Our History

On July 15, 1919, a group of college graduates came together to form a chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. in Atlanta and even held an initiation banquet. They had been given the chapter name Delta Lambda. However, the official sanction for their establishment was not received until after the Chicago Convention in 1919 and the name Delta Lambda was subsequently given to the brothers in Baltimore, Maryland.

Another petition was made to the general organization by six brothers:

  • Joseph Daniel McGhee
  • Dr. Davenport Grimes
  • Dr. Leonidas Crogman
  • William H.Cunningham
  • Davenport D. Johnson
  • Roderick Badger Harris

The new chapter was given the name Eta Lambda on May 20, 1920. Charter members include:

  • Alphonso “Toby” Elder
  • Jesse O. Richards
  • Harper Council Trenholm
  • Fletcher Hamilton Henderson
  • Charles W. Green
  • Wendell Anderson
  • J.B. Cade
  • J.C. Cullen
  • Joseph Clark
  • Wellington G. Dixon
  • Charles Spurgeon
  • Herbert Greenwood
  • Ira A. Golde
  • George Reeves

Notable Historical Activities and Events:

  • 1st President Joseph D. McGhee help welcome the 11th Annual NAACP Conference with Bro. W. E. B. Dubois in attendance.
  • On February 24, 1921, Eta Lambda hosted Jewel Eugene Kinckle Jones, the executive director of the National Urban League.
  • Sidney Phillip inspired with brothers of Eta Lambda wrote “The House of Alpha,” one of the Alpha’s most renowned poems.
  • Brother Maynard H. Jackson, the first black Mayor of Atlanta, GA in 1974. During his administration, it was only fitting that the “Alphas in Atlanta” host the 71st Anniversary Convention.
  • From August 9-14, 1985, Eta Lambda hosted the 79th Anniversary Convention.
  • During the 1980s, Eta Lambda’s membership grew from its original 15 to over 275 brothers in 1987.
  • During the 1990s, Eta Lambda continued its legacy of leadership in Alpha with three Brothers of the year and three Chapter of the year awards.
  • Speeding into the millennium, the Alphas of Atlanta held the 2000 Millennium Convention which had the largest registration in history.
  • The first 10 years of the chapter’s existence set the tone for the next 82 years. Alpha men in Atlanta would be involved in every aspect of business, social, civic and educational development of Atlanta. The chapter has hosted five National Conventions, had five General Presidents, six National Alumni Brothers of the Year, and won seven National Alumni Chapter of the Year awards.
  • Today, Eta Lambda Chapter, the mother chapter of Alpha in Atlanta, is one of the largest chapters in Alpha with more than 200 active brothers. The chapter has a legacy of leadership, service and commitment worth remembering. Eta Lambda continues its legacy by fostering relationships with its three mentee chapters: Alpha Rho (Morehouse), Alpha Phi (Clark Atlanta) and Zeta Mu (Georgia State)