Since its founding on December 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African-Americans and people of color around the world.
Alpha Phi Alpha is the oldest collegiate Black Greek Letter Fraternity established for African-American men. It was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college students who recognized the need for brotherhood and service among African American collegians. The visionary founders, known as the “Jewels” of Alpha Phi Alpha, are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.
Alpha men have long carried the banner of Knowledge and Achievement in service of humanity. Alpha men have distinguished themselves as leaders from 1906 to present. Alphas are renowned as champions of the Civil Rights movement and continue to be vigilant proponents of social justice today. Brothers like Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and many others serve as shining exemples of Alpha through the years. They embody a legacy of excellence that is continued by the Fraternity.
First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.
THE GAMMA IOTA LAMBDA CHAPTER
With a nation facing the aftermath of World War II and grappling with issues of social and economic equity for all its citizens, eleven dedicated and zealous men of the Black and Old Gold sought to use the light of Alpha to improve the conditions of the black masses in the borough of Brooklyn. These men, the charter members of Gamma Iota Lambda, include: Cecil Foster, Claude Franklin, George Grissom, James Hairston, Joseph Johnson, Frank McCoy, Herbert T. Miller, Judge Myles A. Paige (who later served the fraternity as its 19th General President), Sandy F. Ray, Albert Smith, and Franklin Williams. Bro. Herbert T. Miller served as the chapter’s first president.
In the mid-1950’s, as some members of the chapter moved to parts of Long Island, Gamma Iota Lambda’s commitment to serving those most in need was extended to these areas as well and became incorporated as an integral component of the chapter’s mission. In this noble effort they were joined by the invaluable Alpha Wives Club of Brooklyn – Long Island. This partnership has continued to this day and has been responsible in generating scholarship, educational aid and spiritual uplift for countless young Black men and women in the greater New York metropolitan area.
The mission statement of Alpha Phi Alpha declares that the fraternity “develops leaders, promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities.” To this day, Gamma Iota Lambda remains true to that mission.
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