Trice, John “Jack” G. (studied Animal Husbandry, d. 1923)

John “Jack” G. Trice was born 12 May 1902 in Hiram, Ohio, to Green Trice, a farmer, and Anna W. Trice. When Jack entered Iowa State College in January 1922, he was enrolled in a two-year non-collegiate Agricultural program so that he could obtain the necessary credits in missing preparatory classwork to enter the Animal Husbandry degree program. He attained that goal in Summer 1923 after a strong performance in his preparatory courses. Trice was active in the the Alpha-Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha in 1923, belonging alongside Iowa State brothers A.C. Aldridge, J. R. Otis, FD. Patterson, L. A. Potts, J. L. Lockett, J. W. Fraser, and R. B. Atwood (Aldridge, 1923).

In Fall 1923, Trice’s transcript notes that he “Dropped” his 15 1/3 credits of coursework on 9 October 1923. What that transcript note doesn’t say is that Trice’s credits were dropped because Jack, an athletic standout and the first African American member of the Iowa State football squad, had died on 8 October 1923 after injuries sustained in the October 6th Iowa State-University of Minnesota football match-up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Iowa State College Department of Hygiene issued a statement concerning Trice’s official cause of death, attributing it to “Traumatic Peritonitis, following injury to abdomen in football game” (quoted in Schwieder, 2010, p.39). The tragedy of this event is compounded by the aspirations and pride expressed by Trice’s fraternity brothers. Brother A. C. Aldridge, writing for the fraternity’s journal, The Sphinx, in June of 1923, only months before Trice’s death, praised Trice’s abilities as an all-around athlete and his potential to be one of the athletic greats:

Among the new brothers that have filled the ranks of Alpha Nu is brother John Trice, who is destined to reach great heights in the athletic world. Winning his numerals in football last fall, did not satisfy Brother Trice. This spring, his work on the “Prep” track squad was a revelation to the most keen fans of that sport. He has frequently thrown the discuss (sic) one hundred and thirty-five feet and passing the forty foot mark with the shot, seems to be an easy matter with him. Trice has not only shown ability on the track and gridiron, but his aquatic habits have obtained for him membership to the Iowa State College Lifesaving Corps. (Aldridge, 1923).

Indeed, Jack had won the shot put event in the Missouri Valley Conference meet as a freshman in 1922 . He’d also been a solid academic performer, with average grades of 93 (Tutt, 1923b).

Jack Trice’s memorial service on central campus at ISC, on 9 October 1923, was attended by several thousand people, according to news reports, no small number for a school with slightly over 3,000 students (Schwieder, 2010). The African American community of Ames held its own memorial service, organized by Jack’s fraternity brothers, on Sunday, October 21, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Gater (“Tribute Is Paid,” 1923). Money was collected at each event to help cover funeral expenses and to transport Jack’s body to Ohio. On the trip back to Hiram, Trice’s wife, Cora; his mother, Anna; and others from ISC, were accompanied by Trice’s fraternity brother Harold L. Tutt (Schwieder, 2010). John G. “Jack” Trice is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Hiram, Ohio.

Following Trice’s death, his teammates on the 1923 ISC football squad installed a bronze plaque in the Iowa State College gymnasium bearing the words of Jack’s last letter, found in his coat pocket after he passed (Tutt, 1924). The December 1923 edition of the fraternity’s national magazine, The Sphinx, was dedicated to Brother Trice’s memory (The Sphinx, 1923).


Photo Credit: Photo of Alpha-Nu chapter State College of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa. (1923, June). The Sphinx, 9(3), p. 17. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Aldridge, A. C. (1923, June). Alpha Nu chapter State College of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa. The Sphinx, 9(3), p. 17. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Greene, Cora Mae Starland Trice. (1988). Cora Mae Trice Greene letter to David Lendt, August 3, 1988, p. 3. Iowa State University Library Digital Collections. Retrieved from

In memoriam. (1923, Dec.). The Sphinx, 9(5), p. 2. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Schwieder, D. (2010). The life and legacy of Jack Trice. The Annals of Iowa 69(4), p. 379-417. doi:

Tribute is paid to late football star: Negroes honor dead in fitting memorial service. (1923, Oct. 22). The Ames Daily Tribune and Ames Evening Times, p. 1. Newspaper Archive. Retrieved from

