ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY was founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853. Alpha Phi Alpha is the oldest of the largely black collegiate Greek-Letter organizations. It began as a social study club with the primary purpose of ensuring that its members, who constituted most of the blacks enrolled, would succeed academically in a hostile environment.
Each of the founders became distinguished achievers, among which were a physician, engineer, national urban league top executive, a high level government employee attached to the Office of the Committee on Appropriations of the U.S. Senate, and educators: Henry A. Callis, M.D.; Vertner W. Tandy; George B. Kelley; Eugene Kinckle Jones; Charles H. Chapman; Robert H. Ogle; Nathaniel A. Murray.
Since its inception, Alpha Phi Alpha has constantly pursued goals well beyond the narrow realm of partying and other purely social activities. "Manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind." - words from the national hymn - approximately sum up its basic goals. Its members and chapters seek to fulfill this commitment in various community uplift and social projects and activities.
Originally established with seven ambitious and far-sighted young men, this service-focused body of college-educated men has grown to over 200,000 including all who were initiated throughout the fraternity's 112 years of existence. There are over 700 college and alumni chapters throughout the United States and in overseas areas today, such as the Caribbean, West Africa, England, Germany, South Korea, and Bermuda.
Among the fraternity's nationally prominent members are: former New York Mayor David Dinkins, Congressman Charles Rangel, the United Way President, Ralph Dickerson Jr., Comedian/Activist Dick Gregory, singer/songwriter Lionel Richie, the former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, the actor Tim Reid and the journalist, Tony Brown. and Honorable Judge Reggie B. Walton, our speaker for the 23rd annual commemorative luncheon. Some of our outstanding, deceased members are, the late Whitney M. Young, Jr., Jesse Owens; Paul Robeson, Duke Ellington, Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, and W.E.B. DuBois.
The Eta Theta Lambda (ETL) Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was chartered on May 12, 1959, on Long Island, in Wyandanch, NY. Today, the brothers of ETL continue to pursue the ideals of Alpha Phi Alpha; manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind.
We continue to be dedicated to serving our community; participating regularly in civic and social activities, while respecting the past and planning for the future, committing ourselves to noble deeds, which will make our future more secure.
Eta Theta Lambda was founded during a critical moment in our nation’s history; civil unrest, sit-ins, protests, and marches are the experiences that many Alpha Men remember and recognize as synonymous with our Fraternity’s quest for a bold new world. Indeed, it was a time to acknowledge who we were and who we wanted to be.
In keeping with one of Alpha Phi Alpha’s national programs, “Go to High School, Go to College”, men of various professional backgrounds found it timely to establish an alumni chapter on Long Island to further promote the ideals of the movement and of Alpha Phi Alpha.
The First President of Eta Theta Lambda Chapter was Bro./Dr. Eugene T. Reed (a dentist and Chairman of the NAACP of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The chapter flourished under his leadership. The Second President of Eta Theta Lambda Chapter was Bro. Norris E. Francis, Jr. (Director of Sales for the Ametek Corporation). The Third President was Bro./Judge Marquette Floyd (County Court Judge in Suffolk). The Fourth President was Bro./Dr. George L. Mims (University Director of Special Programs at Pace University, NYC). Bro. Mims provided strong leadership during his five-year tenure, as ETL diversified its services and doubled its membership.
The ETL Education Foundation, a separate subsidiary of the chapter, was formally established in 1982, and has become one of the most active facets of the chapter; carrying out the most enduring and well known chapter program (actually inaugurated in 1981), the College Tour. Eta Theta Lambda has completed thirty-eight successful college tours, and is now planning for the thirty-ninth.
Bro. Kendall Richards, Ph.D preceded our Current President, Bro. Rodney McRae. Currently, there are about forty-five active brothers, primarily from Nassau and Suffolk Counties; though some brothers add to our ranks from Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan.