Why Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Honors Dr. Martin Luther King with its annual MLK march

January 26, 2023

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. hosted its annual MLK March on Jan. 16. The event started at Grinnell Hall and went through downtown Carbondale. Students, Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), and other fraternities and sororities came out to participate.

Nigel Singleton, the president of Alpha Phi Alpha said the group honors MLK with its annual march because King was a part of their fraternity, and he had a big impact on bringing the Black community together.

Jakari Patterson, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, said he does the march because it gives a face to the community and brings awareness to the issues that Black Americans are still struggling with today.  


“From the time it’s been since when he spoke, of course, it’s gotten better throughout the years, but there’s still work needs to be done. […] it’s an improvement but it’s not where our accomplished goal is,” Patterson said.

He said when it comes to MLK’s legacy, for him, it has evolved throughout the years.

“To me, it’s really grown because the of more knowledge I’ve gained since being in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. He’s done a lot and it’s a lot of effort being put into changing the community and what he tried to do,” Patterson said. “He tried to change the country. So the stance that he stood for is the same principles we stand for as some being a brother of one of us. So it means everything to me.”

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha lead the march holding up a flag that said “Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.” while participants walked behind them. Throughout the march, drivers honked their car horns in support. 

Femi Terebo, another member of Alpha Phi Alpha, said having the march shows the community how much change has happened since MLK was alive.

“It shows improvement from time to time but it also serves as a reminder not everything’s perfect yet. So there’s still work to do,” Terebo said “We made progress. He was doing. Now it is, like, we made progress, but we do, we still have to work on.”

MLK’s legacy is more than just a march, he was trying to help give the Black community a chance to get the rights they deserve, Terebo said.


“You gotta think about it, […] we just finished marching and we didn’t have no type of resistance from people in the area, from no police. {MLK[ He had all of that and then some, so I started thinking about it was way more than just a march when he was doing it, so when we march it is way more than just marching,” he said.

Once people made their way back to Grinnell, Singleton thanked attendees for coming out and talked about how the march inspires people to bring awareness about issues the Black community is dealing with.

Alpha Phi Alpha then opened up the floor for people to say a few words about the event. Groups such as Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Black Affairs Council (BAC), and other organizations said they were glad people came out to show their support for MLK and the men of Alpha Phi Alpha.

“MLK’s legacy means to me, it means everything, that’s the guy that fought for us. We wouldn’t be where we are today without MLK. So I’ll be forever grateful to him,” Singleton said.

Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @janiyah_reports. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois News follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.


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