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King’s Legacy: Brothers Of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Making Change

Before Martin Luther King Jr. traveled the country reshaping social justice movements in the nation’s most segregated cities, he was both a graduate of Morehouse College and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In his march toward change, King Jr. represented both proudly and loudly. Decades after his assassination, members of his fraternity carry the legacy of both their fallen brother and the illustrious fraternity. As the nation celebrates the life and accomplishments of one of the greatest Americans in history, dozens of brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are working to make sure that the ideals King Jr. instilled in the nation do not die along with him. This list could include hundreds of names, but here are ten.

Sen. Raphael Warnock

Chapter: Alpha Gamma Lambda

Occupation: United States Senator, Reverend, Author

Newly-elected Senator Raphael Warnock is like the aforementioned King Jr. in many ways. Warnock is both a graduate of Morehouse College and a reverend. Like King Jr., Warnock is also a prolific writer who has written multiple books. As he presided over King Jr.’s former congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock advocated for the release of death row inmate Troy Davis, participated in Barack Obama‘s second inauguration and hosted an interfaith climate change summit featuring Al Gore and William Barber II.

Omari Hardwick

Chapter: Zeta Pi

Occupation: Actor, Poet, Philanthropist

Omari Hardwick is popularly known for his role as James “Ghost” St. Patrick in the hit show, Power. However, he is much more than one role in one series. Hardwick was a college football player at the University of Georgia where he developed a love for acting. It is well documented that he appeared in films and series such as The A-Team, Being Mary Jane and Spike Lee‘s Miracle at St. Anna‘s. Outside of acting, he is also an accomplished poet who competed at the National Poetry Slam in 2003 and 2004. Not to mention, he’s appeared on Tank‘s Elevation album and Floetry‘s “Say Yes” music video. Hardwick has also served as a mentor to younger actors such as Michael Rainey Jr. off the screen.

Rep. Gregory Meeks

Chapter: Zeta Zeta Lambda

Occupation: U.S. Representative

Gregory Meeks is one of the most accomplished members of Congress. During his two-decade-long run, Meeks has served on the Congressional Black Caucus, New Democrat Coalition and a handful of other caucuses. Most recently, he was named the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In this role, he will run the committee that oversees the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. He is also the first Black man to chair this committee.

Barry Jenkins

Chapter: Iota Delta

Occupation: Producer, Director

Barry Jenkins is one of the most innovative and accomplished figures in Hollywood today. Jenkins is best known for his Oscar-winning project, Moonlight. However, his work does not end there. Jenkins is the visionary behind widely successful films If Beale Street Could Talk and Charm City Kings. In the years to come, Jenkins will continue to push the envelope as he develops films chronicling the life of boxing champion Claressa Shields and the catastrophe commonly known as the Flint water crisis.

Rep. Bobby Scott

Chapter: Sigma

Occupation: U.S. Representative

Rep. Bobby Scott is nearing his 30th anniversary in Congress and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. As a member of Congress, the Newport News native has worked diligently to offer many of the same things King Jr. fought for such as greater access to healthcare, widespread job training and a higher minimum wage. While he is often met with resistance, Scott has earned the respect of his colleagues and been named the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee.

Will Packer

Chapter: Beta Nu

Occupation: Director, Producer

Will Packer is both a director and a producer. He is both a mentor and entrepreneur. Simply put, he does it all. Over the course of his career, Packer has had a hand on some of your favorite movies over the last decade. Ranging from Girls Trip to Think Like A Man, Packer cemented his name in Hollywood through his work ethic and personable nature. Packer’s latest project, Blackballed, documents the 2014 Donald Sterling fiasco.

David Scott

Chapter: Eta Gamma

Occupation: U.S. Representative

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver has served as both a U.S. Representative and the first Black mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. During his political career, Cleaver has served as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity. Over the last two years, Cleaver has voted to impeach President Donald Trump twice. In 2019, he was one of only two representatives from Missouri to do so. Activism and political action runs in his family. He is the cousin of Black Panther Party leaders Eldridge Cleaver and Pete O’Neal.

Pierre Thomas

Chapter: Theta Iota

Occupation: Journalist

Pierre Thomas is not only a reporter, but he is a trailblazer. For more than two decades, Thomas has worked as a justice correspondent at CNN and ABC. In 2012, he was named the “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists. Having worked with Thomas at ABC News, I can say that he is one of the most knowledgeable and professional journalists I have ever worked with. He is both a mentor and a leader. Thomas continues to pave the way for young, Black journalists as a senior justice correspondent at ABC News.

Rep. Al Green

Chapter: Beta Nu

Occupation: U.S. Representative

Rep. Al Green is one of the most outspoken members of Congress. Protesting the abuse of immigrants during the Trump presidency and advocating for police reform, Green will always speak his mind. As he enters his 16th year in Congress, don’t expect Green to slow down anytime soon.

Stan Verrett

Chapter: Beta

Occupation: Journalist

Fans of ESPN know Stan Verrett very well. Shouting out “H-U!” on-air when appropriate and highlighting the success of his fraternity when the opportunity presents itself, Verrett has no problem letting you know how he arrived on the worldwide leader in sports. Over the years, he has interviewed the likes of Barack Obama and worked as an anchor on the iconic show, SportsCenter.

Photo Credits: Getty Images

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