Complex Civil Rights Organizations: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, An Exemplar
29 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2014 Last revised: 12 Dec 2014
Date Written: January 21, 2014
The traditional conception of an African American civil rights organization is one in which the primary focus of the organization is racial justice. The NAACP, National Urban League, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference fit this long and traditional mold. However, there are African American organizations that have what organizational behavior scholars would call “complex identities.” Such organizations have multiple constituent parts or identities. One type of organization that fits this mold, especially in the context of African American’s quest for racial justice and equality in the United States, are African American collegiate-based fraternities and sororities. Given the cultural-political, institutional, and organizational factors that gave rise to these organizations, it can be said that their identities are comprised of (1) intellectualism/academic achievement; (2) the development and sustaining of fictive kinship ties; (3) race consciousness; and (4) an abiding and life-long organizational commitment. Despite African American fraternities and sororities’ collective history of racial uplift activism via the American Council on Human Rights and their individual efforts, challenges that they face in each of their four identity domains likely undermine what could be their more meaningful and robust efforts in this regard.
Keywords: Race, Civil Rights, History, Organizational Behavior
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