This is Alpha Chapter

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This is Alpha Chapter #20 - 7/19/12

Bro. Isaac G. Bailey (Alpha 1914?) & His gift to Us


(taken from the 1916 Howard University Yearbook)

In the chronicle of Alpha Chapter, the name Isaac G. Bailey (Ike) does not stand out.  But Bro. Ike left us with a 96 year old invaluable gift.

As with all Bros in the first decade of the Fraternity, Bro. Ike’s record at Howard was stellar to say the least.  As you see from his yearbook picture, his list of accomplishments and leadership while at HU lived up to the standard that the Founders established only a few years earlier.  Bro. Ike entered Howard in the Fall of 1911 and was initiated into Omega in 1913 or 1914 (the records are a bit murky as to his actual year of initiation).  His studies at HU were interrupted by the death of his father in 1914 and one of his sisters shortly after that.  He spent a year working in Los Angeles to help his family financially before returning to Howard and graduating in 1916.

After graduation Bro. Ike worked at the Local Exemption Board (i.e., the Draft Board) and, based on superior performance, was promoted to Chief Clerk, the only African American appointed to that position in the country.  Unfortunately, Bro. Ike died suddenly in April 1918 at the young age of 28.


(from the October 1918 Crisis magazine)

The story doesn’t end there though.  Bro. Ike’s father was a prominent pastor and community leader in Arkansas and one of his sisters, Sue, married the great theologian, Howard Thurman.  When she passed in 1996, she left a large collection of her papers, her husband’s papers and her family’s papers including Bro. Ike, to the Woodruff Library at Emory University.  In performing research on Bro. Ike, an actual picture was discovered in this collection at Emory of the Brothers of Alpha Chapter, 1915-16.  To my knowledge, this is the oldest actual artifact in the Fraternity and has not been seen in decades (I checked it out last week).  The good folks in the archives department at Emory were kind enough to provide a scan of this rare photograph (see below).



16 of the 32 Brothers in the picture have been identified:  Bros. Lawrence Jackson (1st row, third picture from the right), Shadrach Bardwell (1st row, second picture from the right), Isaac Bailey (2nd row, first picture from the left), Mosby McAden (2nd row, third picture from the left),  Jesse Heslip (2nd row, first from the right), George Hall (3rd row, first picture from the right), Campbell Johnson (4th row, second picture from the left), Clarence Holmes (4th row, third picture from the left), Charles Thompson (4th row, third picture from the right), James Granady (4th row, second picture from the right), Henri Davis (5th row, first picture from the left), Benjamin Clayton (5th row, second picture from the left), John Love (5th row, third picture from the right), Walter Mazyck (6th row, first picture from the left), Linwood Koger (6th row, second picture from the right) and Irving Nutt (6th row, first picture from the right).  As an aside, there are four future Grand Basilei in this picture (Hall, Holmes, Love and Johnson).

Bro. Ike left us an invaluable artifact.  The question, which begs an answer, is what other treasures are out there buried in someone’s scrapbook, trunk, attic, box, file cabinet or bookcase?  During the Celebration in December, Kermit was kind enough to bring with him and share with the Bros the 13th Conclave Program Guide from1924 given to him by Bro. Cato Adams (Alpha 1917).  Cato didn’t “hide” it.  He entrusted that valuable document to Kermit and he shared it with the Bros.  Ro Quander did the same with the famous 1924 picture of the delegates of that Clave at the White House (you can purchase that picture from Bro. Quander if you like).  Why are you hiding the treasures you have?  If you’re worried about Bros stealing something then donate it to the Moreland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard (trust me, nothing will happen to it there).  At minimum, you need to make sure that your Omega documents, books, published materials, pictures, artifacts and paraphernalia is left with someone upon your departure to Omega Chapter (if you don’t entrust them to someone before that time).   A year or so ago, my Sands, AE, told me that he found the black-faced Pearls selling on Ebay for $400 (way back in the day, the facing of the Pearls weren’t purple but black).  Even now someone is selling on Ebay an old Dreer history book for $600.  These are artifacts left by a Bro who departed to Omega Chapter without designating them to another Bro.  Handle your business, Bros.  Share what you have and make sure you arrange for your Omega artifacts and memorabilia to go to another Bro or secured location like Moreland-Spingarn so we don’t see your gear selling on Ebay.

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