Sep. 4, 2018
1963-2018 55 Years, Still Moving, Still Gaining, Still Thriving
A bullet pierces the night sky in Jackson, Mississippi extinguishing the life a leader who stood tall for the rights of his people. The life extinguished but the death ignited a year of wondrous change for a people who for so long had rights denied. A Dream revealed in Washington, DC by a Southern Preacher that awaken from a slumber a people who now yearned for what was rightfully theirs. A Sunday morning church service terrorized by the explosion of a bomb that ended the lives of 4 innocent girls, this acts ignited winds of change for a Nation deeply troubled and disturbed.
A change was on the horizon, a change was everywhere. The dogs may have been barking in Birmingham, Memphis, Albany, Greensboro, as well as cities across the lands but no doubt a seismic change was on the horizon. In a small enclave on the steps of a gymnasium Hurt Gymnasium 12 Black Men on September 19, 1963, started a movement. A movement that registered as a ripple in the waters of change. A ripple that soon after moved to waves of change as more and more Brothers saw some light in what these 12 had initially envisioned. That wave soon moved from a wave to a tsunami of change as across the nation Brothers of all backgrounds, creeds, and colors saw that once the flickering light turns into an amber of bright glory. The tsunami of change related to a black man's brotherhood that was predicated on five GUIDING PRINCIPLES Brotherhood, Scholarship, Citizenship, Fidelity, and Leadership.
Yes, those 12 remarkable Black Men who were emboldened to answer yes to change on that Fall September evening. Because of those brothers stepping forward and announcing they were seeking something unique, something more powerful than what existed in fraternal organizations We, the current brothers of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity will be forever beholden to their efforts. Each of those 12 men wanted to ignite the sea of change in brotherhood and organizational development:
John Slade, Lonnie Spruill, Frank Coakley, Barron Willis, Albert Hicks, Charles Brown, Lewis Hudnell, Charles Briscoe, Elias Dorsey, Charles Gregory, Webster Lewis, and Michael Williams
all together on the steps searching for a different path towards community unity. Each one deciding that evening the cause was all or nothing at all. Their decisions formed the energy necessary to light the fire for a change. It was all for one and one for all. Eventually, those 12 Founders wove an organization that was solidified by 12 letters, that formed a new black Greek fraternity, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.
No matter each's of the 12's standing in life evolved or how they lived their lives past that fall evening. Those 12 Founders will always be linked in the history books as the original organizers of this fraternity now 55 years young. I'm quite sure that however optimistic each was standing on the Hurt Gymnasium steps on the campus of Morgan State College. They probably didn't envision that this organization would touch almost every continent on the planet in some way. So, together as brothers join and link arms to celebrate those 12 Founders and Founding Day 55.
We have already unveiled our wonderful monument which was dedicated 5 years ago on September 19, 2013. Maybe on September 19, 2018, every brother on social media can link their photo to that monument. We can show our support for the dreams set forth on that Fall Day in September 1963. We may not all be able to physically be on our founding campus that day. However, by showing our images linked to the statute we will be honoring both the living founders as well as the founders to have been elevated to ancestor status.