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HISTORY OF THE DURHAM (NC) ALUMNI CHAPTER: Submission for MEP History Award 100 Years of Achievement


Submission for MEP History Award by Brother Rashad L. Morgan

Through the association and intellectual forces of four men, Leo Bruce, Conrad Odell Pearson, Lee Bynum and Alexander Moore Shearin, all former members of the Wilberforce University Chapter, the Delta of Kappa Alpha Psi (East Central Province), a chapter-chartered January 22, 1915, the history of the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter takes flight and shaped for service. The first eleven initiated members of our organization, the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter, were inspiring leaders in the Durham and surrounding vicinity, at that time, a place with a backdrop of depression associated with struggles for human decency,

injustices, blatant racism and discrimination facing people of color. These men, our first initiates, were devoted to the cause of labor, coupled with a love and humanitarian principles, who possessed a compassionate understanding of the suffering and the persecuted, bonded their spirits, to become members of the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated on September 12, 1921. The Durham Chapter was the tenth Alumni Chapter chartered in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. These men were Thomas Clinton Tinsley (Physician); Warren M. Strudwick (Physician); T. D. Parham (Businessman); Charles Haddon Shepard (Physician); T. Gatling (Physician); A. S. Nurse (Physician); D. Joyner (Physician); Alexander Sterling Hunter (Raleigh Dentist); John Moses Avery (Insurance Company Executive; Professor); William Wilson (Former United States Army Lieutenant); and John Dyer (Bookkeeper). Dr. Charles Haddon Shepard, prominent Physician at the Lincoln Hospital, was the biological brother of Dr. James Edward Shepard, founder and first President of North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University). The chapter has attracted a monument of men with wonderful temperament and splendid reputations for integrity and loyalty in many professions and fields of human endeavor. A few members of the Durham Chapter have possessed an impactful presence in Durham and within the Fraternity. One person is William Gaston Pearson, who was intimately involved in the growth of Hayti and in advocacy for the African American community. Pearson began his teaching career at Whitted High School, and succeeded James Whitted as Principal, for whom the school bears his name. Pearson became the first Principal of the newly built Hillside Park High School in 1922, a position held for 18 years. W.G. Pearson made outstanding contributions as a member of the Durham community as one of the original organizers of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Fraternal Bank and Trust Company, Southern Fidelity and Surety Company (first black bonding organization). A stalwart member and pillar of the chapter include James Jackson “Babe” Henderson, who served the chapter as Keeper of Records (1934-1959), a post held for twenty-five years before becoming Polemarch of the chapter from 1960 to 1974. Subsequently, “Babe,” as he was affectionately known received much honor after his tenure, with the title bestowed as Polemarch Emeritus for meritorious service to the cause of leadership and achievement. Henderson served nationally as Grand Board Member, and Grand Keeper of Records and Exchequer during the early years of our Fraternity’s rich history, with wisdom and authority.

The James Jackson Henderson Towers (807 South Duke Street, Durham), completed in 1978, designated for senior living in Durham, bears his name. Henderson served with distinction as Chairman of the Durham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. Henderson, while employed at the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, served with stellar distinction as Assistant Treasurer. He received the 23rd Laurel Wreath in 1974 at the 59th Grand Chapter Meeting (Las Vegas, Nevada), the highest award and honor within the gift of the Fraternity. Alexander Moore Shearin, having journeyed back to Durham after attending Wilberforce University, an initiate of the Delta of Kappa Alpha Psi (October 12, 1918), he also served the Durham Chapter as Keeper of Records twice (1927-1930), prior to James Jackson “Babe” Henderson, a post he held for 25 years (1934-1959). While in Durham, having spent time in Chicago and California, Shearin served with distinction as the General Manager of the Southern Surety and Fidelity Company. Shearin was also involved with the formation of the University at California at Los Angeles Chapter, the Upsilon, chartered on April 25, 1923. Shearin was also appointed Province Polemarch of the Southeastern Province in 1928 by the 6th Grand Polemarch, Archibald Alphonso Alexander. At the 20th Grand Chapter Meeting (December 27-31, 1930), staged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Alexander Moore Shearin elevated to the office of Grand Polemarch. Incidentally, Grand Polemarch Shearin’s Silhouette, was the daughter of Charles Clinton Spaulding, the 11th Laurel Wreath Laureate, and the nephew of Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore, the 1st Negro physician in Durham, North Carolina.

