For the Good of the House

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For the Good of the House

The official monthly newsletter of

Eta Theta Lambda of

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated

September 2007

Second Chapter Meeting for 2007-2008 Fraternal Year
The second Chapter meeting of the year will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2007 at 6PM. The meeting will be held at the Westbury Community Center
Bro. Jim Durant Recovering at Home
Bro. Jim Durant is resting comfortably at home following recent cardiac surgery. The Brothers of Eta Theta Lambda wish Bro. Durant well. We all look forward to his restored health. Get well soon Jim!
NYACOA Convention

White Plains, NY
Mark your calendars brothers. The 2007 NYACOA conference will be held on Nov. 9, 2007 in White Plains, New York on the campus of Pace University.
Eastern Region Staff Meeting

University of Bridgeport

Bridgeport, CT

October 13, 2007

Chapter Delegates Submit General Convention Report
In the September meeting, we had the opportunity to hear the report of our delegates to the 87th General Convention in Orlando, Florida. The delegates submitted a complete and informative written report. We were truly well represented at the convention.

As you all probably know, Bro. Daren Morton was unsuccessful in his bid to become a General President candidate. However, he represented us well with a strong third place finish in the polls. Bro. Morton received 202 of the 922 ballots cast. Bro. Peal won the contest with 252 votes and Bro. Mason was second with 225 votes.

The MLK Memorial fundraising effort continues to bear fruit. Notably, Alpha East leads all regions with $742,000 in donations. At the time of the convention a total of 82 million dollars had been donated for the memorial.

The convention featured a series of spirited workshops, business sessions, and social events. The accommodations were exceptional and by all accounts the 87th General Convention was a keeper! Additional copies of the official delegates report will be available at the chapter meeting.

76th Eastern Region Convention

March 26-30, 2008

Hilton Hotel

East Brunswick, New Jersey

Online Registration Available Now!!

President’s Message
Chapter Tax $600

Insurance Premium $700

NYACOA Fees $225

Founders’ Day $350
Total Due: $1875
Greetings Brothers,

The above fees are now due. Remittance of these assessments is critical to maintaining the chapter in good standing. It is crucial that we begin collecting chapter dues immediately. I urge all brothers that are able to please come to the October chapter meeting ready to remit their dues to the chapter. I remind all that dues have increased to $150.

I look forward to seeing you all at the chapter meeting. There has been a lot of activity around planning the College Tour. Nearly 80 students have signed up, but we still have a ways to go to reach our goal of 120. Brothers have been busy making recruitment presentations, hosting student workshops, planning tour activities—working hard and holding the Light high!

Planning for the MLK Luncheon is also ongoing. Brothers, we need all hands on deck as we move the agenda. The October meeting will surely be informative and fraternal. Come out and get on a committee and let’s continue the work.

Fraternally, Steven B. Skinner Chapter President

Recommended Reading

Bro. Steven Skinner
Hey Brothers, did anyone catch the Clarence Thomas interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday? It was a good piece. I garnered additional insight of this man that many have an opinion about.
The interview has led me to my next book read (I ordered it today). It is Thomas’ memoir. Some of you may want to check it out with me. Here’s the specifics:

My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir

Clarence Thomas

A Historical Perspective

Alpha Phi Alpha on Ancient Africa

A Future Preeminent Scholar Put In Charge
While chronicling the development of the fraternity, our beloved history book, The History of Alpha Phi Alpha A Development in College Life, is rich in African-American history. While the many mentioned names including Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., and Paul Robeson, reflect the more well known giants of our history. There are incidences of only passing mention of Alpha men of significant impact; men who may not have “household names” but who nonetheless played important roles in cultivating and shaping our history. The sometimes casual mentioning of these men is a testament to the responsibility of every Alpha man to be the very best; to be always true to the ideals of fraternity and to always do the right thing.
An example of the casual mention of great Alpha men is the history book chronicling of the fraternal service of Bro. William Leo Hansberry. Surely influenced by the founders obvious interest in African culture and the burgeoning Pan-African movement headed by Marcus Garvey, the early 1920’s was characterized by fraternal programming in African history. The history book reads:
Another part of the continuously developing program was the development of a department of ‘Negro History’ in the Sphinx, the special interests of which would be upon Ancient Africa, Brother William Leo Hansberry, a graduate of Harvard University, was requested to take charge of this department. In view of the wording of the ritual and the tradition of the fraternity, this was one of the most important steps which the fraternity had taken. Each chapter had been encouraged and advised in earlier years to appoint a chapter historian whose duty it would be not only to gather the facts of local chapter history, but also to prepare discussions upon the facts of Negro history and have them disseminated among the black people especially. The survey articles in the Sphinx upon “Ancient Africa” created interest in the subject itself and gave a fuller realization to all the brothers of the seriousness of the program of Alpha Phi Alpha.”

