Alpha Phi Alpha alumni gather for convention

Published 12:01 am Friday, January 27, 2012

NATCHEZ — Approximately 150 members of a fraternal organization will meet in Natchez this weekend.

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha, which was the first intercollegiate Greek letter fraternity for black students formed in the United States, will have their annual Mississippi district state convention at the Natchez Convention Center.

The Natchez alumni chapter, the Lorman alumni chapter and the Alcorn collegiate chapter are hosting the conference.

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Rickey Thigpen, the Alpha Phi Alpha district of Mississippi executive director, said the fraternity likes to move to different venues around the state, but the host chapters get to bring the conference in through a competitive bid process.

“The area of the state we are looking for needs to have appropriate facilities and venues that can support our activities during the convention,” Thigpen said. “The Natchez chapter has really taken the lead, working hard to make sure our needs are accommodated.”

Several conference activities are open to the public. Those include:

4The welcome reception in the lobby of the Grand Hotel from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Friday

4A step show at 8 p.m. Friday at the Natchez City Auditorium.

4An oratory contest at the Natchez Grand Hotel at noon Saturday.

4The Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Natchez City Auditorium. The winner of the pageant will go on to represent Mississippi in a regional competition.

In addition to forming bonds of brotherhood, Thigpen said the fraternity is involved in social work, helping such organizations as March of Dimes and Habitat for Humanity in addition to having its own initiatives to help the disenfranchised, bolster education and teach young men responsibility.

Alpha Phi Alpha has been interracial since 1949.