The Durham Chapter is located within the boundaries of the Middle Eastern Province of the Fraternity, encompassing the entire state of North Carolina and the southern tip of the State of West Virginia. Chapter and provincial records reflect men in our bond of achievers, who have given unstintingly to promote the mission of the Middle Eastern Province boundaries as Province officers. Some of these men include the following: Attorney Conrad Odell Pearson was appointed Director of Region 3 (now called Province Polemarch) at the 13th Grand Chapter Meeting (Louisville, Kentucky; Dr. James M. Hubbard, Sr. (chapter

polemarch in 1925 and 1927, and appointed Southeastern Province Polemarch at the 19th Grand Chapter Meeting held in Durham, NC and served again from 1933-1935); Frank Greene Burnett (appointed Middle Eastern Province Polemarch by Grand Polemarch Charles Rodger Wilson (19th Laurel Wreath Laureate, 1968); Lenzie Green Barnes (Elder Watson Diggs recipient at the 64th Grand Chapter Meeting in Detroit,

Michigan 1982); John L. Stewart (Durham Alumni Reporter and recipient of a national journalism award at the 58th Grand Chapter meeting), Reverend Dr. Michael Delano Page (chapter polemarch and first Black chairman of Durham Public Schools Board); The 17th Middle Eastern Province Polemarch, Randal Moore Rogers (chapter and Province Polemarch, former chair of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black

People); Joseph King Davis, Jr. (chapter Keeper of Records, Province Polemarch and Keeper of Records and Exchequer, Keeper of Records for the Council of Province Polemarchs. Elder Watson Diggs Awardee) Lascel A. Webley, Jr. (chapter Polemarch and Sr. Vice Province Polemarch). Two distinguished Brothers of the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter also served the Middle Eastern Province Board of Directors diligently

with courageous efforts and great industry, which made them eminently successful in the position; Elbert Avery and Renaldo U. Dorsey. Early history, and to the present day, details that the Durham Chapter consistently engages in worthwhile projects and endeavors. In 1928, then Polemarch of the Southeastern Province, Alexander Moore Shearin,

petitioned the 6th Grand Polemarch, Archibald Alphonso Alexander and the Grand Board of Directors, to offer the hosting of the 19th Grand Chapter Meeting in Durham, North Carolina, staged for 1929. In 1929, the Fraternity encountered several discouraging setbacks with the efficiency and effectiveness of the Fraternity, having grown in membership, but not in maturity. Illness and depression accounted for the absence of several stalwarts and pillars of the Fraternity to that Grand Chapter Meeting, but it was hosted in an extravagant style, with Shearin involved heavily in the planning implementation. He (Shearin) became

the 8th Grand Polemarch at the 20th Grand Chapter Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was during Alexander Moore Shearin’s administration as Grand Polemarch, when the North Carolina College Chapter (now NCCU), the Alpha Kappa was chartered, June 1, 1931. The Public Meeting at the 19th Grand Chapter Meeting was held at St. Joseph African Methodist Episcopal Church (Fayetteville Street), with Laurence Clifton Jones as the keynote speaker (Founder and First President of the Piney Woods Country Life School

in Piney Woods, Mississippi).

Throughout the years of our noble existence, the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter has engaged in a wealth of programming and worthwhile endeavors designed to meet the needs of the Durham and surrounding community. The chapter has conducted Guide Right Programs in many venues since the inception, and gained momentum in programming in many noteworthy areas, in particular, for children and youth. The Little Brothers Program at R.N. Harris Elementary School, and the Brother 2 Brother (B2B) Mentoring Program at the Pearsontown Elementary School and the James Edward Shepard Middle School (named in honor of Dr. James Edward Shepard). The Beautillion Militaire Leadership Training and Scholarship Program, which aids in the development of high school young men, utilize some of the same initiatives and character development models with our elementary young men, coupled with a fundraising component, culminating in a more formal presentation to the public at large. The Beautillion Militaire Leadership

