Bench dedicated in honor of Alpha Phi Alpha

By Brianna Brents

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The Epsilon Chi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. dedicated a memorial bench on the Student Center yard this Saturday.

The memorial is a symbolic pyramid honoring the men that started the fraternity, as well as the first members at UK.

It represents manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind.

The history behind Alpha Phi Alpha and African-American students at UK began with the determination of Lyman T. Johnson, Ellis Bullock and Bradley Watkins.

Lyman T. Johnson played an important role in educating and serving as a role model for racial desegregation at UK.

According to Lyman M. Johnson, his father won the lawsuit against UK, titled Johnson v. Board of Trustees, to become the first African American student at UK.

He entered the school as a graduate student and became an alumni member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

His historical marker is located in front of Frazee Hall and has been there since 1999.

Lyman M. Johnson was honored to dedicate the plot on campus to remember the hard work of his father.

“I’m happy to be here because Ellis Bullock wasn’t able to make it, and after 47 years, to see the fruits of what my father and the founders have started makes me feel blessed,” Johnson said.

This is the first Alpha Phi Alpha memorial on campus.

Borran Pea, a kinesiology/exercise science senior, stressed that the purpose of the dedication was to open people’s eyes to the fact that young African-American men can be just as equal as other men.

“It’s an extreme privilege to be here for this historic moment. A monument is being dedicated and as a 1965 alumni member, this is a blessing,” Willis Bright said. “It’s heartwarming to see the support from the University of Kentucky and the Alpha brothers that have made this possible.”

Epsilon Chi is the 330th house of Alpha Phi Alpha, founded at UK in 1965 by Ellis Bullock and Bradley Watkins.

“The purpose of Alpha Phi Alpha is to develop leaders, promote brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for communities,” kinesiology senior Matthew McClendon said. .

The dedication closed with the men surrounding the plot and singing in unison.

“This is amazing. We’ve come so far, and I can trust and depend on my brothers, and the brotherhood and history is important to me,” Pea said. “This homecoming weekend has been remarkable and one for the books.”