Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Eta Sigma Lambda Fraternity Records
Identifier/Call Number: MSS-2007-03-01
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Language of Material:
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1970-2000
Date (inclusive): 1965-2008
Records in this collection document the structure, finances, history, culture, and charitable contributions of the Alpha Phi
Alpha alumni chapter Eta Sigma Lambda, which is based in San José, California. Materials of this collection were collected
and donated by Eta Sigma Lambda. Notable materials include documents, pamphlets, and photographs that record the chapter's
involvement with young African American men through programs like Project Alpha.
Vault 1, Range 20A
General Physical Description note:
(8.34 linear feet)
Eta Sigma Lambda
The collection is open for research with the exception of box four. Explicit permission is required to view the contents of
Copyright has been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission
to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication
is given on behalf of the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items
and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Eta Sigma Lambda Fraternity Records, MSS-2007-03-01, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.
Donated by Eta Sigma Lambda in May 2007.
Processed by Daniel L. Jarvis, reviewed by Danelle Moon, encoded by Daniel L. Jarvis.
On December 4, 1906 at the campus of Cornell University, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity earned the distinct honor of being
the first Greek letter college fraternity to be founded by African American men. Nearly 60 years later, eight African-American
men founded the Eta Sigma Lambda (ESL) chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in Palo Alto, California. The founders of
the Eta Sigma Lambda chapter laid the foundation to what would become a socially and charitably vibrant chapter of the Alpha
Phi Alpha Fraternity. The fraternity's vision statement best summarizes the purpose and spirit of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity:
The objectives of this Fraternity shall be: to stimulate the ambition of its members; to prepare them for the greatest usefulness
in the causes of humanity, freedom, and dignity of the individual; to encourage the highest and noblest form of manhood; and
to aid down-trodden humanity in its efforts to achieve higher social, economic and intellectual status.
Since their inception, ESL has raised thousands of dollars to fund scholarships that aide minority college students and the
United Negro College Fund. In addition to their financial generosity, ESL has also provided innumerable hours of service to
communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. At many junctures ESL has collaborated with other socially conscience organizations
to raise awareness of social issues or to implement fundraising events. Such organizations have included the United Negro
College Fund, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the March of Dimes, Martin Luther King
Jr. Freedom Train Ride, and the American Cancer Society.
To this day, one of the most sucessful collaborative ventures has been a joint effort between ESL and The March of Dimes.
Since 1980, both have implemented Project Alpha, a program that has educated hundreds of young men on manhood, safe sex, and
The Eta Sigma Lambda chapter has also proven to be a vibrant and active participant in Alpha Phi Alpha events. In 1965, 1976,
1984, 1990, & 2002, ESL hosted regional Alpha Phi Alpha conventions, and in 1987 co-hosted the national convention in San
Francisco. For their commendable role in both their community and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, ESL received the NAACP 2002
Social Justice Award and won the Regional Alumni Chapter of the Year Award in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1994 and 2002.
A singular, yet memorable project that ESL planned is Project Olympus. With the guidance of late community leader and ESL
member Tracy Wilson, Eta Sigma Lambda helped underprivileged youth attend the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
Over the years, numerous members of ESL have lived out the Alpha Phi Alpha spirit by striving to establish not only distinguished
careers, but to actively contribute to the betterment of society through involvement in other organizations and government
entities. In 1987 Haymon Jahi played a key role in coordinating the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Train event, which
provided people of all ages an outlet to celebrate the first national observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Between 1987-2000,
ESL member Wilbur Jackson served as the Regional Project Alpha Coordinator; and in 2001, Jackson was appointed as the National
Coordinator of Project Alpha by General President Harry Johnson. At varying intervals, ESL members Charles McClinton, Louis
Wilson, and Tom Schumake served on the Santa Clara Civil Grand Jury from 1994 to 1997, and from 2000 to 2007, Rick Callender
served as President of the San José Branch of the NAACP.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Eta Sigma Lambda Fraternity Records document over 40 years of chapter history. The chapter has supported education through
scholarships, mentoring, and other initiatives through the years. Records in this collection consist of local records from
Eta Sigma Lambda, as well as regional and national level records. The collection is comprised of administrative files, financial
records, member records, publicity and outreach materials, printed matter, photographs, and ephemera. This collection documents
the structure, finances, history, culture, and activities of the Eta Sigma Lambda chapter. As a whole, this collection also
serves as a history of the community service and leadership Eta Sigma Lambda has provided in the Santa Clara County and beyond.
This collection is arranged in three series: I. Administrative files, 1974-2008; II. Publicity, Outreach, and Printed Matter,
1965-2008; III. Photos, Memorabilia, and Ephemera, 1962-2006.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity -- History
African Americans -- California -- 20th century
Greek letter societies -- California -- Santa Clara County
Men -- California -- Palo Alto -- Societies and clubs