"Virginia's Oldest & Coldest." | Est. April 3rd, 1920

Founded in 1920 by nine men of impeccable character, the Zeta Lambda Chapter aims to be the most effective service and social fraternity chapter in the world.
Picture: Zeta Lambda

The Zeta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is the twenty-seventh House of Alpha (chapter) in the fraternity and the sixth alumni chapter. Zeta Lambda is seated in Newport News, Virginia.

The chapter was charted on April 3rd, 1920 and is oldest alumni chapter in the state. Zeta Lambda is only eclipsed by the Gamma Chapter, chartered in 1907 at Virginia Union University.

Zeta Lambda was established in Norfolk, Virginia and was initially composed of brothers from Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Berkley, and the surrounding districts. Then General Secretary of the fraternity, Brother Norman L. McGhee chartered the chapter and a delegation from the Gamma Chapter was present at its chartering ceremony. 


George W.C. Brown
Samuel F. Coppage
James W. Johnson
Ashley D. Manning
George R. Mallory
William T. Mason, Sr.
Charlie G. Owens
Harry S. Stanback
Arthur J. Wells


April 3, 1920. Norfolk, VA

Lutrelle F. Palmer

Picture: USC Museum of Education

Picture: USC Museum of Education

No history of the Zeta Lambda chapter can be complete without recognizing our “Giant” Big Brother, Bro. Lutrelle F. Palmer. Bro. Palmer’s influence was a dominant force for Alpha in Virginia in the early 1920’s. Through his influence Zeta Lambda moved from Norfolk to it's longstanding home in Newport News, Virginia.

Bro. Palmer was an engaged man in the Tidewater community, he served as Executive Secretary for the Virginia Negro Teacher’s Association, he played a major role in developing Huntington High School and a longtime principal there. Among many acts of service, Bro. Palmer is remembered for successfully fighting for equal salaries for black and white teachers in Newport News.