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Boule Celebrates 70 Years

Last Sunday, there were so many guests for a special dinner in Montgomery that it had to be held at the Banquet Room of the ASU Acadome.

The choice of location was intentional for the brotherhood of gentlemen who hosted the dinner, and it was timed as a milestone celebration of the 70th anniversary of Phi Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. With a nod to the past and a keynote speaker's look to the future, Judge Charles Price presided during the special gathering that began with a reception for family of friends.

Tuxedos And Medallions

Like all the Phi Boulé members in attendance, Price, the first African American to receive the John F. Kennedy Profiles In Courage Award, wore a tuxedo to highlight the significance of the special occasion.
His was accented with a gold medallion that featured an image of Henry Minton, one of the six founders of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Minton was among those remembered during the anniversary celebration as boulé member Herbert Watkins provided interesting historical tidbits about the organization for the gathered guests.

The national fraternity was founded in 1904 by six men in Philadelphia. Today there are more than 118 boulé chapters, but when the local Alabama chapter was established July 28, 1938, as the 21st chapter, it included 17 prominent Montgomery and Tuskegee professional men.
Boulé member and civil rights attorney Fred Gray Sr. was a young boy living on the west side of town when the chapter was established and personally knew some of the early members. As Gray referenced each Phi Boulé founder seven decades later, Kathy Dunn Jackson and her husband, Samuel Jackson, were among those in attendance as her late father, Charles Dunn, was one of those remembered. Samuel Munnerlyn, president of H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College, was there with his wife, Marielle, as a tribute to Phi Boulé founder H. Councill Trenholm Sr., the school's namesake.

As Gray reminisced with the audience, he said it was fitting to observe the occasion on the campus of Alabama State University, where Trenholm had served as president. It was also the site where Phi Boulé hosted the national fraternity's members for the 20th annual Grand Boulé in 1950, when Gray was a student on the campus.

With membership "by invitation, not application," Phi Boulé was established as a beacon of light for those who have advanced professionally and devoted their time to uplifting their community. Its evolution of membership included the initiation of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1956, and the addition of gentlemen from Selma to their "council of noblemen" in later years.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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