Chapter History

” The future of this fraternity and this world depends upon our ability to meet today’s challenges. We are a great organization, but we can and we must become greater. ”

– Charles C. Teamer, 27th General President ΑΦA

apa-logoFor what seemed like ages, the Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. talked about forming a graduate Chapter in Philadelphia. No positive action was taken until 1955 when a group of graduate Brothers in Psi Chapter formed a steering committee for the sole purpose of exploring the feasibility of organizing a graduate chapter. The men of Alpha were keenly aware of the fact that for over forty years the graduate Brothers in Philadelphia joined either Psi Chapter (University of Pennsylvania) or Rho Chapter (Temple University), both undergraduate Chapters with graduate and undergraduate membership.

The steering committee was composed of the following: Brother Robert E. Moose, Chairman; Edward C. Wilkins, Ed R. Harris, Kermit Hall, Russell L. Brown, Hugo Marcos, William H. Brown, III, Frank E. Smith, William Griffin, and Norwood Thomas. These Brothers were the founders of Zeta Omicron Lambda Chapter.

The Steering Committee’s frist positive action was to send letters to more than one hundred fifty Alpha Brothers in the Philadelphia area seeking their opinions of forming a graduate Chapter. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Among the letter concurring was one from the late Brother Raymond Pace Alexander.

As the Eastern Regional met in Newark, New Jersey in April 1956, Brother Roger Gordon told the history leading to the establishment of the graduate chapter in Philadelphia, stating that the basic purpose of the Chapter was Reclamation, since there were over 1,000 inactive Brothers in Philadelphia. This all came about as a result of the Steering Committee’s submission of a petition to the National Secretary asking for establishment of a graduate Chapter in Philadelphia. The matter was referred to the Executive Committee of the Fraternity who voted favorably. On April 26, 1956, at the Old Bookbinders Restaurant, a Charter was presented by the National President, Brother Frank L. Stanley. Thus, Zeta Omicron Lambda became the first and only graduate chapter in Philadelphia.

The Charter members were as follows: 

Raymond P. Alexander Calvin S. Blakiston
Jefferson F. Bryant Jesse Brown George Barbour
Russell L. Brown William H. Brown, III Vivian P. Bailey
Franklin Bradley Clairborne C. Craddock John V. Carter
Sergil L. Caves Charles M. Clark Ralph Dinkins
George T. Drummond James H. East Ralph J. Fowler
William C. Foster Clarence Farmer Roger Gordon
William Griffin John Glenn Oscar Goss
Selvin Gumbs Kermit J. Hall James Hewitt
Ed R. Harris William S. Hight John B. Holton
Charles C. Hubbard Howard Jones Walter R. Livingston, Jr.
Charles J. Lee Raymond Logan Hugh Marcos
Robert E. Moose Aspinwall H. Redd Wilbur Ray
John B. Randolph Charles G. Scott Frank E. Smith
Robert A. Smith Marshall L. Shepherd Robert H. Stewart, Jr.
William T. Stansbury Wilbur H. Strickland George A. Stevens
Norwood Thomas William C. Thornton Emery Utterback
Edward C. Wilkins David Warrington Joseph Watlington, Jr.
Listervelt Winfree Alvin White Daniel J. Winge

It is worth to note that Zeta Omicron Lambda was chartered during the year in which Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Brother Paul Vance, the newly elected president of Psi Chapter, informed the convention that his chapter would work with Zeta Omicron Lambda in the development of programs and projects in the true spirit which has prevailed in Alpha since its beginning.

The Zeta Omicron Lambda Chapter, with its membership from a wide array of professions, has made an outstanding contribution to the vitality of the African American citizens in Philadelphia, the tri-county area of Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Chester and the state over the years.