Training and Scholarship Program has received national recognition in VIBE Magazine, September 1999 issue. The very first Chairman of the Beautillion Militaire Program for Durham (NC) Alumni was Dr. Willie Sherrod Smith, Jr. The Durham (NC) Chapter has consistently supported a multitude of impactful civic and social action endeavors in the Durham community. The Wendell Andrews Endowed Scholarship at North Carolina Central University is named in honor of a Past Polemarch (2004 - 2006) a member of the Criminal Justice Faculty at North Carolina Central University; it celebrates the achievement of high school students through the issuance of scholarships. The Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter served as host for the 2022 Middle Eastern Province Founders’ Day Celebration at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. At this Celebration, the Durham Alumni Chapter was able to celebrate with the entire Middle Eastern Province, a portion of its Centennial programming efforts. In 2009, the acquiring and subsequent

opening of the Kappas of Durham Foundation Community Center, was proudly dedicated with an impressive dedicatory program on the lawn of the Fayetteville Street facility. The building is a testament to the vision and foresight of the membership to expand its visibility and community service. The Kappas of Durham Foundation, Incorporated was incorporated on November 29, 2000 in the State of North Carolina as a nonprofit entity to provide programs benefitting the youth in Durham (City/County), North Carolina. The Kappas of Durham Foundation is a nonprofit charitable entity that was granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service as a Section 501(c)3 organization on May 31, 2001. The

following Brothers were elected as the founding officers of the Foundation: Willie F. Boyd (President); Frederick H. Black, Sr. (Vice President); Joseph King Davis, Jr. (Secretary); Raymond McAllister, Sr. (Treasurer); Frank Meachum, Carl Stephen Paschall, and Dwight Peebles (Board Members). Historically, the Foundation’s programs have been oriented toward African American males. As the need for strong and positive male mentoring increases among all demographics, the Foundation looks to expand its programs to a more diverse population. The Kappas of Durham Foundation Center dedicated its Community Center on Fayetteville Street, March 19, 2011; Elvert Dorsey, Past Polemarch from 2008 – 2010, chaired the KODF Center Dedication Ceremony, and Past Province Polemarch Joseph King Davis, Jr. presided over the affair. The Foundation is an affiliate of the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. The Past Presidents are Willie F. Boyd, Michael D. Page, Elvert L. Dorsey, Mark A. Melton, Rashid Curtis and Lascel A. Webley, Jr. (Senior Province Vice Polemarch). Dr. Marcus Curry is now the current President of the Kappas of Durham Foundation, Incorporated.

Annually, because of diligent, courageous efforts and zeal through generous fraternal labor, the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter, presents the “Kappa Man of the Year” Award. During the 1970s and 80s, the programming and presentation of these awards were held at rotating churches of different faiths in the Durham community. The recipients: Charles Johnson (1976-1977); Ralph A. Hunt, Sr. (1977-1978);Harvey D. Williams (1978-1979); Frank Howard Alston (1979-1980); Dewitt Sullivan (1980-1981);Raymond McAllister, Sr. (1981-1982); Cleveland Hammonds (1982-1983); Lewis Nathaniel Owens, Sr.(1983-1984); Randal Moore Rogers (1984-1985); Willie S. Smith, Jr. (1985-1986); Joseph King Davis, Jr.(1986-1987); Sanford Williams (1987-1988); Lenzie Green Barnes (1988-1989); Willie F. Boyd (1989-1990); R. Edward Stewart (1990-1991); Elbert Avery (1991-1992); Tyrone Baughman (1992-1993); JamesW. Hill (1993-1994); Dossie N. Jones (1994-1995); Carl Stephen Paschall (1995-1996); Mark A. Melton(1996-1997); Dwight A. Peebles (1997-1998); John Wesley Perry (1998-1999); Wendell Andrews (1999-2000); Frederick H. Black, Sr. (2000-2001); James R. Tabron (2001-2002); Raymond McAllister, Sr. (2002-2003); Renaldo U. Dorsey (2003-2004); Willie F. Boyd (2004-2005); Anthony M. Humphries (2005-2006); Melvin J. Watson (2006-2007); Lascel A. Webley, Jr. (2007-2008); Sterling E. Freeman (2008-2009); Terrence R. Scarborough (2009-2010); Edward L. Cook, Jr. (2010-2011); Elvert L. Dorsey (2011-2012); Harry A. Leak (2012-2013); Michael D. Page (2013-2014); Joseph King Davis, Jr. (2014-2015); Byron Turner (2015-2016); Rashad L. Morgan (2016-2017); Bruce Woody (2017-2018); Brandon Watson (2018-2019); Quintin Murphy (2019-2020); Ryan Fairley (2020-2021).

