Alpha Deserves Some Love, Too

A lot of my newer sorors have embraced a phenomenon that they call "Coleman Love", based on the relationship between one of our founders and an Omega man.

I recently became aware of the role that Alpha Phi Alpha plays in the life of many Deltas. Read on...


By Skip Mason

The fall of 1912 was a tumultuous year for sisterhood on the campus of Howard University as 22 women pulled out of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to organize another sorority they named Delta Sigma Theta. One young lady, Myra Davis holds the distinction of being the only woman to serve as both Basileus of AKA and President of DST in 1912 and 1913 respectively.

Of the twenty-two women who organized the sorority, two dated two of the founders of Omega Psi Phi. Delta Founder Edith Young dated Edgar Love and Frank Coleman dated and ultimately married Edna Brown.

And yes my dear brothers, another three of the Delta founders were "Sweethearts of A Phi A" and later to become wives of our dear brothers. Delta Founder Osceola Macarthy, who became one of the first African-American women to perform on Broadway dated and married Beta Chapter initiate Numa P.G. Adams, a member of the Howard Class of 1911.

Brother Adams, a chemistry professor became the first African-American dean of the Howard University Medical School. He and Jewel Callis were very close friends and it was Adams who invited Callis back to Howard to teach after his stint in Tuskegee Institute Hospital.

Another Delta Founder who married an Alpha was Miss Vashti Turley. She married Brother Carl Murphy, also a graduate of the Howard and Harvard University, an instructor of German at Howard and later editor and publisher of his father's paper, The Baltimore Afro-American. Brother Murphy also served as Editor of the Sphinx in the 1920's. The Murphys had five children (all daughters, [FOUR] Deltas). Their granddaughter is the Reverend Vashti Murphy McKenzie, National Chaplain for Delta Sigma Theta as well as the first female Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Finally, Delta Founder Naomi Sewell married Alpha man Clarence Richardson. Sewell taught high school in Princeton, New Jersey where she befriended Brother Paul Robeson, who was attending Rutgers at the time. On weekends they would have singalongs.


Brother Paul Robeson (Nu Chapter '17) and his wife Eslanda Goode Robeson, a Delta, spent their honeymoon at a Delta Convention.

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (Delta's first National President, one of the founders of the National Bar Association) was married to an Alpha, Attorney Raymond Pace Alexander.

The Alpha chapter at Rust College presented a young Delta girl in one of her first recitals on the campus as a part of their cultural program. This Delta soror at Rust was Leontyne Price.

Historian and 14th General President Charles Wesley had a Delta wife, Charlotte.

19th General President Myles Paige had a Delta wife, Dorothy

26th General President Ozell Sutton is married to Delta Joanna Sutton

27th General President Charles Teamer is married to Delta Mary Teamer

28th General President Henry Ponder is married to Delta Anna Ponder

In December of 1923, the Deltas and the Alphas held their National conventions in Columbus, Ohio and took a pilgrimage to the home and grave of Paul Lawrence Dunbar. (You will recall in the first issue that Mrs. Paul Lawrence Dunbar became the first wife of Jewel Henry Arthur Callis and wrote the words to the Delta National Hymn) The two groups came together for their annual banquet. It was at that convention that Mary McLeod Bethune was inducted as a Delta.

While students at Howard University during the 1960's, this Delta and Alpha team forged a phenomenal friendship and one of the greatest musical duos of our time: Delta Roberta Flack and Alpha Donny Hathaway.

DELTA QUOTE- "If God has created a better man than an Alpha man, I do not know where he is." Mona Humphries Bailey, Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta (in her remarks at the Atlanta Convention in 1986). She is sister of Alpha brother Frederick Humphries, President of Florida A & M University.

*I was at the convention when she made the remarks. She brought the house down!


"I fear that in another generation, the relationship of the years 1890 -1920 in the establishment and growth of Alpha and the subsequent Greek letter societies, will be lost entirely. When that occurs our usefulness will be over."
(Jewel Henry Arthur Callis, 1952)

Skip's Quote: To Be is a Blessing, But to Live is Holy.

DISCLAIMER: This page is not affiliated with the National Organization of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. The information provided has been thoroughly researched and documented and is presented to you with all of the fraternal love and spirit I possess. Sources are available upon request. Special thanks to Paula Giddings and her phenomenal book "In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta. "


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