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Alpha Phi Alpha: The Pilgrimage to Cornell

members of Alpha Phi Alpha
Matthew Fondeur/University Photography
The members of Alpha Phi Alpha who made a pilgrimage to Cornell Nov. 19 gather in Sage Chapel for a group photo.

Nearly 1,000 alumni and friends of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity came to the Cornell campus Nov. 19, a pilgrimage that marked the centennial of the first Greek-letter fraternity for African-Americans. Alpha Phi Alpha was founded at Cornell in 1906.

During the daylong pilgrimage, hundreds of the fraternity's members participated in a silent march from Barton Hall to the site of the fraternity's new centennial memorial in front of Barnes Hall, where a service paid tribute to the fraternity's founding members, known as the "Seven Jewels." An academic scholarship convocation was held in Sage Chapel, where scholarship recipients were recognized and Robert Harris Jr., professor of African-American history and Cornell's vice provost for diversity and faculty development, presented a lecture. A farewell reception was held at the Johnson Museum.

"A pilgrimage is a personal, spiritual, historic and significant journey, which one takes to a place and for a purpose that has profound meaning to that individual," stated Darryl R. Matthews Sr., general president of Alpha Phi Alpha, in a letter to members about the event.

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