To be a fly on the wall: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Meets Malcolm X in Omega Chapter
by Pettis Perry
For those of us in The Michael F. Lange Foundation, as we think about and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are reminded of his accomplishments and his impact on global human rights. But, we also celebrate his life as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. We cannot separate this connection because our namesake, Michael F. Lange, and four of our founders as well as other Board members are also members of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha believe in education as a foundation for personal improvement and social activism. We believe in making a difference through positive social change, no matter where we find ourselves. Like Brother Martin Luther King, Jr., Brother Michael F. Lange exemplified these characteristics in everything he did throughout his life. He worked in the prisons to change the lives of young people by diverting them from the penal system. He worked in inner city junior and senior high schools to encourage students to enter college, linking many of them with traditionally Black colleges as places where they would be supported throughout their education. His counseling program became Project Alpha and is now a nationally recognized program of Alpha Phi Alpha. He worked with inner city children and families by providing camping experiences that changed their lives through what is called experiential learning. His social activism was seen and heard through his roles as Malcolm X in the play, The Meeting a play about a fictitious meeting between Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King in more than 1,000 showings. He touched the lives of many thousands of people through his songs, lyrics, and work as an educator at San Jose State University which meant so very much to him. He bridged the ocean with his work in Africa, worked with organizations in the United States to improve interpersonal relationships, and made a difference in the lives of everyone he met.
So, on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of celebration I will be thinking about the meeting of Martin and Malcolm in Omega Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. where all Alpha men meet once they pass on from this world. Oh, to be a fly on the wall: What conversations you must be having!
Thank you, Martin, and Michael for your many contributions through lives well-lived. You have both certainly had an impact on my life and those you touched by your presence. Our foundation is dedicated to following your examples to bring about social change, social justice, and peace.
To you Brother King, we honor you on your day by sharing your two-part story publicly with permission given by Watch the Yard.