History of Alpha Phi Lambda Chapter
The history of Alpha Phi Lambda begins some fifteen (15) years before its actual founding when another chapter, Zeta Lambda was formed in Norfolk, Virginia on April 3, 1920. A delegation from Gamma Chapter at Virginia Union University was present. Brother Norman L. McGhee, the general secretary of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, made the chapter. Zeta Lambda became the twenty-seventh chapter of the Fraternity and the sixth graduate chapter. It is the oldest graduate chapter in Virginia. It has the record of being the graduate chapter with the longest continued active membership in Alpha Phi Alpha.
The officers and charter members of the chapter were: Brother G.W.C. Brown, President; Brother A.D. Manning, Vice President; Brother S. F. Coppage, Treasurer; Brother H.S. Stanback, Secretary; Brother A. J. Wells, Chaplain; Brother .W. Johnson, Editor to the Sphinx; and Brother G.R. Mallory and C.G. Owens were members.
This chapter was composed of graduate brothers in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Berkley and surrounding districts. Transportation difficulties (there was no bridge-tunnel then) and the decision to hold meetings on the Peninsula, thereby permanently locating Zeta Lambda in Newport News, necessitated the formation of another graduate chapter readily accessible to Brothers South of the James River. Alpha Phi Lambda Chapter thus came into being on May 7, 1935.
The founders of Alpha Phi Lambda, Brothers George W.C. Brown, Samuel F. Coppage, Charles G. Owings, H.S. Stanback, Arthur J. Wells, John Anderson, and William T. Mason, Sr., were all men of vision and high purpose. As such, they, like the Jewels of our Fraternity, laid the foundation for achievements made by future members of the Chapter. The Brothers of Alpha Phi Lambda, both as respected individuals of their communities and as participants in the activities of this Fraternity, have contributed greatly to their people and communities.
The Alpha Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., along with an institution that was established through the efforts of the Alphas, Norfolk State University, founded in 1935, represents Alpha’s commitment to the educational needs of young black men and women. Under the leadership of Brother Lyman B. Brooks, the University expanded its programs and physical plant rapidly. Because of this care and interest by Alphas, Norfolk State University is a leader in the education of people from all walks of life from around the world.
The Alpha Phi Lambda Chapter, in addition to education and the development of educational institutions, was also behind the formation of Norfolk Community Hospital. Additionally, the Hunton Branch of the YMCA has been of special interest to Alpha Phi Lambda, as several board members have been Alphas. The Norfolk Journal and Guide, founded by P.B. Young, Sr., was continued and developed through the efforts of his sons, both Alphas, as well as other Alphas.