Bro. Charles S. Corprew, Jr Celebrates 90th Birthday
Story and Photos by Brother Alvin Swilley (unless otherwise indicated)
NORFOLK—Over 100 family members and friends gathered at Omegas of Norfolk to celebrate the 90th birthday of “The Candy Man”—Bro. Charles S. Corprew, Jr. Born on Valentine’s Day 1929, this Norfolk icon was given that nickname many years ago and it has stuck. The longtime Norfolk native blazed a trail in the Norfolk City School System as one of its first African American administrators. It was a path initially lit in the heyday of massive resistance in Virginia when he and others took on the daunting task of educating and preparing the “Norfolk 17”—young African American students who would be the first to enter the previously segregated schools of Norfolk. Lula Rogers was on hand at the celebration and spoke on that subject as well as of Corprew’s longtime membership and affiliations with Historic First Baptist Bute Street, Norfolk. The edifice provided the classroom for the pioneering students.
Amanda Murray, Director of the Ready Academy, the church’s private school, brought greetings from her husband, pastor, Dr. Robert Murray who was unable to attend. She also addressed Corprew’s role in helping found the Ready Academy and serving on its board for many years. A scholarship was established at the school in his name. Bro. Earl Fraley, chair of the City of Norfolk’s Planning Commission, longtime friend and member of Lambda Omega Chapter, gave rousing remarks about their friendship and Corprew’s 70 years in the Fraternity, much of it in the Norfolk-based chapter since graduating from West Virginia State University in 1949. Lambda Omega—the Fraternity’s first graduate chapter—will observe its 100th anniversary in 2020.
The rousing celebration was marked by laughter throughout, including a performance by comedian Vivian Bennett. Bro. Dr. Charles S. Corprew, III, PhD, a New Orleans-based educator, consultant, motivational speaker and radio host served as emcee for his father’s milestone observance. The event was coordinated by the honoree’s wife, Bertha Corprew and executed by members of the chapter, their wives and other friends and family. The invocation and grace was rendered by Bro. Rev. Charles Nellum.
Photos (all by Alvin Swilley unless otherwise indicated)
6737—Centerpiece on head table
6740—Bro. Charles S. Corprew, Jr.
6742—(l-r) Bro. Dr. Charles S. Corprew, III, Bertha Corprew, Amanda Murray, Director of Ready Academy and Bro. Charles S. Corprew, Jr.
6745rev—Mrs. Bertha Corprew and Bro. Charles S. Corprew, Jr.
6758—Bro. Dr. Charles S. Corprew, III PhD served as emcee for his father’s 90th birthday celebration.
6767—Mrs. Bertha Corprew and Bro. Rev. Charles Nellum.
6800—Lambda Omega Brothers, Teddy Wilder and Ron Moore.
6819—Bro. Earl Fraley comments on his long-time friend and Brother.
128A0252—Bro. Charles S. Corprew, Jr. and family (photo by Anita Pearson, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.)
1280259—Bro. Charles S. Corprew, Jr. and Brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The elder Corprew is a 70 year member. (photo by Anita Pearson, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc)