Alphas keep on marching after 29 years


Molly Dotson

Tyshawn Love, a sophomore majoring in communication studies, sings during the march from Thomas Hall Monday. The Alpha Phi Apha Fraternity held this march and vigil that followed to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

T'Nerra Butler, Multicultural Editor

Quiet hymns filled the campus as around 70 campus community members marched to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

With lit candles placed inside cups to fight the bitter cold, those members marched from Thomas Hall to the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. Lyrics to the song “Let My People Go,” and “We Shall Overcome,” were heard while they made their way to their destination.

The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity held Monday evening’s candlelit march. This event brought out members from other Greek organizations such as Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and others.

Tom Yimes, senior general studies major and a part of Phi Kappa Theta, said the fraternity comes to the vigil every year to show that they care.

He said they like to preach Greek unity and by supporting other Greeks, they are practicing what they preach.

“We’ve done multiple events with them in the past, and it shows we care,” Yimes said. “We love the (National Pan-Hellenic Chapter).”

Yimes said almost the entire chapter of their fraternity showed up to support.

Mike Embry, an Alpha Phi Alpha alumnus said it is good to see those who came.

He said it is important for people to understand the contributions and sacrifices made by King.

“It’s important to look at those things so that we can be where we are now a humanity, not just as black people, but as Americans,” Embry said.

Embry said King’s legacy is now and will forever live on.

“We are not that far removed in years as our parents and grandparents having to endure the things that happened back in the 50s and 60s and before that,” Embry said. “We have constant reminders of things that shaped who we are.”

Perry Benson from the department of communication at the University of Illinois was the keynote speaker for the evening after the march. He spoke about the call to action movement “Black Lives Matter.”

“Black lives do matter,” Benson said. “They have always mattered and will always matter.”

The program also integrated praise dancing from members of Apostolic Christians in Today’s Society Anointed Worshipers.

The dancers glided expressively onstage dressed in black flowing floor length dresses that held golden crosses at the center.

Awards were given out to two people who were either an influential student or faculty member.

Maya Pitts, a senior family and consumer science major was awarded the Annie C. Singleton award and thanked the fraternity for honoring her.

Tina Leonard, a financial aid counselor, won the Alpha Image Award.

Contestants of this year’s Miss Black and Gold Pageant recited King’s “I have a Dream” speech.

The inspiration for the march came from the marches from Selma to Montgomery held in 1965.

Darien Ghostone said this 29th annual vigil helps to continue the legacy of King.

He said doing community service and providing a sense of unity is important for campus and the Charleston community.

Ghostone said seeing other organizations around campus shows that the university is unified.
“It’s always special for people around the Eastern campus and Charleston area to come together to build a better place and a better world that we’re all still searching for,” Ghostone said.

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha agreed the march is done every year as a way to recognize the value of what King accomplished.

“What better way to honor him than to pay those same respects to him, as he has done for us,” Ghostone said.


T’Nerra Butler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]