On Saturday, November 8, 2008, the third alumni chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in the Baltimore metropolitan area, Rho Tau Lambda, became official with a Chartering Ceremony and Celebration held at the Huber Memorial Church in East Baltimore. In the spring of 2006, Brothers Samuel Brown, Robert Dashiell and Vincent Whitmore discussed the possibility of creating a new chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha in Baltimore. They wanted to reclaim inactive members who wanted to rekindle their brotherhood ties. Additionally, they wanted to attract brothers who would recommit to strengthening the community through outreach, leadership and public service. They were soon joined by J. Wayman Henry who helped spearhead the process by utilizing his influence and knowledge among like minded brothers in Maryland and in other states and thereby helped to populate the process. The numbers grew to twenty-one brothers who met at the Alpha Phi Alpha Baltimore national office on August 23, 2006 to begin the journey.
Robert Dashiell was elected Committee Chair and he joyfully accepted the task of leading the brothers through the uninhabited waters of the chartering process. This successful endeavor would become a first in the history of Alpha Phi Alpha. There was no how to do protocol, no script to follow. It was designed by “Alpha Man Law”. Mutual love for the fraternity provided the needed inspiration and guidance toward the fulfillment of our shared dream. Samuel Brown, Program Coordinator facilitated the growth and development of the group which initially adopted the unofficial name, Kappa Kappa Lambda then later, and more appropriately the “Alpha Renaissance Committee”. The Committee met regularly to design plans for the chartering of a new alumni chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland. Foremost among the many completed tasks of the committee was the prototype Business Plan submitted to the General President and Members of the Board of Directors of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc.
Callis became a practicing physician, Howard University Professor of Medicine and prolific contributor to medical journals.
Often regarded as the “philosopher of the founders” and a moving force in the Fraternity’s development, he was the only one of the “Cornell Seven” to become general president. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., he was a medical consultant to the Veterans Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Upon his death in 1974, at age 87, the fraternity entered a time without any living Jewels. His papers were donated to Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
Chapman entered higher education and eventually became Professor of Agriculture at what is now Florida A&M University. A university funeral was held with considerable fraternity participation when he became the first Jewel to enter Omega Chapter in 1934.
Described as “a brother beloved in the bonds,” Chapman was a founder of FAMU’s Beta Nu Chapter. During the organization stages of Alpha Chapter, he was the first chairman of the Committees on Initiation and Organization.
Jones became the first executive secretary of the National Urban League. His 20-year tenure with the Urban League thus far has exceeded those of all his successors in office.
A versatile leader, he organized the first three fraternity chapters that branched out from Cornell—Beta at Howard, Gamma at Virginia Union University, and the original Delta at the University of Toronto in Canada.
In addition to becoming Alpha Chapter’s second president and joining with Callis in creating the fraternity name, Jones was a member of the first Committees on Constitution and Organization and helped write the fraternity ritual.
Jones also has the distinction of being one of the first initiates as well as an original founder. His status as a founder was not finally established until 1952.
Kelley became the first African-American engineer registered in the state of New York. Not only was he the strongest proponent of the fraternity idea among the organization’s founders, the civil engineering student also became Alpha Chapter’s first president.
In addition, he served on committees that worked out the handshake and ritual. Kelley was popular with the brotherhood.
He resided in Troy, New York and was active with Beta Pi Lambda Chapter in Albany.
Murray pursued graduate work after completing his undergraduate studies at Howard. He later returned home to Washington, D.C., where he taught in public schools.
Much of his career was spent at Armstrong Vocational High School in the District of Columbia. He was a member of Alpha Chapter’s first committee on organization of the new fraternal group, as well as the Committee on the Grip.
While a charter member of Washington’s Mu Lambda Chapter, Murray was a frequent attendee of general conventions.
Ogle entered the career secretarial field and had the unique privilege of serving as a professional staff member to the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations.
He was an African-American pioneer in his Capitol Hill position. He proposed the fraternity’s colors and was Alpha Chapter’s first secretary.
Ogle joined Kelley in working out the first ritual and later became a charter member of Washington’s Mu Lambda Chapter.
Tandy became the state of New York’s first registered black architect, with offices on Broadway in New York City.
Tandy was the designer of the fraternity pin, and holds the distinction of being the first African American to pass the military commissioning examination, and was commissioned first lieutenant in the 15th Infantry of the New York State National Guard.
He was Alpha Chapter’s first treasurer and took the initiative to incorporate the fraternity. Among the buildings designed by the highly talented architect is Saint Phillips Episcopal Church in New York City.
* - Omega Chapter