Happy 50th Birthday Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.
Wow it's going to another hot blazing day in Baltimore today. Lonnie Spruill was thinking not about the heat of the day. Lonnie's thoughts meandered about an aggressive burn of anger that simmered inside him. Just Sunday past while he and his close friends John Slade, Frank Coakley, Elias Dorsey, and Webster Lewis headed to church the CBS News announced the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church during Sunday School Services. Bombingham, or Birmingham, Alabama had struck with the cold steeled hatred that engulfed that city's white populace for years. Now just as some of America was seemingly moving towards a somewhat peaceful resolution of black civil rights. This horrid act of terror had struck at the moral fabric of Black America.
To Tink, Spanky,
Lonnie, Web and Lonnie this was just been too damn much. What had these 4 little girls done to anyone? What was their crime against humanity? Why did white people feel threatened by these girls? They had been discussing doing something as a group to have their
voices heard but they didn't feel that joining the current fraternities on campus were the answer.
You see they felt that as Black Men being ridiculed in public to pledge an organization was just putting hated fire on their keg of black anger. They were already ridiculed by the majority race for simply being of a darker hue. No way would these brothers face ridicule from men of the same hue.
They had run into a number of similar minded brothers over this past summer during the trip to Washington DC
on August 28, 1963 participate in the Jobs and Freedom Rally at the Lincoln Memorial. They heard a Black Minister from Atlanta speak of a Dream, His Dream was the DReam for the Ages a Dream of Equality of the Races. Wow, it was impressive to see the hues of
people from all backgrounds saying enough was enough! They ran into Charles Brown, Charlie Briscoe, and Charles Gregory while at the March. The 3 Charlie's were just as interested as them on making a difference and addressing the rights of their people. They
also had the opportunity to meet Barron Willis whose parents instilled in him the tools of demanding change. He grew in a home where social change was served with the meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Louis Hudnell wanted to practice law when he left school. He was a brother who had big dreams for himself. So until he could visualize his dreams. He felt that being in this group of black brothers will allow him to incubate those dream. He as the others wanted to be with a group of men who wanted to have their voices heard. He had spoken to Barron about this group of independent like minded men and felt at home. He spoke to his friend Michael Williams about these brothers and Mike was interested in getting more information as well. So they each decided that after classes on September 19th they would meet. It was Albert Hicks's idea to meet out in the open air not in a closed stuffy room. They wanted to be different so at 5 pm on September 19, 1963 those 12 dynamic brothers from different backgrounds and interests met on the Steps of Hurt Gymnasium.
These twelve men had forged different life path along the way yet the ideals established that day still holds firm. That organization is Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated. This weekend as we brothers and sweethearts
go through our life experiences take a moment to give a thought to Addie Mae Collins, Cythnia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair. Each made the ultimate sacrifice unknowingly stuffed out by terrorist designs
We pay homage to these young girls this weekend. Also, please come out on September 19, 2014 at 5:55 let's meet at the a Iota Phi Theta Monument in front of Hurt Gymnasium.. As we as Brothers unite to pay homage to our Founders and our Founding.