80 years after the creation of the life membership crusade in Alpha Phi Alpha and 23 years after I was initiated into the Theta Rho Chapter... I followed in the foot steps of Brother Oliver Wilson Winters, DDS and I have become Life Member 13577.
"Our Historian, Dr. Charles H. Wesley, notes that "At the 19th Convention (1926) the Fraternity endeavored to create an endowment fund by approving the idea of endowment policies on the lives of the Founders and Brothers. The details were to be worked out by a commission." Brother Winters credits this plan to the "fertile imagination of Brother Joseph Woods." But, a familiar story unfolded and amid the goings-on brother Wesley noted "These details were not put into complete operation." Fortunately for Alpha Phi Alpha O. Wilson Winters was a leader rather than a follower. Dr. Wesley continues, "In spite of this fact, Brother Winters took out a policy, continued payment of the annual premiums, and after ten years the policy was paid by check to the fraternity." Why would one one man continue to pursue a course of action which for ten years seemed to arouse little or no enthusiasm among his peers? Dr. Wesley states, "This action was a distinct indication of the deep affection which Brother Winters maintained for the Fraternity and a tangible expression of his faith and desire to see it placed upon more permanent foundations." And in 1937 at the New Orleans Convention, Brother Winters' faith was recognized and he was declared Life Member No. 1.
Unknown Author (1976, April). FOCUS:Life member Number One. The SPHINX, 62(2), pp. 13-17.
I'm more than my title will ever be.