7
TWO
EARLY (AND CONTINUING) SUPPORTERS
Rose Cohen
There is little record of a “Rose Cohen”
living in Ithaca, New York, at the time that Alpha
Phi Alpha was founded. The limited information
that is available suggests that Rose Cohen was born
about 1884 or 1885 and that she earned her B.E.
(1885) and M.E. (1887) from Bloomsburg State
Normal. She was a medical student at Cornell
University at the turn of the twentieth century. On
27 October 1906, a Mrs. Rose Cohen hosted the
First Annual Banquet for the Alpha Chapter. She
also hosted the Second Annual Banquet at her
residence—321 West Mill Street, Ithaca, New
York—on 26 October 1907.
Gregory Alexander Galvin
Gregory Alexander Galvin, also known as
G. Alx Galvin, was born in 1907 in Danville,
Virginia, to Reverend and Mrs. A. A. Galvin of
Newport News, Virginia. His sister, Elizabeth
Galvin, was a former industrial secretary at Phyllis
Wheatley YWCA who married Charles Benjamin
Hodge of Chicago, Illinois. When his sister
Elizabeth retired from her job in the Maryland state
government, she retired as the highest-level black
and female employee. Brother Galvin’s other sister,
Sue Johnson, taught elementary school in Franklin,
Virginia, for nearly fifty years.
Brother Galvin was an honors chemistry student at
Howard University, where he received his B.S. He
attended Meharry Medical College in Nashville,
Tennessee, where he received his M.D. in 1937 and
was inducted into Kappa Pi, an honorary medical
Society. He went on to become professor of
chemistry at Texas College in Tyler, Texas, then at
Virginia Seminarian College in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Brother Galvin interned for a year at Freedman’s
Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he met his
future wife, Corinne, a Richmond-native
schoolteacher. He lived in Nashville Town, Virginia,
in 1935. By 1939 or 1941, his address was located at
216 West State Street in Ithaca, New York. He
eventually moved to 401 West State Street where
his office was built into his home.
Brother Galvin was the first African
American physician in Ithaca, New York, where he
worked for forty-five years. He served as president
of the medical staff at the local hospital and
chairman of the hospital’s medical board. He was
also on staff at the Cornell Infirmary and Clinic,
medical consultant to the county Welfare
Department, member of the subcommittee on
general practice of the State Medical Society, and
owner of a private medical practice. Brother Galvin
was a member of the Ithaca School Board of
Education and the Tompkins County Board of
Health; in fact, he led the fight to desegregate
Tompkins County Hospital. He organized the
Tompkins County Chapter of the American
Academy of General Practice in 1948 and served as
its president for five years. Brother Galvin was
president of the New York State Academy of
General Practice and served as speaker of the
Congress of Delegates of the State Academy in
1952. He kept up with the medical advances
through graduate coursework at the University of
Buffalo, New York Post-Graduate Medical School,
and Mt. Sinai Hospital.
Records suggest that Gregory married Rosa
James—a native of Richmond, Virginia, and teacher
from Louisville, Kentucky—in the summer of 1926
or 1927. He later married Corinne (Brown) Galvin
on 29 January 1938 in Richmond, Virginia. They
were married for almost fifty years. Corinne was
president of American Association of University
Women and the League of Women Voters. She
helped found Southside Community Center in
Ithaca. Brother Galvin and Corinne shared a
daughter, Jane McDougall Galvin-Lewis, a member
of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Corinne was a
member of the Upsilon Omega Chapter of the
Alpha Kappa Alpha, where she served as chapter
president. She earned her Ph.D. from Cornell
University in 1942. She went on to become the first
African American faculty member to be hired by
Ithaca College. She served as president of the
Genetaska Club, which is a club made up of
Kiwanis Club members, president of the Woman’s
Auxiliary of the Tompkins County Medical Society,
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