Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Alpha Phi Alpha, a Fraternity in Crisis

January 13th, 2010 by Ajuan Mance


Members of the University of Pittsburgh chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., photographed in 1918.


I can only wonder what these gentlemen would think about the current state of their organization. Earlier this month, Alpha Phi Alpha General President Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr. suspended the intake of new members for all chapters, citing “the failure of some […] members to behave honorably and with care.”

Mason’s actions come on the heels of the most recent hazing incident, in which Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity member Bryson Trumaine Amey (age 21) was arrested and charged with aggravated battery in connection with a hazing incident that took place in late November, at Fort Valley State University. The incident resulted in the hospitalization of fraternity pledge Brian Tukes (age 19) who was suffering from acute renal failure, the apparent victim of a severe beating at the chapter’s fraternity house.

I applaud the actions of the Alpha Phi Alpha National President. This oldest of all the African American Greek letter organizations has a proud and distinguished history, and Alpha Phi Alpha continues to play an important role in the education of African American men. The persistent problem of hazing, though, is a shameful mark on the reputation and legacy of this otherwise admirable group. Life-threatening violence does more to rend the bonds of brotherhood than it does to build and strengthen them, and until the entire membership of Alpha Phi Alpha can understand and internalize this key idea, then the pledge process must necessarily be suspended, lest another young man suffer injury or even death at the hands of his would-be brothers.

To read more about Alpha Phi Alpha’s current freeze on membership, follow THIS LINK.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in African American Students, African Americans, Alpha Phi Alpha, Black History, Black Students, Current Events, Higher Education, race

4 Responses

  1. DNLee

    I hate to see this type of thing happen.

  2. Ajuan Mance

    Me too. In many ways, Alpha Phi Alpha is a wonderful organization with a distinguished history. I hope that they are able to address this issue of hazing in a way that will serve as a model for all of the Black Greek organizations, many of which are struggling with the same problems. Hopefully, then, all of the Black Greek letter organizations will be able to put this to rest.

  3. 2Serenity

    A friend of mine was killed in a suspected hazing incident at the University of Virginia in 1992. It broke my heart and it still breaks my heart knowing that his death could have been prevented. I don’t think some of these black greek organizations understand that the real mission of the fraternity is brotherhood and community service and not abuse. I still cry 18 years later of the what ifs but I know obviously God wanted him home and I have come to peace to it but it’s still painful.

    Information on the incident if interested:

    Parent’s Concerns Broached,6328015

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Escubar

    As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, I too am sadden by the acts of hazing and I am pleased with our General President for his shift and unfaltering reaction.
    However its important that we not place the entire rich history of this and other organization with the box of a single incident.
    The community must see our principles of scholarship, manly deeds and love for all mankind in our actions.