Additionally, we present the “Senior Kappa Man of the Year Award” annually, to men nominated and voted upon by the membership who have continued to serve with unselfish devotion. Senior Kappa Men of the Year elected since its inception are: Robert L. McAdams (2008-2009); Raymond McAllister, Sr. (2009-2010); James W. Hill (2010-2011); Randal Moore Rogers (2011-2012); Lee Watkins (2012-2013); Alfred Russell (2013-2014); Lynn Smith (2014-2015); William Forte (2015-2016); Frank Meachum (2016-2017); Lee Watkins (2017-2018); William Lawrence, Sr.(2018-2019); Harry A. Leak (2019-2020). The Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter provides oversight and supervision to three undergraduate chapters. The North Carolina Central University Chapter, the Alpha Kappa of Kappa Alpha Psi (Chartered in 1931, Durham, NC); the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapter, the Theta Omicron of Kappa Alpha Psi (Chartered in 1976, Chapel Hill, NC), and the Duke University Chapter, the Iota Xi of Kappa Alpha Psi (Chartered in 1979, Durham, NC). Our responsibility to support an undergraduate chapter’s presence on a university campus, is to provide guidance and advice, by actively communicating compliance with the Middle Eastern Province and the International Headquarters of the Fraternity. The undergraduate chapters under our jurisdiction have possessed trusting relationships with Undergraduate Chapter Advisors, appointed by the Alumni Chapter, which has contributed to their success.

The Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter has always supported a wealth of Social Action initiatives that brought awareness and strategies to solve community problems and issues. Driving these initiatives, are brothers of the chapter dedicated to its success through volunteer service, developing and strengthening bonds within our fraternity community, which still remains our mission today. During the embryonic stages of our chapter history, the fraternity engaged in Social and Political Action to ensure all people were provided equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they required to meet basic human needs. With this premise in mind, it played a major decision in the organization and development of the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs, where several of our early stalwart members provided humanitarian leadership. Brothers of the Durham Chapter were consciously aware of the impact of the political arena of the city, and advocated strongly through participation in politics and promoting legislation that improved social conditions and promoted social justice. Our Social Action Committee during our Centennial celebration, under the leadership of Brother Ryan Fairley, has implemented several worthwhile projects that has impacted the Durham and surrounding community, namely: Back to School Supplies Give-A-Way; Annual Holiday Clothing and Toy Drive; Kappas of Durham Foundation Blood Drive; McDougald Terrace Seasonal Supply Drive and Crisis Intervention Program; North Carolina Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway Beautification Project; Durham Rescue Mission Support; Habitat for Humanity; Keep Durham Beautiful Campaign; Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina. Committee goals for the future include: (1) Creating widespread public awareness of community problems; (2) Continue to achieve, serve, and provide positive impact for the citizens of Durham; (3) Inspire service in our youth; (4) Develop indigenous leadership teams to support at risk areas of the community. Polemarchs of the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter, since our inception, have performed their official duties with unswerving integrity and fearless determination. Those having occupied the office are: C.L. Bynum (1921-1922); Alexander Sterling Hunter (1923-1924); James M. Hubbard, Sr. (1925); W. L. Joyner (1926); James M. Hubbard, Sr. (1927-1929); John W. Davidson (1930); Thomas D. Parham (1931); Dan B. Martin (1932-1933); Frank Greene Burnett (1934-1936); Emmett C. Pratt (1937); Louie M. Berry (1938-1939); Edward M. Merrick (1940-1941); E.A. Carter (1942-1943); James T. Hawkins (1944-1949); Frank Greene, Burnett (1950-1952); John L. Stewart (1953-1955); Frank Howard Alston (1956-1957); J.G. Thompson (1958-1959); James Jackson “Babe” Henderson (1960-1974); Murphy D. Jenkins (1975); Dewitt Sullivan (1976-1977); Robert L. McAdams (1978-1980); Randal Moore Rogers (1981-1982); George Booth Smith (1983-1984); C.N. “Pap” Parrish (1985-1987); Richmond Edward Stewart (1987-1989); Redditt Alexander (1989-1991); James W. Hill (1991-1993); Dwight A. Peebles, Sr. (1993-1995); Willie F. Boyd (1995-1997); Tyrone M. Baughman (1997-1998); Frederick H. Black, Sr. (1998-2000); Mark A. Melton (2000-2002); Archie W. Ervin (2002-2004); Wendell Andrews (2004-2006); John Wesley Perry (2006-2008); Elvert L. Dorsey (2008-2010); Harry A. Leak (2010-2012); Lascel A. Webley, Jr. (2012-2014); Renaldo U. Dorsey (2014-2016); Byron Turner (2016-2018); Reverend Dr. Michael Delano Page (2018-2020); Attorney Rashad Morgan (2020-Present), affectionately known as the Centennial Polemarch. The members of the Durham (NC) Alumni Chapter salute these Brothers of noble spirit for their leadership success that crowned their efforts.

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