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The Theta Zeta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is seated in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is home to brothers residing in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and various cities within the Metro-Detroit area.

During the 1960’s, Ann Arbor was largely reflective of the times. However, most African Americans were no longer willing to accept the treatment they had been receiving. Seven of these individuals founded the Theta Zeta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, on January 23, 1962. Ironically, on the same day, Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), baseball’s first African American player was being elected in the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York City.

The seven men, who established the Theta Zeta Lambda Chapter, were from entirely different backgrounds. These founding members were Rev. Lyman S. Parks (1917- ) Pastor, Bethel A.M.E. Church, 1954 to 1964 and the City of Grand Rapids’ first African American Mayor; John L. Ragland (1905-1981) a prominent local attorney and organizer; John Mansfield (1908-1982) Housing Administrator for the United States government and father-in-law of Brother George Goodman who was to later become Mayor of the City of Ypsilanti; Dr. Thomas Bass (1910-1997) a Medical Doctor with a very heavy caseload; Rollins P. Greene (1910-1982) military veteran and educator (i.e., High School principal and University Professor); Booker Brooks (1905-1968) a Social Worker; and Dr. Henry C. Bryant (1915- ) a Pathologist.

The proud African American men rejected the discriminatory practices of the time and encouraged everyone to join in the fight for immediate civil rights. They encountered unfair resistance, just as Jackie Robinson had a decade before. Nevertheless, they persevered and with the assistance of others in the activist community, old restrictions against full employment and open housing for African Americans slowly began to fade throughout the Ann Arbor area.

Theta Zeta Lambda Chapter continues to play a leading role in this community by providing tutoring, recognition for significant achievements as well as scholarships for our youth; by providing food for the truly disadvantage; and by providing voting assistance wherever it is needed.

Our chapter founders are:

  • Dr. Thomas Bass
  • Mr. Booker Brooks
  • Dr. Henry C. Bryant
  • Mr. Rollins P. Greene
  • Mr. John Mansfield
  • Rev. Lyman S. Parks
  • Mr. John L. Ragland