- Faith & Family
On November 19, 1937, eight visionary men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. founded the Beta Beta Lambda [(BBL] chapter in Miami. On that Friday evening, Brothers Dr. Felix Butler, MD, Dr. Nathaniel Colston, MD, Dr. Ira P. Davis, DDS, Dr. Aaron Goodman, MD, Dr. Samuel H. Johnson, MD, Frederick Johnson and Leo A. Lucas met at the home of Bro. Dr. William H. Murrell, DDS for what was described as “quite a grand and glorious occasion for all of the brothers present.” The then Southern Regional Vice-President, Bro. Charles W. Greene, conducted the ceremony, giving birth to Florida’s second graduate chapter and cultivating what has become 75 years of leadership, activism, brotherhood and community service to the Greater Miami area. Until 1937, Upsilon Lambda in Jacksonville was the only graduate chapter in Florida, mostly attracting brothers who had graduated from Florida Normal and Industrial Institute (now Florida Memorial University) in nearby St. Augustine. For South Florida brothers, the thought of commuting to meetings across the state was impractical. They wanted their own chapter in Miami that would not only serve Dade County, but also serve the surrounding counties. The eight founders also felt that a local chapter would strengthen ties with the national organization, encourage undergraduate brothers to continue their fraternal affiliation, and inspire other fraternities and sororities to establish local chapters. The brothers of BBL wasted little time celebrating Alpha’s newest graduate chapter. On Saturday, November 20, 1937, the founders held South Florida’s first dance party hosted by a Greek letter organization. The affair took place at the Liberty Square Auditorium in Liberty City. Bro. Dr. Felix Butler was the first chapter president. The first chapter secretary, Bro. Frederick L. Johnson, summarized the evening in a letter to the editor of the Sphinx magazine, saying: “Tonight there is a new star in the Alpha horizon — Beta Beta Lambda is born.”
Seventy-five years later, the Alphas will mark their Diamond Anniversary with events going on from Monday, Nov. 5th through Sunday, Nov. 11th. Their premier event, the 75th Anniversary Gala will be on Saturday, Nov. 10th at the Trump Doral Golf Resort and Spa, featuring Grammy-nominated R&B singer Eric Roberson. Beta Beta Lambda Chapter is a five-time National Chapter of the Year; three-time host chapter for the National Convention; home of the 1994 Brother of the Year and has positioned itself as one of Greater Miami’s leading non-profit organizations. The Chapter’s new president is Anderson Eldridge III.
For more information go to www.betabetalambda.org.
Miami Times staff report