In celebration of Black History Month, 360 MAGAZINE will be accepting contributions on behalf of The Jewels Heritage Project, Inc. (JHP), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) entity.
JHP intends to build a monument to commemorate and showcase an important part of African American history and culture: the beginning of Black Greek-Letter Organizations, also known as “The Divine Nine.” Specifically, the JHP will build a monument at the birthplace of Alpha Phi Alpha. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., was the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. The monument will be located at 411 E. State Street, in upstate, Ithaca, New York.
African American Historical Sites
Once completed, this monument will join other national historic sites in central New York State as part of a freedom trailway dedicated to African American history and culture, including:
- The Harriet Tubman Residence and the Harriett Tubman Home for the Elderly Residence, located at 182 South Street and 180 South Street, in Auburn, New York
- The Birthplace of Alex Haley, the celebrated author, best known for his books: “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” who lived at 212 Cascadilla Street, Ithaca, New York
- The St. James AME Zion Church, located at 116 Cleveland Avenue, Ithaca, New York, was built in 1833. St. James served as a station on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves in route to Canada. Famous leaders of the Underground Railroad who visited St. James AME Zion Church include Harriett Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
Alpha Phi Alpha in History
On December 4, 1906, seven African American men attending Cornell University met at 411 E. State Street, in Ithaca, New York, and established Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, to support each other and provide service to, and uplift, the African American community. Following in the footsteps of Alpha Phi Alpha, eight other Black Greek-letter Fraternities and Sororities were founded upon similar principles of service to the African American community. Together, the nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations came together to form the National Pan-Hellenic Council or the Divine Nine.
Alpha Phi Alpha was a leader in establishing voter rights and civil rights for African Americans in the United States. For example, the Fraternity was an early leader in the voting rights struggle for African Americans and founded the national campaign, “A Voteless People is a Hopeless People” to register Black voters. Moreover, in 1919, the Fraternity pioneered the campaign, “Go-to-High School, Go-to-College.” Further, Alpha Phi Alpha played a central role—in providing funding, legal expertise, and public relations—in many landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that ultimately eradicated racial segregation.
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha have been leaders in the community and occupy prominent roles in American and African American history and culture. They include: W.E.B. DuBois, Jesse Owens, Duke Ellington, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Paul Robeson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Senator Edward Brooke, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Joseph Lowery (featured on cover), Justice Thurgood Marshall, Comedian and Activist Dick Gregory, Coach Eddie Robinson, Ambassador Andrew Young, Professor Cornel West, Singer/Songwriter Lionel Richie, and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock. Reverend Joseph E. Lowery, the dean of the Civil Rights Movement, delivered the benediction for President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
About the Monument
The JHP will build a monument in central New York State, in Ithaca, New York, at the birthplace of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. We intend to build the monument in two years at an estimated total cost of $4 million. The monument will include a giant wall resembling the front façade of the original residence at 411 E. State Street. In addition, the monument will feature a series of walls that will narrate the historical significance of historic site. See a picture of the proposed design of the monument below.
How You Can Help
To donate to build this monument and showcase a part of African American history and culture, visit our website at www.jewelsproject.org or you may donate by using the QR code below:
Listen to JHP Chairman + Architect on 360 MAG podcast HERE.