Bro. Hansberry is mentioned a few more times referencing his service in the fraternity as a charter member of Mu Lambda, an organizer of an Alpha chapter in London, and Sphinx writer. However there is no mention of Bro. Hansberry’s accomplishments as a preeminent scholar and educator. Bro. Hansberry was born in 1894 and died in 1965. In 1916 he attended Clark University. While at Clark he studied with W.E.B. DuBois. He ultimately earned bachelor and master degrees from Harvard, and conducted research at University of Chicago, Oxford University, and University of Cairo.
In 1923, Bro. Hansberry joined the faculty of Howard University where he remained until his retirement in 1959. While at Howard he was instrumental in establishing Howard’s leading position in African history scholarship and research. Bro. Hansberry was a true pioneer in African studies. He advocated for and produced scholarly work in African studies during a time when the works was not viewed as worthy.
Notable African American historian Chancellor Williams (1898-1992) was one of Brother Hansberry’s many students. He wrote:
Reference to ‘we” here is to a core group of us who were deeply interested in learning about our own history as well as the history of whites. This meant that we were all a small minority, for at that time the attitude of the great majority of both faculty and students was one of contempt even for the term ‘Africa,’ or cold indifference. This means that William Leo Hansberry, with his non-prestigious African history courses, calmly endured the belittling remarks and supercilious smiles of many of his colleagues throughout the many years as he stood courageously and almost alone as a teacher of Black history in the United States. And the same academic attitudes that caused his work to be regarded as just so much ‘wishful thinking’ or Romantic fiction, also held him firmly in the lower ranks until near the end of his career. In short, throughout his career he paid dearly for teaching Black history.” (
Undoubtedly, our history book is filled with the names of unsung heroes. The legacy of Alpha men is indeed part and parcel of such heroic efforts occurring away from the spotlight of fame. Every Alpha brother is a potential hero. We are all judged by our actions, deeds, and the impact we have on others.

The Development of an Alpha Man

Countering the Diminishing Luster and Prestige

Of Black Fraternities on Campus
As the chapter begins re-thinking its relationships with the area college chapters and begins to move into the mentoring season the following from African American Men in College (2006, Cuyjet,M) is offered. It is an idealized chronology of a teen’s journey into fraternal life and productive adulthood. Several questions as to the reality of the scenario are appended for your consideration.
“A thirteen-year-old African American boy in a small segregated town in southern Georgia was raised by his mother in a single-parent home. Most of his same-age peers and neighborhood playmates were girls; thus, his interactions with other African American boys were confined almost exclusively to school. Prior to eighth grade, all of his teachers were female; most were White. Though there was clearly something special about him, his potential remained untapped and his academic performance was marginal, as evidenced by the many C’s and occasional failing marks he received on elementary and middle school report cards.

His first African American male teacher, who was active in a local Black fraternity, reached out to the eighth-grade student and ignited his interest in academic success. In the same year he was elected president of the student council, the boy’s first-ever leadership position in school, which his same-race male teacher highly encouraged. When he transitioned to ninth grade, his high school guidance counselor immediately detected the young man’s potential and invited him to participate in a fraternity-sponsored leadership development league for African American male teens.

Participation in the program exposed the student to a cadre of powerful, accomplished, and professional African American men, which included the town’s mayor, business leaders, and several school administrators. These men invested significantly in the students—they met with them weekly, took them on field trips, helped with their homework, engaged them in community service projects, and often spent one-on-one fathering time with those who were from single-parent homes. The aforementioned teen especially benefited from the program, as he was personally mentored by the program’s chairperson, who groomed him to assume the presidency of the group, taught him how to effectively lead meetings, and coached him on public speaking and self-presentation. Consequently, his confidence, self-esteem, and high school academic performance simultaneously increased. As a high school senior, he competed in the fraternity’s regional and national high school student of the year competitions and won first place. This honor was accompanied by a lucrative scholarship that offset the costs associated with his college attendance. Few would have predicted that a previously low-performing elementary and middle school student would benefit so profoundly from participation in this high school program sponsored by the alumni chapter of a Black fraternity.
It came as no surprise to anyone that this young man entered college with a strong desire to join the undergraduate chapter of the fraternity on his campus. Like the men in his hometown, the undergraduate fraternity members displayed achievement in multiple endeavors and were actively engaged in several community service projects. Moreover, they were extremely poised and popular. The aspirant worked hard to make himself eligible for induction into the fraternity. He had been told by his high school mentors that active involvement in undergraduate clubs and organizations, a solid academic record, and a reputation for leadership inside and outside of the classroom would strengthen his chances for membership. After earning a 3.6 cumulative grade point average, serving as editor-in-chief of the university’s student newspaper, assuming high profile leadership positions in multiple campus organizations, and being elected president of the student body, the young man achieved his dream by becoming a member of the fraternity. The eighteen other high-achieving African American male undergraduates with whom he pledged offered something to the young man that had been lacking since his childhood—opportunities for brotherly bonding and meaningful friendships with other African American males his age. They encouraged and applauded his success, elected him president of the chapter, and extended to him the perpetual branch of brotherhood. When he left for graduate school the eighteen brothers gathered for an emotionally memorable sendoff.”
Does the new urban experience differ radically from this southern experience?
Is the lack of African-American male teachers a significant factor in the development of African American men?
Is the development of the type of leadership development league feasible for an alumni chapter like Eta Theta Lambda? How many of its elements are already in place?
Are the images of the College Brothers the young man encountered a realistic picture of today’s College Brothers? If not can Eta Theta Lambda play a role in making the image truer?
Are the same standards for membership in place today or have factors such as diminished public perception, academic mediocrity, and low African American male altered expectations?

The Final Word

Well, Brothers, that’s a wrap on the third edition of For the Good of the House. This instrument will be published monthly. New features will be added at your behest. As previously written this is your newsletter. So Brothers—what is your pleasure?

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