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Erschienen in: Journal of African American Studies 1/2022

25.10.2021 | EDITORIAL

Honorary Membership in the Life of Black Greekdom

verfasst von: Judson L. Jeffries

Erschienen in: Journal of African American Studies | Ausgabe 1/2022

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Historically, honorary membership in Black Greek-Letter fraternities and sororities has been reserved for those men and women who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavor, as well as exemplified the organization’s ideals, values, and principles in both their personal and professional lives. Successful candidates have not been required to be college graduates or to have even attended college, for that matter. Traditionally, honorary membership has not been granted often or haphazardly, nor should it be. Relatively few individuals will ever have such a distinction bestowed on them during their lifetimes. Recently—meaning in the last 15 years or so, I have noticed that honorary membership has come under fire in both print and online media. Then again, perhaps honorary membership has always been a subject of debate, unbeknownst to me. Be that as it may, recent conversations with friends, associates, and colleagues about honorary membership all feature the same issues—worthiness and transparency of process—prompting this writer to give the matter some thought and put pen to paper. Having said that, what exactly are the goals and objectives of honorary membership? What purpose does honorary membership serve? Is the objective to select men and women, who due to their fame, will bring a certain level of notoriety to an organization that is already known the world over? Is honorary membership reserved only for the rich and famous? Is the objective to ingratiate oneself with men and women of means for fundraising purposes? Is the purpose to select men and women whose political clout will position the organization to make inroads into previously impregnable quarters of varying industries? Is it about ushering in a certain number of celebrities for the purposes of bragging rights vis-a-vis the other historically Black fraternities and sororities? Is the intention to genuinely acknowledge those men and women who best exemplify the organization’s values and mores, meaning who have demonstrated in their works and deeds the organization’s character and constitution? Or is it to publicly recognize the achievements and personal sacrifices of those to whom the race owes a debt of gratitude? These nine questions merit our attention. …

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Fußnoten
1
Houston is the first African American born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and educated in the Cambridge public school system to earn a degree from Harvard College.
 
2
In 1974, Basie was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Monmouth College in New Jersey. In 1966, Hayes was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. As a younger man Hayes had studied at Fisk but was kicked out for varied reasons.
 
Metadaten
Titel
Honorary Membership in the Life of Black Greekdom
verfasst von
Judson L. Jeffries
Publikationsdatum
25.10.2021
Verlag
Springer US
Erschienen in
Journal of African American Studies / Ausgabe 1/2022
Print ISSN: 1559-1646
Elektronische ISSN: 1936-4741
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-021-09553-3