St. Paul Street. “For 111 years, Alpha Phi Alpha has produced a myriad of notable members and leaders, who have been true to our motto of First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All. With more than 82,000 members, the fraternity represents an active partner and servant to communities worldwide.”

In addition to parade participation and visitation of elderly and sick brothers, some chapters have planned the following local community service efforts:

  • Brothers of Delta Lambda chapter will distribute personal hygiene kits to 70 homeless veterans served by the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training Center, 300 N. Exeter Street at 3 p.m. For more information, contact: Anton Bizzell (202) 422-1560 or
  • Brothers of Kappa Phi Lambda and Upsilon Zeta chapters will collect non-perishable, food items at the Giant Grocery Store, 9200 Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to benefit the Howard County Food Bank. For more information, contact: Brandon Tilghman (757) 870-4794.
  • Brothers of Mu Rho chapter will paint classrooms at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School, 2921 Stranden Road from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information, contact: Maconel James (612) 275-7591.

Statement on Hurricane Harvey


My Brothers of Alpha,

Hurricane Harvey has landed in the Southwestern Region of our country and has caused a great deal of devastation in the states of Texas and now Louisiana. Overwhelming flood waters have stranded many brothers and their families in their homes or have forced them to evacuate and find shelter elsewhere. Weather forecasters warn that more rain is eminent as the citizens in a widening area brace themselves for even more flood and storm related emergencies.

Our collective thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this storm. As state and federal relief agencies respond to this situation our brotherhood is also poised to provide help and necessary assistance to those affected by this catastrophic storm. Brother Tarrynce Robinson, Southwestern Regional Vice President, and his leadership team will continue to coordinate the Fraternity’s on the ground response. However, I am calling on the greater brotherhood to support relief efforts by donating to the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Disaster Relief Fund. This fund aided in the Fraternity’s ability to support those brothers impacted in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, and I am confident this resource will assist those brothers and their families now battling the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Detailed instructions on how you can contribute to the fund are provided below.  All funds collected will be distributed from the Corporate Headquarters to brothers in need.

Men of Alpha have always answered the call to service. Our commitment to serving all of humanity compels us to urgent and deliberate action on behalf of those in need. It is in times like these that our brotherhood must marshal its collective resources to aid a population that has been made vulnerable as a result of immeasurable damage. I am confident that we as Men of Alpha will once again rise to the occasion as servants of all. Thank you in advance for your financial support and continued prayers. First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.

Onward & Upward Always,


How to make a donatation to the Alpha Disaster Relief Fund: 

1. Log into your AlphaNet Account 

2. On the top right corner, click Donations 

3. Under General Tasks, click Make a Donation 

4. Alpha Disaster Relief Fund should be listed as the first donation option

5. Enter your donation amount

6. Follow the prompts to complete the transactions by entering in your card information

7. If you prefer to make a donation by check, please send all contributions to:

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
P.O. Box 405478
Atlanta, GA 30384-5478

Make checks payable to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and note Alpha Disaster Relief Fund on the description line