Upholding King's Legacy in a Nation Divided
(Baltimore, MD) – Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. recognizes the birthday of the great civil rights leader and humanitarian, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr., on this King National Holiday. The legacy of Dr. King places him at the forefront of patriots in American history as his life serves as an example of the possibilities of our democracy. Today, now more than ever, as our country is being threatened by internal forces that seek its demise, we must summon the spirit of Dr. King and reengage in the fight for equality in our nation.
On this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday, the 23rd International Grand Polaris of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Sean D. Housen, Sr. reflected on the life and service of Dr. King. International Grand Polaris Housen recalled, "There is a symmetry between the apex of Dr. King's role in the civil rights movement and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. The year 1963 is recalled as a pivotal period in the fight for Blacks' civil rights, as the year was marked by political assassinations and racist violence, and a remarkable march in our nation's capital. During that year 12 Black men, students on the campus of Morgan State College, founded Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. just days after the murder of 4 little Black girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Our founding represented the restlessness of a people unsatisfied with the status quo and seeking a better path forward."
Today, and every day, the men of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. are dedicated to community service and civic engagement. Iota's chapters throughout the nation actively participate in community impact projects designed to meet the needs of individuals and families in -more- communities our chapters represent. The fraternity promotes voter registration, works in partnership with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. on voter outreach, and calls upon Iota men to exercise their right to vote in every election.
International Grand Polaris Housen added, "Dr. King was a man of the people, a leader committed to community and citizenship. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc, shares those ideals and since our founding we have focused on citizenship and leadership as defining principles of our organization. Iotas around the country are playing leadership roles in community and civic organizations, and our organization encourages our Brothers to lead by example. As we honor Dr. King, we seek to show the nation the potential of true brotherhood and the benefits our society can gain if we judge all women and men by the content of their character, and not the color of their skin."
Today, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. also recognizes and acknowledges that Dr. King was a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and part of the civil rights legacy of the Divine 9. Like so many other leaders in our nation's history, Dr. King, as a graduate of Morehouse College, understood the value of historically Black colleges and Black Greek life. We know that his fellow Morehouse alumni and Alpha Phi Alpha Brothers are remembering Dr. King with extraordinary pride today.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. was founded on September 19, 1963, on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, just days after the murder of four Black girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama and just a month after the historic March on Washington. Established by a group of older students, the fraternity has a historic commitment to community service and civic engagement given its founding during the civil rights movement. Today, as a member organization of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. continues to advocate for voting rights and is calling upon Congress to protect the voting rights of Black Americans. The fraternity maintains its national headquarters in Baltimore. ### For further information contact Walter Fields, Director of Communications by clicking here.