Alpha Eta Lambda was established November 27, 1927, in Prairie View, Texas, for the many college instructors at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) who were Alpha Men. Alpha Eta Lambda (AEL) served the college trained men of Prairie View and Houston who matriculated to colleges around the country, became Alpha men, and eventually returned to Texas.
Alpha Sigma, the first undergraduate chapter in Texas, was established at Wiley College in Marshal Texas. Many of the early members of AEL were graduates of Wiley College. Alpha Eta Lambda was established to serve brothers who desired to maintain a fraternal bond and to fellowship with like-minded individuals. The chapter met in alternate months between Houston and Prairie View. Early chapter presidents were John E. Codwell, Sr. and Dr. Edward Evans, president of PVAMU.
In 1952, Epsilon Tau Lambda Chapter was chartered in Hempstead, Texas. The new chapter near Prairie View allowed AEL to be permanently located in Houston. At the time, the Texas A&M University system did not allow Greek letter organizations on their campuses. Therefore, PVAMU had to relinquish ties to AEL.
Subsequently, AEL has flourished in Houston and became one of the premier chapters in all of Alphadom. Its fraternal presence is felt throughout the Southwest Region of Alpha and is known throughout the country as a welcoming presence to all brothers.
Service to our community is the cornerstone of this great chapter. Brother Vivian Chagois started a tradition of giving Christmas toys to underprivileged children in Houston, and today we celebrate the 56th anniversary of the AEL Toy Dance. In the early 1980s Brother Dave Alexander, a member of the Bronze Eagle Flying Club, started the Alpha Fly as a means of introducing aviation to the African-American children of Houston. In addition, in the early 1970s the Alpha Merit Group Educational Foundation was established, through which thousands of scholarship dollars have flowed to our community.
Alpha Eta Lambda has hosted two national conventions, which were landmark events held in Houston’s most prominent hotels. In 1969, the convention met at the Shamrock Hotel and in 2005, at the Hilton Americas Hotel.
AEL has produced many leaders for Alpha: the 31st General President Brother Henry E. Johnson, Sr., and Regional Vice President Brother Tophas Anderson. Numerous state presidents include, Brother Dr. Forde McWilliams, Horace A. Williams, Gerald W. Joseph, and a number of officers on both the state and national level. One of our notable members, Brother C. Anderson Davis was editor of the Sphinx Magazine and Brother Frank A. Dee served as a National Sergeant of Arms. These are but a few who have proudly answered the call of service.
The house on Ruth Street was purchased in the early 1970s and has become a mainstay of political and social activity in Houston. The members of AEL have served in many leadership capacities in Houston, the state of Texas and the U.S. government. Brother Asbury Butler was the first black male to be elected to the HISD Board of Trustees and was followed by brothers Lawrence Marshal, Kevin Hoffman and Clyde Lemons. Brother Lee P. Brown was the first black mayor of Houston. Soon thereafter, Brother Ronald Green was elected to the city council. Brothers elected to state office include Reps. Al Edwards, Sylvester Turner, and Boris Miles. In the US Congress, Brother Al Green serves Houston proudly today. Brother Samuel Green was the first black postmaster of Houston.
Celebrating 82 years of services is only the beginning for out great chapter. Our motto, First of all, Servants of all, We shall transcend all, resounds in our chapter. The House of Alpha is located at 1519 Ruth Street, Houston, Texas 77004.