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Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 27

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Program focuses on black women

By Kimberly D. Jones
Daily Cougar Staff 

Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity members proved chivalry is not dead Monday night when they greeted every woman with a yellow rose and escorted her to her seat before their "A Tribute to the Black Woman" presentation.

The program, held in the World Affairs Lounge of the University Center Underground, focused on the past and present struggles of black women in the home, workplace and society.

"We want to express our love and appreciation for the black woman, and we hope this program will send black women away with a new positive attitude about themselves," said Alpha Phi Alpha member and senior industrial engineering major Charles Epps.

"Tonight we pay tribute to all your hard work with no pay, for allowing us to cry on your shoulders and never telling a soul, and for the many times you have stood beside us when everyone else sat down," said Donovan Wheatfall, the night's featured speaker.

Wheatfall, a Texas A&M graduate and Dallas consulting partner of Computer Innovative Services, said before they can find successful relationships, black women must have a change of attitude. They must focus inward on themselves and God and strive to fulfill their goals while never lowering their standards, he said.

"In the meantime, while you are waiting for Prince Charming to sweep you off your feet ... start constructing a personality and an attitude that is dynamic and responsive to the changing social conditions," Wheatfall said.


Max Lacayo/The Daily Cougar


Donovan Wheatfall, a Texas A&M graduate and Dallas consulting partner of Computer Innovative Services, speaks during Alpha Phi Alpha's "Tribute to the Black Woman" on Monday night.

The program also included a vocal performance, "Speak to Me," by senior media production major Jacob Richardson. The song emphasized the importance of not having sex before marriage.

The Alphas closed with a slide show, "Houston's Finest," which included photos of black women and girls from around Houston and the UH campus.

Epps said the Alphas at the University of Texas, where he used to attend school, hold a similar event each year. When he transferred to UH, Epps said he felt it was a good idea to bring the event with him.

He said he wishes more black men would get involved, stressing that the event is not limited to members of the fraternity.

Students in the audience said they enjoyed the presentation.

"It was really good to hear a man's insight," said sophomore biology major Tanzania Tompkins.

Biology sophomore Monica James agreed. "This was my first time hearing the speaker, and he was inspirational," she said. "He gave us hope that there are still a few good men left."

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