“A Voteless People is a Hopeless People” was initiated as a National Program of Alpha during the 1930′s when many African-Americans had the right to vote but were prevented from voting because of poll taxes, threats of reprisal, and lack of education about the voting process. Voter education and registration has remained a dominant focus of this outreach activity for over 65 years. In the 1990′s, the focus shifted to include political awareness and empowerment, delivered prominently through town meetings and candidate forums.
The origin of Voteless People is a Hopeless People program reach back to 1932, when the Education for Citizenship program was created. It consisted of a board of seven Brothers with its chairman serving as the Director of Education. The Education for Citizenship movement emphasized: vocational needs and job placement; establishment and support of race businesses and enterprises; improvement of health conditions; promotion of wealth conservation; the combating of the doctrine of racial inferiority and the support of all efforts vital to the improvement of black welfare.
Throughout the 1930s, chapters were conducting programs which were designed to translate the ideals of the Fraternity into action. There were mass meetings, radio talks, plays and pageants, displays of placards, and the tagging of individuals. The tags bore the slogan, “A Voteless People Is A Hopeless People.” In the 1940s and 1950s, Brothers worked vigorously in voting campaigns and for the abolishment of the poll tax. Today, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s voter registration efforts throughout the years have increased the voting strength of African-Americans. Because of the continued political attacks on African-Americans, we have continued our aggressive efforts in getting our voter campaigns into our communities.