Delphian Vol. XXX, No. 15 — Wednesday, February 20, 1980
“Racial Injustice in Oracle”
It is with grave disgust in which I write this letter. Each year that I have been here, the Oracle has come out and each year I search for some remnant of the “Black Experience” at Adelphi; this can be broadened, no doubt, to include Hispanics and other Third World People.
This year, with exception, it appears as if more candid shots are present; and an earnest effort went into showing some of the major activities which would be of particular interest to Blacks in these pages so luxuriously bound. However, the Oracle staff, in their moments of creativity, disregarded the feelings of the members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Theta Epsilon Chapter, when they listed amongst its members Stymie Beard and Buckwheat Thomas. I would only hope that no negative connotations were intended in listing, among Beard and Thomas activities, Alpha Phi Alpha.
What brings us to this frontier? One in which we must ask the Oracle staff, WHY? Why, with a tradition of poor coverage of Blacks in the Oracle, discredit a Black Fraternity which has consistently proven itself a respectable institution on an international level? A fraternity whose members include: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Paul Robeson, Andrew Young, Jesse Owens and Thurgood Marshall? Why, with the pervasive need for the media, in all its art forms, to help rectify the ills they have created by constantly portraying poor images of Black people? Has not the Oracle staff, in printing the student yearbook, a responsibility towards printing a publication in which, not only its staff members can be proud, but one in which each and every student who has passed through these halls can be proud?
To what end are we, as Black people, to be bombarded with the improper recording of history? For the Oracle, however short it may fall of being a historical document in anyone’s eyes, is surely such (a historical document). Will my children, when looking through the materials I have kept of my college days, ask: “Daddy, you were president of an organization which allowed its members to walk around like that? What type of Fraternity was it? Didn’t you care about each other? Didn’t you tell them of the greatness of our people?” And what will be my reply? Will I tell them the University I attended was a classic case of institutional racism? Or shall I say that in the efforts of art, jestingly, the Oracle staff abandoned all of its responsibility to record history? What road must be traveled to erase the ever present stereotypical attitudes-images of Black Americans in the eyes of the world, and perhaps the eyes of the Oracle staff?
I applaud and humble myself with great ease in thanking the staff for documenting, through pictures and copy, the existence of Blacks at Adelphi. But, I am OUTRAGED at the decision of the staff to not only publish both pictures of Beard and Thomas but, in addition to this, to list their participation in an organization such as Alpha.
Who’s to say the damage this has done? Who will console the men, all united by a common bond of Brotherhood, of Alpha Phi Alpha?
President, A-A Theta Epsilon
Former UBC President
Former SPA Treasurer