Tutt, Harold L. (1923a, Oct.). Alpha Nu chapter, Des Moines, Iowa. The Sphinx, 9(4), p. 3. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Tutt, Harold L. (1923b, Dec.). Alpha Nu chapter, Des Moines, Iowa. The Sphinx, 9(5), p. 28. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Tutt, Harold L. (1924, June). Alpha-Nu chapter, Des Moines, Iowa. The Sphinx, 10(3), p. 17. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Otis (sometimes Oatis), Jesse Rodgers Delbert  (B.S. , Animal Husbandry, 1925)

Headshot of Jesse R.D. Otis

Jesse Rodgers Delbert Otis was born in Carson, Mississippi, on 9 July 1899 to Delbert Otis and his wife, Anna Sims Otis, farmers. Jesse attended school in Piney Woods, Mississippi, and, then, in Three Oaks, Michigan, where he was the lone Black student in a class of 37. Otis’s farming background served him well in Michigan, where he lived with a local farmer and dairy owner, working as a farmhand, dairyman, and milk delivery boy to earn his keep (Johnson, 2021).

At ISC Jesse Otis studied Animal Husbandry, graduating with a B.S. in 1925. He was active in the Agriculture Club on campus and also as a member of the Alpha-Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in 1923, belonging alongside Iowa State brothers A.C. Aldridge, J. G. Trice, FD. Patterson, L. A. Potts, J. L. Lockett, J. W. Fraser, and R. B. Atwood (Aldridge, 1923). In 1935, Otis reunited with many of his fraternity brothers at a ISC Alumni Banquet at Tuskegee to celebrate the inauguration of brother Frederick D. Patterson as President of Tuskegee Institute. Otis had been teaching at Tuskgee since around 1928, when he left his teaching job at Piney Woods School after three years. He stayed at Tuskegee for the next seven years (Johnson, 2021). In 1933, Otis earned an M.S. in Agriculture and Life Sciences from Cornell University. He eventually received his Ph.D. in the same field in 1944 from the same institution.

The years between arriving at Tuskegee and taking the position of President of Mississippi’s Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) in 1946 saw Dr. Otis firmly establish himself in the field of agriculture as an expert and a teacher. According to the Alabama 4-H Center’s “In Remembrance” page, “From 1932 to 1934, he served as Specialist in Extension farm work. The next ten years found him in the nation’s capital working at the Department of Interior. Desiring to be back closer to the people he hoped to help, Dr. Otis held the position of Alabama State Leader for Negro Work from 1944 to 1946. In 1946 Dr. Otis was selected to be president of Alcorn College for Negroes at Alcorn, Mississippi” (n.d.).

Dr. Otis served as president at Alcorn A&M until 1957, when Mississippi Governor Coleman removed him from his post following a multi-week student boycott sparked by an Alcorn history professor who “wrote a series of articles for the Jackson State Times linking the NAACP to communism and criticizing Congressman Adam Clayton Powell” (Johnson, 2021).

J. R. D. Otis returned to Tuskegee Institute to finish his career as the Director of the School of Education. He married Frankie Althalyn Williams on 25 July 1959 and remained married to her until is death 3 January 1970. He is buried at Oaklawn Memorial Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.


Photo Credit: Iowa State University. (1925). 1925 Bomb v.32 special edition, p.72. Retrieved from 

Aldridge, A. C. (1923, June). “Alpha Nu Chapter State College of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa.” The Sphinx, 9.3, p. 17.

In remembrance…Jesse R. Otis (1899-1970). (n.d.) Alabama 4-H Center. Retrieved from 

Johnson, David. (2021, February 17). 1940s Three Oaks class project reveals the story of Jesse Otis. Harbor country news. Retrieved from 

Alexander, Joseph McHenry (M.S., Animal Husbandry, 1930)

Headshot of Joseph McHenry Alexander

Joseph McHenry Alexander was born in Hickston, Texas, 22 March 1895, to Wiley J. Alexander and his wife Maggie L. James Alexander. Following service as a corporal in the 165th Depot Brigade in WWI, in which he served from 17 July 1918 until 13 December 1918 (“Alexander,” 1942), Alexander married Josephine V. L. Ford in 1921. 

Alexander completed his undergraduate degree at Prairie View Normal & Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University) and had become a Professor of Animal Husbandry, teaching in the Agriculture Department there, by 1926. At that time, four of the seven professors in the Agriculture Department—Edward Evans, Rufus Atwood, Lawrence Potts, and John Lockett—were ISC alumni, and Joseph Alexander was soon to be among them as another faculty member with an ISC degree. To enhance his credentials, Alexander completed an M.S. in Dairy Husbandry at Iowa State College in 1930. During Winter 1930, he lived at 1204 Third Street, the home of Walter Madison, Sr.  

