Historic Image De-Coded To Reveal 12 Previously Unknown Alpha Rho Initiates In SP1924 + FA1924
APCAA Completes Annotated Timeline For 100% Listing
Of Chapter Initiates From 1924 - 2021
By, BMaynard Scarborough, APCAA President + APCAA Editorial Staff
In recognition of the 98th anniversary of the chartering of Alpha Rho Chapter at Morehouse College, we are releasing the latest, and clearly the most significant update to the timeline since the Alpha Rho International Census (APIC) was completed in 2014.
The identities of the Alpha Rho Brothers pictured in the "Tiger, Second Edition" yearbook from 1925 have been a mystery for our team of researchers for almost a decade, as it features 35 Morehouse undergraduates without proper name tags. It was, however, determined early on that it does feature 11 of the 13 Charter Members who were initiated into the fraternity via the Eta Lambda Chapter -- but who were the other 24 Brothers?
As it turns out, extensive research now reveals that six of those pictured are new-found initiates from Spring 1924, another six are initiates from Fall 1924, and the remaining 12 are members of the previously identified line from Spring 1925.
Pictured above: The de-coded Chapter picture featured in the 1925 "Tiger: Second Edition" Morehouse College yearbook is comprised of Charter Members and initiates from Spring 1924, Fall 1924 and Spring 1925.
Following a 55-day forensic review of the 1925 Alpha Rho section in the yearbook utilizing a vintage Sphinx Magazine, Morehouse catalogues, fraternity databases, census reports and more than 15 other trusted resources, APCAA was able to verify the identities of all 35 Brothers in the historic 1925 image we and subsequently updated the APCAA database to honor their inclusion in our number.
The verification of the Brothers in this historic 1925 picture ranks up there with the recognition of the Chapter's 13 Charter Members, as this recent discovery classifies the first six Morehouse College students (Spring 1924) who were initiated into the fraternity under the Alpha Rho banner.
During this same research initiative we uncovered another substantial twist that revolves around the unique initiation rights granted to Eta Lambda Chapter and the undergraduate students at Morehouse College and Atlanta University. A special provision was granted at the 1923 General Convention in Columbus, Ohio to allow Eta Lambda to intake both undergraduate and graduate members.
Pictured above: In 1923, Atlanta-seated Eta Lambda Chapter was comprised of alumni along with undergraduate students from Atlanta University and Morehouse College. Alpha Rho Charter Members are circled in yellow.
Although they are recognized as part of the roster of Brothers who were undergraduate students at Morehouse College in 1924-25, the 13 men who chartered Alpha Rho Chapter on January 5, 1925 were all initiated into the fraternity by way of Atlanta's Eta Lambda Chapter in 1923. To that end, Morehouse's Alpha Rho Chapter is the only existing undergraduate chapter in Alpha Phi Alpha to be chartered by then-enrolled undergraduate students.
As of December 31, 2021, the adjusted number of initiation periods at Alpha Rho is 128. A new, companion timeline of the history of initiates is now available at AP/TIMELINE.
For reference, the arduous task of mapping the membership/timeline of initiates of Alpha Rho Chapter began in 2014 once it was determined that there was no single reliable source of information officially maintained by the national office or Morehouse College. To its credit, the national office readily opened their archives upon inquiry noting at the time that several early official records had been destroyed in a substantial fire at the Fraternity's headquarters, then based in Chicago. At that time, a review of the records stored in the archives at the national headquarters did not list any initiates during the calendar year 1924.
In the end, approximately 60% of the mapping was developed from their archives, and the remaining 40% was delivered by organizing our own "Research Toolbox"and the founding the "Morehouse Torch Yearbook Consortium.
Pictured above: The forensic path and research toolbox utilized to validate and identify the recently revealed original initiates into Alpha Rho Chapter at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
In fact, members of this same Consortium are directly responsible for locating the missing Sphinx Magazine from June 1924 which mentions the initiation of members we've revealed with this update. Unbeknownst to many, the Morehouse College Alumni Chapter of Omega Men, Inc. and our own Alpha Rho Chapter Alumni Association (APCAA) have a long-standing reciprocal research relationship which allows for access to rare publications that detail the legacy of our shared existence on the campus of Morehouse College.
In the matter of the missing Sphinx Magazine, Psi Chapter alumni brother John Monds (Chair of History Committee) asked during a call placed to him on November 11 to congratulate the chapter on their centennial: "Did you receive the information sent to the college on September 14?" As it happens, the original email never reached APCAA, so another Psi Chapter Brother (Kyle "Scoop" Yeldell, Co-Chair) forwarded the email that ultimately led to the exciting discoveries detailed today.
A key research tool for all things related to the infanctcy years of the Chapter remains the 1925 "Tiger" Morehouse College yearbook. The first-ever edition of a yearbook at the college premiered in 1923, followed two years later by the maroon leather embossed 166-page 1925 edition depicted in the toolbox above. This extremely rare publication is from the estate of Charter Member Brother Charles Johnson Dunn, and was rescued from obscurity and purchased by the APCAA on eBay.com in 2010. Digital versions of both the 1923, 1925 and 48 other Morehouse College yearbooks are available in the online repository of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library.
Pictured above: Alpha Rho Charter Member Brother Charles Johnson Dunn at left, with mementos from his college life and career to the right.
Brother Dunn was a member of the class of 1925 at Morehouse College where he played on the varsity basketball team. Alabama State’s arena is named the Dunn-Oliver Acadome after two legendary Hornet basketball coaches, Charles Johnson “C.J.” Dunn and James V. Oliver. The Dunn-Oliver Academe is ASU’s multipurpose facility featuring a 7,400-seat basketball arena, banquet facilities, and laboratory space. Brother Dunn is also the namesake of ASU's C.J. Dunn Towers, an 11-story, all-girls dormitory and the tallest building on campus.
Coach Dunn served as head basketball coach at ASU between 1934 and 1963, winning 298 games, the most wins of any Hornet coach. Coach Dunn spent 46 years at ASU serving in a number of capacities, including baseball coach, instructor, dean of students and athletic director. Coach Dunn also served as Commissioner of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) from 1970-72. He was inducted into the SIAC Hall of Fame in 1994.
Pictured above: The first six Morehouse College students initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha via Alpha Rho Chapter are featured on the top row, followed by the six men who joined in the fall of the Charter year.
As for the Morehouse men now listed as initiates into Alpha Rho Chapter in Spring 1924, they include Brother Alfred Julian McGhee, who's father, Brother Norman Leroy McGhee, served as one of the two national officers of the fraternity who installed Alpha Rho in early January of that same year. The elder McGhee's official role within the organization was as National General Secretary between 1919-25, and later as the Editor to The Sphinx Magazine. He was also one of 22 Charter Members of Washington, DC's Mu Lambda graduate chapter.
Abraham Henderickson Peeler, one of the six Brothers to join the fraternity in the fall of the Charter year, was the son of the 6th president of Bennett College (Morehouse's sister college) and was an important African American educator in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1931, he became principal of J.C. Price School, was later involved in the establishment of Nocho Park, was life-long an advocate of scouting, and was the first African American to serve on the Greensboro Recreation Commission beginning in 1947. Greensboro's Peeler Recreation Center is named in his honor.