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Local Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Chapter Hosts Virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition

Summerville, South Carolina, February 9, 2021— Eleven local middle school students representing schools in Berkeley County, Charleston County Dorchester 2 & 4 school districts will participate in the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition on Monday, February 15, 2021, at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Xi Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the event will broadcast live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SummervilleAlphas


Themed “We Shall Overcome,” the event will celebrate Black History Month and one of the most prolific civil rights figures and most noted members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


“This competition affords the opportunity for students to express themselves beyond the traditional method of schooling, giving voice to their perspective and analysis of current-day societal matters,” said George Johnson, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition committee. “This is also how Xi Phi Lambda is promoting a much needed, safe and socially-interactive environment amongst children,” he added.


Nearly 60 middle school students from the Tri-County area school districts submitted essays and 11 finalists have been to present their speeches to a panel of judges. Cash awards will be given for first, second and third place.


Competition orators are Kymani Gavin, Harleyville-Ridgeville Middle School; Hope Gillis, Rollings Middle School of the Arts; Larry Goldsmith, Hanahan Middle School; Nia James, Rollings Middle School of the Arts; Adalee Johnson, DuBose Middle School; ReZsaun Lewis Jr., DuBose Middle School; Laura Oakes, Rollings Middle School of the Arts; Meghan Wells, Charleston County School of the Arts; Mary Whitehead, Rollings Middle School of the Arts; Bella Williams, Charleston County School of the Arts; and Tyler Williams, Gregg Middle School.


The competition will be moderated by Z93 Weekend Diva, Kris Kaylin. Competition judges include Randall “Keith” Benjamin II, Director at the Department of Traffic and Transportation for the City of Charleston; Nashonda Hunter, Executive Director at The Charity Foundation; John Marchiel Givens Mitchell, Senior Strategic Communications Coordinator for the City of Charleston; Roberto Stewart, Student at Charleston Southern University; and Sierra S. Williams, IT Project Manager at NIWC Atlantic. Representative Marvin Pendarvis will bring words of encouragement to the finalists.


Founded on December 4, 1906, at Cornell University, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world. The Fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially. Famous fraternity members who have been in the forefront of civil rights include W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, and Paul Robeson.


Today Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is comprised of 686 active chapters located in the United States, Germany, Bermuda, Korea, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Canada.


About Xi Phi Lambda


In the Fall of 1983, several alumni brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. living in Summerville and Moncks Corner, S.C., were concerned about the academic performance of African American males in the school systems of both Berkeley and Dorchester counties. Additionally, the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha desired to see an increase in the level of community service which Black Greek-lettered organizations are uniquely suited to provide. On January 18, 1984, The Xi Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was chartered in Summerville, SC. Charter members included the following: Brothers Roscoe C. Bacote, Bro. Julius Barnes, Bro. William L. Baylor, II, Bro. Daniel Bland, Bro. Alfonzo Greene, Bro. Timothy Greene and Bro. Bernett W. Mazyck; who also served as the chapter’s first President. The first meetings were held at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Summerville, SC. Shortly thereafter, meetings were held at the homes of Bro. Bernett Mazyck, Bro. Timothy Green, Bro. William Baylor, as well as the Cuthbert Community Center, and now the Farmers and Merchant Bank on the 1st Saturday of each month.


During its formative years, the brothers of Xi Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. established mentorship programs in the area high schools, scholarship programs for students graduating from Berkeley and Dorchester counties who were accepted into colleges and universities in South Carolina and beyond, as well as well as community service projects focusing on the elderly. The brothers of Xi Phi Lambda brought to Berkeley and Dorchester counties such national programs of the fraternity as A Voteless People is a Hopeless People, Project Alpha and Go to High School Go to College. With the presence of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. solidly established in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, the youth of the area had solid role models and examples of successful, professional college-educated African American men in which to emulate. Additionally, the brothers of Xi Phi Lambda Chapter quickly assumed the role of advisor to the undergraduate chapter (Mu Pi Chapter) of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. located at Charleston Southern University. This partnership ensured that the undergraduate brothers had the benefit of the wisdom and guidance of professional Alphas, which set a standard of success for the younger brothers.


Over the last 38 years, the chapter’s membership has increased, and its presence has contributed greatly to the local community of Summerville and the surrounding areas. Xi Phi Lambda proudly takes part in Project Alpha; A Voteless People, Is A Hopeless People Voters’ Registration effort; the Brother’s Keeper Program; Go to High School, Go to College Program; the March of Dimes – March for Babies Campaign and the Annual Salvation Army Holiday Bell Ringing. Currently, the Chapter has a membership of close to 40 active members from a variety of fields including but not limited to: Education, Business, Legal and Law Enforcement, Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and the Armed Forces.

For more information on Xi Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, please visit www.summervillealphas.com

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