The Founding of Alpha Delta Lambda
The Alpha Delta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was established on June 5, 1930 in the city of Memphis, TN by ten forward thinking Alpha men dedicated to both the expansion of the fraternity and the improvement of the city. The founders, distinguished in their respective collegiate and professional spheres, are Walter P. Adkins, John Lewis Brinkley Jr., Thomas H. Hayes Jr., B.T. Johnson, Edwin C. Jones, Herschel C. Latham, Junious S. Mebane, Spencer M. Smith, Samuel T. Washington, and Frederick N. Weathers.
The chapter owes it fruition to a coalescence of attitudes and events transpiring in the years leading up to the founding. In 1927, Alpha Phi Alpha was thought and said to “have reached its maturity” as a fraternal organization. However, as LeMoyne College had just acquired full accreditation as a four-year college, a collective of Alphas from the college and professional community gathered to discuss the desires and benefits of establishing a “formal Alpha presence in Memphis.” To this end, Brother Thomas H. Hayes Jr. attended the General Convention of 1929 and petitioned for a chapter. Upon the recommendation of the Southern Regional Vice President, Charles W. Green, permission was granted. And thus, on that historic day in the Bluff City, Brother Frederick N. Weathers had the authorization necessary to establish Alpha Delta Lambda.
Alpha Delta Lambda has consistently served as a beacon of leadership, a catalyst for the growth of additional chapters, and a constant purveyor of service to the Fraternity on a state, regional, and national level. Evidenced by brothers like Lewis Ossie Swingler, who served as Editor-in-Chief of the Sphinx Magazine (1935), and as the Southern Regional Vice President, under which the 1957 regional convention carved its place in history by securing the presence of and a speech by Brother Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Consequently, the Sphinx Magazine, the second oldest African American publication still in circulation, was published out of Memphis for a number of years. Additionally, the chapter has distinguished itself through the efforts of Brother Dr. Clarence Christian, who served as the Regional Executive Director 1990-91, chaired the Leadership Development/Citizen Education Project under General President Milton C. Davis, and also served on the Education Foundation from 1988 to 2004; Brother Sylvester P. Fulton, who was national Big Brother of the Year in 2006, and was awarded the esteemed Brother of the Year award in 2007, while Brother Bradley Thomas served as the National Chair of Reclamation.
Never forgetting the fraternity’s commitment to the grooming and cultivation of collegiate men, the chapter is responsible for the founding/chartering of the Beta Xi chapter at LeMoyne-Owen College, the Kappa Eta chapter at the University of Memphis, and the Nu Eta chapter seated jointly at Rhodes College and Christian Brothers University. Beyond this, the chapter also lays claims to initiatives that have greatly impacted the community and culture of Memphis, as well as the nation as a whole. For instance, the annual Sickle Cell Walk, which raises funds to assist those living with sickle cell disease, began as a program of Alpha Delta Lambda.
Alpha Delta Lambda proudly lists among its past or present members Brothers R.S. Lewis, Christopher Rhoulac, Johnny B. Watson, Dr. Hollis F. Price, Harold Ford Sr., Bishop J.O. Patterson Jr., AC Wharton, Dr. Willie Lindsey, Judge Walter Evans, Ed Stanton III, Ricky Wilkins, Bernal Smith II and Brother Fr. Maurice Nutt.
Since its establishment on June 5, 1930, Alpha Delta Lambda has evolved into the largest chapter in the district of Tennessee, and cemented itself as an integral organization woven within the fabric of the city of Memphis and the world at large.