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Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Records
    creator: Eta Sigma Lambda
    creator: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2007.03.01
    Physical Description: 10.0 boxes (8.34 linear feet)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1970-2000
    Date (inclusive): 1965-2008
    Abstract: 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.


    The collection is open for research with the exception of box four. Explicit permission is required to view the contents of box four.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Records, MSS-2007-03-01, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by Wilbur Jackson in May 2007.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Daniel L. Jarvis, reviewed by Danelle Moon, encoded by Daniel L. Jarvis.

    Organizational History

    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 sexual responsibility.
    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, and 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 Alpha Phi Alpha 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 four series: I. Administrative files, 1974-2008; II. Publicity, Outreach, and Printed Matter, 1965-2008; III. Photos, Memorabilia, and Ephemera, 1962-2006; IV. Project Alpha and Contacts, 1985-2006.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Greek letter societies -- California -- Santa Clara County
    African American Greek letter societies
    Eta Sigma Lambda
    Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity