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Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Pi Gamma Lambda Chapter records

Identifier: aarl009-001

Scope and Contents Note

The collection consists of correspondence; minutes of meetings; committee reports; programs; financial and legal records of the Pi Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The collection includes material on the National organization and the Southern Region organization. Organizational manuals; National Conference programs and proceedings; the organization's newsletter and journal; invitations, membership directories; and photographs of events are all part of the collection.


  • Majority of material found within 1988 - 2019

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is available for use only on the third floor (Archives Division) of the Auburn Avenue Research Library. There are no restrictions on research use of the collection, but permission must be obtained for reproductions of materials for which the Research Library does not hold copyright to researcher only for "Fair Use" as defined in the copyright law (Title 17, United States Code). Also permission must be obtained to publish reproductions from materials for which the Research Library does hold copyright for one time use only.

Historical Note

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African-American men, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of brotherhood among African descendants in this country. The visionary founders, known as the “Jewels” of the fraternity, are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle and Vertner Woodson Tandy.

The fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. The “Jewels” and early leaders of the fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha’s principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character and the uplifting of humanity.

Alpha Phi Alpha chapters were established at other institutions, many of them at historically black colleges and universities, soon after the founding at Cornell. The first alumni chapter was established in 1911. While continuing to stress academic excellence among its members, Alpha also recognized the need to help correct the educational, economic, political and social injustices faced by African-Americans. Alpha Phi Alpha has long stood at the forefront of the African-American community’s fight for civil rights through leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Edward Brooke, Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, Paul Robeson and many others. True to its form as the “first of firsts,” Alpha Phi Alpha has been interracial since 1945.

Since its founding on Dec. 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African-Americans and people of color around the world.

In 1988, while assigned to Fort McPherson, Ga., Bro. Silas Christian noticed there were several Alpha men stationed on the military installation. Most of them were not active with a local chapter. Because Bro. Christian had been instrumental in chartering other chapters, he asked the military brothers if they would be interested in establishing a chapter on Fort McPherson. After several interest meetings with current military personnel, retired military personnel and civilian brothers, it was decided to pursue the possibility of chartering an Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. chapter on the military installation.

Bro. Christian and the other brothers petitioned the Alpha leadership for a charter to be located at Fort McPherson, Ga., after receiving permission from the installation commander. Bro. Henry Ponder was the General President at that time. Pi Gamma Lambda was chartered Fri., Jan. 6, 1989, at Fort McPherson Installation. Keeping with the true spirit of the fraternity, Pi Gamma Lambda provides outstanding leadership, scholarship and programs for the betterment of the Clayton County community. A total of 116 men have been initiated into Pi Gamma Lambda since its chartering.

On Jan. 15, 2009, as part of the 20th Anniversary celebration kickoff, Pi Gamma Lambda became the first fraternity to donate and deed the chapter’s historical papers, pictures and artifacts to the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.


5 Linear feet



Processing Information

Processed by Anita Martin and Derek T. Mosley, 2011 and 2019

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303