J. M. Alexander was a proud alumnus of Prairie View and an active member of the campus community during his time there as a professor. He served as the local alumni chapter secretary and was adviser to the Prairie View Cosmopolitan Club, as well as Texas state representative to that national organization.

Alexander was still a Professor at Prairie View when he died of a coronary occlusion at the age of 46 on 18 August 1941 (“Joseph M. Alexander,” 1941). In February 1950, he had passed from recent memory to attain a sort of legendary status when he was fondly remembered by the “Prairie View Week,” a campus newsletter, as “a man of impeccable, integrity; indeed, … a man’s man” (“Official Announcement,” p. 1), who was instrumental in securing a new Hammond organ for the school in his role as faculty representative of the Sunday school: “Like so many other self-effacing men who serve causes with basic human humility, he shepherded the dollars and cents which made up the Organ Fund” (“Official Announcement,” 1950, p. 1). The newsletter writer goes on to capture his careful efforts to serve his school as the : “Bald of pate, solid of statue (sic) one remembers Mr. Alexander depositing the pennies and nickels contributed by men and women of the school on the hill, and ever so often withdrawing the quarterly payments” (“Official Announcement,” 1950, p. 1).

Joseph McHenry Alexander is buried in the Mount Eden Cemetery, Hickston, Texas (“Alexander,” 1942). Following his death, a new men’s dormitory at Prairie View, completed in 1952, was named in Alexander’s honor.

Iowa State College thesis title: The productive life span of the dairy cows, and some factors influencing its length

Iowa State University Library permalink:


Photo credit: Prairie View A&M University. (1926). J. M. Alexander, B.S. [Photograph]. 1926 The prairie, p. 32. Retrieved from  

Alexander, Joseph McHenry, application for headstone or marker. (1942, 16 Jan). U.S., headstone applications for military veterans, 1925-1963. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1916, M2113, Roll 40050_644066_0359. Retrieved from Fold3,joseph,alexander 

Joseph M. Alexander, death certificate. (1941, 21 Aug). Texas, U.S., death certificates, 1903-1982 [database on-line]. Retrieved from Ancestry

Official announcement – February 5 – February 11 – 1950. (1950, Feb.). The Prairie View Week, Vol. 6 (5). Prairie View A&M University. Retrieved from

Aldridge, Aubrey Cooper (B.S., Animal Husbandry, 1923)

Headshot of Aubrey Cooper Aldridge

Aubrey Cooper Aldridge was born in Prairie View, Texas, on 20 January 1902, to H. C. Aldridge and Ida Cooper Aldridge. During his time at ISC, he lived for a number of semesters in what residents called “The Interstate Club,” an apartment at 226 ½ Main Street in the Elliott Building. Other residents of the apartment in the early 1920s included J. Herman Banning, Frederick Patterson, Rufus Atwood, Cornelius Bibb, Compton Chapman, James Fraser, John Lockett, Jesse Otis, Lawrence Potts, Clarence Smith, Malcolm Stubblefield, and John Sweatt. While living there, Aldridge lent his baritone voice to a musical group of Interstate Club residents that sang at local events in the early 1920s (“Ames Items”). During his time at ISC, he was also recorder for the Alpha-Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha in 1923, belonging alongside Iowa State brothers John “Jack” Trice, Jesse Otis, Frederick Patterson, Lawrence Potts, John Lockett, James Fraser, and Rufus Atwood (Aldridge, 1923).

After graduation, Aldridge went on to get his teaching certificate at the University of Southern California and Master’s of Science at Arizona State College. Aldridge married Robinez Erma Robinson in Los Angeles, California, in 1927 and they had a daughter, Betty Jean, in 1928. In 1943 he married Winstona Hackett, daughter of prominent Phoenix parents (her father was the first African American doctor in Arizona), in Phoenix, Arizona. They had one son, Aubrey Cooper Aldridge, Jr.

Aldridge, Sr., taught at Dunbar Elementary and then became Principal there. Later in his career, he became Principal at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, working there until his retirement in 1967. He passed away in Phoenix, Arizona, 23 June 1995.


Photo credit: Aubrey Aldridge [Photo]. (n.d.) Ancestry. Retrieved from

Aldridge, A. C. (1923, June). “Alpha Nu Chapter State College of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa.” The Sphinx, 9.3, p. 17. 

Ames items. (1920, January 30). The Iowa state bystander. Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers Site. Retrieved from