About the Eastern Region

Comprising over 18,500 brothers, the Eastern Region of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has become a shining example of what is known as the “work of Alpha.” Chapters within the region have supported community groups, provided scholarships to African American youth, and created non-profit organizations to support the community. The region comprises seven districts that cover eleven states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia – Washington D.C., and the international areas of Bermuda, Germany, Liberia, South Africa and the United Kingdom (London). The members of the region have founded organizations and universities. They have changed the course of African American history through their work in the Civil Rights movement. The work carried out by members and chapters in the Eastern Region has truly come to embody its motto, “First of All, Leading the Way.”

Although organized in 1932, the history of the Eastern Region of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. can be traced to the beginnings of the Fraternity. The region, also known as “AlphaEast,” is home to some of the oldest chapters in the fraternity. Founded December 4, 1906, the fraternity’s first chapter, Alpha, is seated in Ithaca, New York at Cornell University. The second oldest chapter, Beta, is seated at the famed Howard University in Washington, D.C. and was chartered the next year in December 1907. Since this time, the region has come to comprise some of the most prominent Brothers in the Fraternity including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Olympian Jesse Owens. AlphaEast is also the home of the national headquarters (also known as the General Office) in Baltimore, Maryland.

While it is impossible to name every notable figure in the region, the following is an attempt to highlight just a few of these figures. This job is difficult because the men of AlphaEast have contributed to the history of the nation through various fields. In the field of education, you have Brothers Rayford W. Logan and Charles H. Wesley; both noted historians. In the military, Brother Wesley Brown was the first African-American to graduate from the United States Naval Academy.1 Brother Fred A. Gorden was the first Black Commandant of Cadets at West Point.2 Brother Colonel Charles McGee, of Iota Upsilon Lambda Chapter, was the National President of the Tuskegee Airman and is noted to have flown 409 aerial fighter combat missions over three wars (WWII, Korean, and Vietnam).3

In the area of sports, AlphaEast members are also present. 1936 Olympic gold medalists John Woodruff (Omicron Chapter)4 and the aforementioned Jesse Owens (Zeta Phi Lambda) were members of the Eastern Region. Other sports figures active in the region were Brother Ronald Burke of WCAU-TV in Philadelphia and five-time Super Bowl Champion, Pro-football Player, NFL Hall of Famer, Brother Charles L. Haley of the Dallas Cowboys were both members of Xi Lambda Chapter.5

Other members of note include Raymond Pace Alexander, the first African-American graduate of the Wharton School, and Marc Morial, former Mayor of New Orleans and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League.6 Singer Donny Hathaway of Beta Chapter made significant contributions to the field of music.7 In the field of journalism, Brother Carl J. Murphy, founder of the Afro-American newspaper and member of Delta Lambda Chapter is one of the pioneering figures among black journalists.8

“Leading the Way”

“Leading the Way” is not only a portion of the motto of AlphaEast it is also a part of the practice of the region. The first General President of the Fraternity Moses A. Morrison was a member of the Eastern Region. A number of other General Presidents of Alpha Phi Alpha have also come from the region. They include Jewel Henry Arthur Callis (6th), Howard H. Long (7th) of Mu Lambda Chapter, Lucius L. McGhee (10th) of Gamma Chapter, Simeon S. Booker, a charter member of Delta Lambda Chapter (11th), Charles H. Wesley (14th), Rayford W. Logan (15th), Belford V. Lawson (16th), Myles A. Paige (19th), and Darryl R Matthews (32nd) of Kappa Phi Lambda. The leadership of brothers in AlphaEast has not been limited to the fraternity.

Brothers of AlphaEast have maintained the motto of “leading the way” by serving their communities through leadership positions within local, state and federal government. Brothers Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. of New York, and Edward W. Brooke, of Massachusetts, served in the United States Congress.9 Brother Brooke holds the distinction of being the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction. Bro. David Dinkins, a Beta Chapter initiate, was the first African-American Mayor of New York City. Brother Marion S. Barry, Jr. became “Mayor for Life” of Washington, DC and was the first Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.10 Brother William T. Patrick, Jr., was the first African-American elected to Detroit City Council. Brother Andrew Young is a Former United Nations Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.11 The list of brothers who have participated in government is long.

Many other brothers have held state and municipal level leadership positions. Brother Clarence Blount, Beta Alpha initiate and a member of Delta Lambda chapter, was a WWII veteran and became the first African-American majority leader of the Maryland State Senate.12 The Honorable Aris T. Allen, M.D. of Eta Eta Lambda was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and the first African American to lead the Maryland Republican Party. Brother Otha N. Brown, Jr. was chairman of the 2nd Taxing District Commission (formerly the City of South Norwalk) in Norwalk, Connecticut for more than two decades.13 Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is a member of Iota Upsilon Lambda chapter.14 A number of brothers have also held judgeships including Omicron chapter initiate Judge Paul Simmons, who was President Jimmy Carter’s first African American judicial appointee and the first Black U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Maryland Judge Harry Cole of Delta Lambda.

Brothers have also held government positions internationally particularly in Bermuda. Former Premier of Bermuda E.T. Richards was a member of Epsilon Theta Lambda. Brothers Shawn Crockwell, David Burt, Diallo Rabain, Lawrence Scott, Dr. Vincent Bridgewater, the Hon. Stanley Lowe, Collingwood Burch MCP, Dr. Eustace A. Cann, Hilton G. Hill, II, MBE, and Wayne Caines have also served as members of Bermuda’s government.15

All references from THE HISTORY OF ALPHA PHI ALPHA: ORIGINS OF THE EASTERN REGION

  • [1] History of Beta Pi Lambda
  • [2] History of Rho Omicron Chapter
  • [3] History of Iota Upsilon Lambda
  • [4] History of Omicron Chapter
  • [5] History of Xi Lambda Chapter
  • [6] History of Psi Chapter
  • [7] History of Beta Chapter
  • [8] History of Delta Lambda Chapter
  • [9] History of Zeta Phi Lambda
  • [10] History of Mu Lambda
  • [11] History of Beta Chapter
  • [12] History of Beta Alpha
  • [13] History of Zeta Phi Lambda
  • [14] History of Iota Upsilon Lambda; History of Delta Lambda; History of Omicron Chapter; History of Eta Eta Lambda
  • [15] History of Epsilon Theta Lambda