Dear Brothers:

As we celebrate Black History Month it is important to not only reflect on those who came before us, but also to channel their vision, strength and spirit to make meaningful change. It would be almost impossible to commemorate Black History Month without acknowledging the contributions of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Today, we celebrate Brother Thurgood Marshall.

In 1908, two pivotal events occurred: the genesis of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the birth of Thurgood Marshall. The legendary legal icon was destined for a life of change even at an early age as he decided to change his name to Thurgood while he was in the second grade. An initiate of the Nu chapter at Lincoln University (I’ll save my commentary about HBCU excellence for another email), Brother Marshall would have an amazing legal career spanning more than five decades.

Although Brother Marshall is best known for being the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court, he established his legacy long before his appointment to the Court in 1967. Due to segregation, Brother Marshall was unable to attend his hometown law school, the University of Maryland. Not deterred from becoming an attorney, he graduated at the top of his class from Howard University School of Law and later sued the University of Maryland in Pearson v. Murray, which challenged segregation and discrimination. After winning the case, Brother Marshall would go on to establish the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as a separate entity and challenge discrimination laws across the country.

Today, we celebrate the contributions of Brother Thurgood Marshall who ensured that a generation of African Americans had the opportunity to attend any school they so chose. Brother Marshall’s contributions serve as the foundation for the Advocacy Movement for Justice and Equality pathway of the Alpha MOVEMENT platform.

I invite you to Join the Movement!