Two thousand five is a special
year for the DC Chapter of the Morehouse College Alumni Association. In 2005 we
celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the founding of our Chapter.
On June 8, 1955, the Reverend
Jerry A. Moore, Jr., wrote to the Morehouse Men who were living in the
Washington, DC, area, and urged them to join him in organizing a chapter of the
Morehouse College Alumni Association. The organizing meeting was held on
September 26, 1955, and Dr. Moore was elected President. Dr. Moore continues to
serve the Chapter, and each year hosts the January monthly meeting in his home.
The January meeting is always the most popular and best-attended meeting of the
In 1955 Washington, DC, was
segregated and much of the surrounding Maryland and Virginia areas, essentially
rural, were not the population centers they are today. The Chapter undertook a
program of events that provided its members -- and much of the African American
community -- religious, educational, cultural and social outlets. Early in the
history of the Chapter, for example, the members discussed and decided to hold
a Morehouse Recognition Sunday. The first service was held on February 10,
1963, at the Third Baptist Church in Washington, DC. The late Henry C. Miles, a
Morehouse Man, held the first service at the Third Baptist Church where he was
pastor. Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, then in his 23rd year as President of Morehouse
College, preached. The first service was organized around Founders' Day
observances at Morehouse College. Over the years, however, the name of the
service and the date were changed - perhaps at a time of revival following
several years when no service was observed.
The thought -- the idea behind
this service was that Morehouse Men at least on an annual basis and in a
collective way should celebrate the spiritual side of life, which is at the
epicenter of the Morehouse experience. In addition, new relationships with the
faith community would be developed and strengthened and the scholarship fund
would be enlarged.
It is not clear whether the idea
for the worship service originated with the Chapter or with Dr. Mays. Several
older members, and Men who were students at Morehouse during the late 1950s,
remember Dr. Mays urging Morehouse Men who were pastors of churches in major
cities to hold a "Morehouse Sunday" as a way to raise money for the
College. Nevertheless, only the Washington, DC, Chapter holds a Morehouse
In March 2005 the DC Alumni
Association sponsored the Morehouse College Glee Club Concert at the Shiloh
Baptist. This was the 35th consecutive year the Chapter has sponsored the
spring concert in Washington, DC. This concert also marked our first year of
partnership with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Council of Shiloh
Baptist Church in sponsoring the concert.
Another activity for the Chapter
is recruitment. The Chapter is heavily involved in recruiting high school
students for Morehouse College. Each year members attend and recruit at more
than 25 college fairs, visit potential students and parents in their homes and
write recommendations for promising students. We estimate that we talk to over
300 potential students each year. In 2005, for example, more than 100 students
from the tri-state area (the great majority from the DC area) were admitted to
The Midnight Train to Georgia is
part of our recruiting activities. For the last 29 years the DC Chapter has
sponsored, a three-day four-night AMTRAK excursion to the Morehouse College
Homecoming. That is, each year we sponsor a group to Homecoming, including
potential students and their parents. In some years, our group occupied an
entire AMTRAK car but for the past several years we have stabilized at 25-35
"mid-nighters" with a high representation of potential students.
Students participate on a subsidized basis. In the fall of 2005 we board for
the 35th consecutive year.
The Chapter also sponsors an
endowed scholarship fund at Morehouse College, which is named after the late
Caesar G. Hill, one of the Chapter's most respected members. Morehouse juniors
and seniors from the DC area are eligible to participate in the fund which is
managed and administered by Morehouse College. Between 2001 and 2003 some 14
students received approximately $28,000 from the scholarship fund. All Chapter
fund raising activities help to finance the scholarship fund. Our goal is
to endow the fund for at least $One million.
The Chapter also assists students
from this area on an ad hoc basis. One year, for example, by "passing the
hat" we were able to pay over $4000 to Morehouse College to meet the
outstanding financial obligations of a graduating senior from this area (whose
mother - his only support ? had been incapacitated by a stroke). In addition,
our sponsorship of a second student from the area, now a junior at Morehouse,
enabled him to meet the $5300 expenses and to participate in the National
Society of Collegiate Scholars 2004 International Mission on Engineering in
China. He and 79 other engineering students from around the country spent 17
days during the summer of 2004 in China to deepen their understanding of the
great achievements and enormous challenges of engineering professionals through
institution visits, speeches by distinguished speakers, hands-on seminars and
face-to-face interactions with established professionals.
Finally, the Chapter joins the
Baltimore Chapter each year in sponsoring a summer outing to which returning
students and their parents and entering students and their parents are invited.
At this send-off, new students and their parents get to interact informally
with Morehouse students and alumni. They learn what to expect during the early
days at Morehouse. They also receive advice on how they may approach this new
experience and how to handle some of the more complex issues.
Like all Morehouse Alumni Association
Chapters, the DC Chapter is strictly a volunteer organization. We look forward
to serving Morehouse College in DC another 50 years and to providing
opportunity. Our snail-mail address is: DC Morehouse College Alumni
Chapter Post Office Box 44506 Ft. Washington, MD 20749