Eta Tau Lambda Chapter has a long and engaging history in the city of Akron. Its roots can be traced back to the establishment of the Alpha Tau, the college chapter of the fraternity chartered at the University of Akron on May 9, 1925. Once brothers graduated from the University of Akron, they began families and prosperous careers in the Akron area, while maintaining connections with other brothers from Alpha Tau and other college chapters whose members settled in the area.
In the late 1950’s, this group of brothers decided to form a more structured group to support the Akron community and the college chapter at the university. This led to the establishment of the Eta Tau Lambda alumni chapter’s establishment on August 23, 1960. The charter members were:
- Robert L. Brown
- John H. Brown
- Robert P. Smith
- Paul Winters
- Raymond R. Brown
- Reuben Collins
- Clarence Irby
- Dr. Allen F. Killings
- Dr. M.C. McNeil
- Robert Morrison+
- James Rushin
- George Shadie
- E. Bruce Tate, Sr.
- Dr. Robert S. Smith
- E. James Peake
- David Wilson
+ Bro. Morrison is the only living charter member.
Since the beginning, the members of Eta Tau Lambda have supplied the voice, leadership, and advocacy for our community. The brothers held many NAACP and Urban League leadership positions.
Members of the chapter also served as instrumental leaders in the community advocating for families and low-income residents. The pinnacle of their effort was realized through the Federal Housing Act of 1963, which prepared the way for an ambitious housing development headed by the Eta Tau Lambda brothers. From this ambitious effort birthed Alpha Phi Alpha Homes, Inc. a non-profit corporation, Alpha Homes are dedicated to providing affordable housing options for low-income and senior citizen resident.
Channelwood Village was transformed from a dream to a reality through the persistent work started by this chapter. The 551-unit housing complex is located in Opportunity Park on the South side of Akron. Financed at a cost of $11.4 million, it was a major accomplishment for a chapter only ten years old. Groundbreaking for Channelwood Village began on October 29, 1971, with first occupants moving in late the next year. The formal dedication of the village was held on October 28, 1973, a proud day for the Alpha brothers.
By 1969, Brother James R. Williams was elected Akron’s second Black councilman at large. During the 1960’s, many other brothers were recipients of many awards within the city; this remains true today. In the 1970s, Brother James R. Williams was elected as the General President (national president). His election, the leadership in affordable housing among other efforts has cemented the chapter into prominence within the national organization.
In 1975, chapter established a scholarship program were nine high school seniors, who demonstrated high financial need, were selected that first year to receive $6,000 in a college scholarship. Since this time, the chapter has assisted more than 300 students with awards surpassing $650,000. This continues to be one of the chapter’s cornerstone project each year.
Both the fraternity and Akron community has benefited from the leadership of brothers of the Eta Tau Lambda Chapter since it’s founding in 1960. Three times, the chapter has been named Chapter of the Year by the national organization, 1973, 1979, and 1990. Additionally, the several brothers in the chapter have held leadership posts in the District of Ohio, Midwest Region and general organization. This has earned many of the honors and awards from all of those levels.
In 2014, Eta Tau Lambda Chapter established the Alpha Core of Excellence Mentoring Program. This program serves Black boys between the ages of 12-18 to provide mentorship and guidance around the pillars of academic success, community service, personal development, and manhood.
Eta Tau Lambda Chapter and its members remain ever resolute about serving the Akron community and remaining at the forefront of service.