Two founding members learned about fraternity rituals from other fraternal organizations: Henry A.
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The fraternity's constitution was adopted on December 4, 1906, limiting membership to "Negro male" students and providing that the General Convention of the Fraternity would be created following the establishment of the fourth chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha.
To promote a more perfect union among college men; to aid in and insist upon the personal progress of its members; to further brotherly love and a fraternal spirit within the organization; to discountenance evil; to destroy all prejudices; to preserve the sanctity of the home, the personification of virtue and the chastity of woman.
Garvin saw that it was vital that the Fraternity establish a mindful image and perception for future generations.
One of the most notable contributions made by Garvin was the national incorporation of the fraternity under the laws of Congress.
The doing of good scholastic work in his chosen vocation, thereby accomplishing the real end of a college course 3.
The reasonable endeavor to participate in general college activities and social service and to excel therein 4.
National programs and initiatives of the fraternity include A Voteless People Is a Hopeless People, My Brother's Keeper, Go To High School, Go To College, Project Alpha, and the World Policy Council. Other world renowned-members include political activist Cornel West, musicians Duke Ellington and Lionel Richie, NBA legend Walt Frazier, Jamaican Prime Minister Norman Manley, Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, Justice Thurgood Marshall, United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, Academy Award-winning director Barry Jenkins, and ESPN sportscasters Stuart Scott and Jay Harris. – Robert Ogle, Fred Morgan Phillip, Fannie Holland, and Flaxie Holcosbe. There was disagreement about the group's purpose: some wanted a social and literary club where everyone could participate; others wanted a traditional fraternal organization.
It also conducts philanthropic programming initiatives with the March of Dimes, Head Start, the Boy Scouts of America, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Alpha Phi Alpha was directly responsible for the conception, funding, and construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. There were also four men and a woman from New York State: George Kelley, Arthur Callis, James Thomas, Gordon Jones, and Paul Ray. Poindexter felt the group should serve the cultural and social needs of the black community and not be an elite secret society.
Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha are given Greek-letter names in order of installation into the fraternity.