Behind King Memorial, One Fraternity's Long Battle

This is a pretty big deal on so many levels.  I know there are people who believe that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is not worthy to be on the National Mall.  I am glad that the Alphas had a vision, wrote it down and went about making that vision a reality.  I plan to visit next year with my family.  Until then, I will be watching every bit of coverage through out the week.

The thousands of visitors at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington this week will reflect on the controversial likeness of the man, his legacy and the significance of the first nonpresident — and first African-American — immortalized on the National Mall.

But most of them probably won't know who built it.

They will find little about the pivotal role played by the African-American fraternity to which King belonged, Alpha Phi Alpha. The organization is more than a century old but largely unknown to nonblacks, and had no experience with a project of this magnitude.

"This is far-fetched," says Alpha Phi Alpha president Herman "Skip" Mason Jr. "I mean, come on."

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