Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will no longer be hosting their 99th General Convention and 119th Anniversary Convention in Florida, “calling the state ‘hostile’ to the Black community” in a press statement. The 2025 conference “was expected to generate $4.6 million” for the Central Florida region.
The oldest Black intercollegiate fraternity’s alumni include the likes of civil rights legend Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the first Black man to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall.
They said their decision was due to “Governor Ron DeSantis’ harmful, racist, and insensitive policies against Black communities.”
This announcement occurred after and the state released their new African American history standards, which included the egregious and oft-decried practice of “teaching that slavery was beneficial to some of the enslaved.”
After the new standards were issued, Kamala Harris, the first Black and female Vice-President, condemned DeSantis and the state, decrying “They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us and we will not stand for it,” continuing “ There is a national agenda. Extremist so-called leaders…want to replace history with lies.”
DeSantis doubled down on his position, defending the Florida board of education’s decision, stating Black people “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” elaborating at a press event that this will “probably…show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,” insisting that the standards are “rooted in whatever was factual.”
Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis even banned AP African American History. In addition to his already “controversial stance on slavery, DeSantis has signed laws gerrymandering Black voting districts and making it harder for minorities to cast ballots.”
General President Dr. Willis L. Lonzer, III said, “Although we are moving our convention from Florida, Alpha Phi Alpha will continue to support the strong advocacy of Alpha Brothers and other advocates fighting against the continued assault on our communities in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis.”
Fraternity leadership said they would be, “dedicating its five-day convention in Texas to highlighting ‘the continued fight needed for social justice on behalf of African Americans and other marginalized communities.’”
The Alphas aren’t the only group pulling their events out of the state. Just last month the National Society of Black Engineers announced they too were relocating their 2024 conference, which was supposed to convene in “Orlando in opposition to DeSantis’ extremist positions on ‘race, sexual orientation, gender and guns.’”
Earlier this year, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) “issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida,” which stated “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”