As we enter the final week of Black History Month we focus our thoughts on “#26.”
Today, we salute and honor our 26th General President Ozell Sutton. It’s hard to believe that three years has gone by since he entered Omega Chapter on Dec. 19, 2015, in Atlanta. He is best remembered for his fiery oratory skills—possessing a bass baritone that commanded everyone’s attention. However, it was his service (both within and without Alpha Phi Alpha) that comprised his Monumental MOVEMENTS.
In Alpha, he has the distinction of being the only alumni-initiate to serve as a regional vice president in two regions (South and Southwest) and hold the general presidency. He was a stalwart servant-leader in the Civil Rights MOVEMENT: from his days as a decoy for the Little Rock Nine to his work to cool the temperature on the streets of Los Angeles during the Rodney-King-beating riots, while a community relations director at the U.S. Justice Department.
Brother Sutton also made Monumental MOVEMENTS by breaking barriers. He was the first African-American journalist on the Arkansas Democrat newspaper staff. He did that after breaking the color barrier in the U.S. Marines Corps, becoming one of the first black Marines in 1944. For his bravery and dedication, he along with others in the Montford Point Marines earned the Congressional Gold Medal—the nation’s highest civilian honor bestowed by the Congress.
Born in 1925 in Gould, Ark., Sutton graduated from Philander Smith College, which he always affectionately called his “Alma Mama.” Perhaps one of his greatest achievements was establishing the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a founding board member.
Through the Monumental MOVEMENTS that Brother Sutton made, we are reminded that everyone can serve—at all levels. Let’s start TOGETHER, with the Alpha MOVEMENT.
Are you ready?