Like the history of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. the chartering of the Pearland-Manvel-Fresno (TX) Alumni chapter was forged out of an ardent determination of black men who wanted to use their collective resources to address economic challenges, social hurdles, and an increasing community apathy regarding young black males’ achievement. These social and economic issues is why on May 18, 2018 two fraternity members, Dr. Marlon A. Smith, Ph.D., Spring 1991 Iota Upsilon Chapter initiate and Dr. Antonio Johnson, Spring 2007 Missouri City-Sugar Land Alumni Chapter initiate, through deep introspective conversations began to contemplate the development of a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Alumni chapter that would expand on the vision of Kappa’s ten illustrious founders.
Brothers Smith and Johnson soon realized that they were not alone in their concerns about the impact that Black male organizations in general and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in particular was having on the lives of young males of color, and the leadership opportunities available to them, particularly in the Houston suburbs of Pearland, Manvel, and Fresno. Therefore, on June 30, 2018 the two men organized their first strategy meeting. That initial meeting was designed to not only gauge the interest of other brothers in the area, but also to map out a plan that would entreat like-minded brothers in the region to support the chartering of a Pearland-Manvel-Fresno Alumni chapter. Brothers in attendance at the initial meeting included Brothers John Darensbourg, Kevin Day, Lin Dennis, Chris McKinney, and Kosala Kariem.
The brothers in attendance wanted a charter that would strategically focus on issues that impacted males of color locally, statewide, and nationally. Moreover, there was a strong desire amongst those in attendance that the chapter would help develop among its members executive level leadership skills that would be useful to both the chapter and in the lives of individual members. The desire to solidify these purposes for the organizing body and the eventual charter is what prompted Brother Smith to write the charter’s motto—“Building a Brotherhood of Men for Family, Community, and Business”. He would later write the charter’s mission statement shortly after the first annual charter leadership retreat held in May 2019 at the Courtyard Marriot Pearland Town Center.
Even though the initial meeting was very successful, the chartering process was not without its challenges and its oppositions. For instance, some fraternity members voiced their concerns with chartering another chapter in the region. In addition, it was difficult to organize a mass of brothers in the region to the cause. These difficulties were first witnessed when Brothers Johnson and Smith attempted to recall the initial group again to Bombshells for a follow up meeting on Saturday August 4, 2018. Work schedules, waning interest, and the busyness of daily life became looming factors for some brothers.
Brothers Smith and Johnson eventually organized a charter information meeting at Tom Reid Library on Saturday August 25, 2018 to entreat area brothers to join the charter. Over twenty brothers in the Pearland, Manvel, Fresno region attended the meeting. Eventually four priorities were immediately adopted and acted upon to make sure the chartering process moved along.
For a brief moment, it was looking as if the charter was not going to get its committed twenty financial brothers. By August 30, 2018 only fourteen brothers had formally committed to move forward. Along with Brothers Johnson and Smith, those twelve brothers included Brothers Chris Buford, Edgartt Melton, John Darensbourg, Linster Dennis, Johnny King III, Deon Minor, Rodney Reddix, Lewis Holley, Illya Hicks, Nicholas Fofanah, Michael Wilson, and Andrew Jackson. Brothers Buford and Jackson would eventually become the first Keeper of Exchequer and Chair for the Board of Directors respectively.
Brother Johnson immediately called for an emergency strategy meeting on Saturday September 1, 2018 to better determine how to encourage more brothers to financially commit to the PMF Charter. During the meeting brothers Dennis, Melton, Minor, and Michael Wilson took up the charge to recruit additional brothers in the region. The team of brothers eventually became known as the “press crew” since they were pressing brothers in the region to join the charter within a limited amount of time. With the work of the “press crew” and growing word-of-mouth about the charter the number eventually grew to double the number of brothers that they hoped to recruit to the charter.
Brothers quickly organized themselves and constituted the Pearland–Manvel–Fresno Area Kappas to serve as the holding organization until a formal charter was granted. Brother Smith was made the president of the organization and brother Johnson the vice president. Brother Marcolin Eakins was voted in as Secretary. Brother Chris Buford, Treasurer, Brother Deon Minor, Parliamentarian, and Brother Andrew Jackson, Board Chair for the Board of Director. All those brothers would eventually transition into their respective fraternity chapter positions at the chartering of the chapter on February 22, 2020 with the exception of Brothers Smith and Johnson. Brother Johnson would become the charter’s first Polemarch after Brother Smith had to resign from his role as President when it became clear that a new job opportunity may cause him to have to move from Texas. Brother Morson would take on Brother Johnson’s role, becoming the chapter’s first Vice Polemarch.
Between the organizing of the Pearland-Manvel-Fresno Area Kappas and the chartering of the Pearland-Manvel-Fresno (TX) Alumni Chapter brothers engaged in numerous meaningful activities in line with the charter’s mission to be a purpose driven and solutions–based chapter. In keeping with the charter’s mission to help develop among its members executive level leadership skills that would be useful to both the chapter and in the lives of individual members, the brothers also hosted their first annual Charter Leadership Retreat at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in the Pearland Town Center. However, brothers never forgot to keep the spirit of Fraternity in the forefront of their minds.
On January 4, 2020, at the National Founders Day celebration in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Grand Board of Directors voted to charter the Pearland-Manvel-Fresno (TX) Alumni Chapter. However, like the founding of the Fraternity, it is not to be forgotten, that the desire for a chapter in the Pearland, Manvel Fresno region started from a conversation between two brothers nearly two years prior but became a reality on February 22, 2020 because 38 additional brothers of achievement came together for a common purpose and a common destination. And while the cause of ACHIEVEMENT is clear, the destination continues for the Pearland-Manvel-Fresno (TX) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Marlon A. Smith, Ph.D.
Pearland-Manvel-Fresno Alumni (TX) Chapter Charter Member