American college students. Due to the prejudices of the time, seven visionary founders known as the 'Jewels'.
The Jewel founders and early leaders of the Fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha's principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.
The Fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice educationally and socially at Cornell.
While continuing to stress academic excellence among its members, Alpha also recognized the need to help correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African-Americans.
The Fraternities many national programs date back as far as 1919 when Alpha introduced it's "Go to High school, Go to College" campaigned to increase the education level of the African American Community and "A Voteless People is a Hopeless People", an effort to register African American voters.