Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (ΑΦΑ) officially chartered the Iota Upsilon Lambda Chapter (ΙΥΛ) on December 13, 1970. The ceremony was held in the Gold Room of the Washington Motel & Country Club in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Ten officers were installed and 33 charter members were present. Past National President Belford V. Lawson presented the official charter and Charles H. Wesley was the keynote speaker for the charter ceremony.
The first attempt to organize a chapter in Montgomery County was December 1967. A visit to the Mu Lambda Chapter of Washington DC provided the motivation for Brother Hatchel and Brother Andrew Klugh to pursue the formation of a chapter in Montgomery County. Brother Hatchel hosted the first meeting at his home in Rockville after having obtained a list of new Alphas in Montgomery County from Brother Hanley Norment. The meeting was attended by 15 Brothers but the Brothers’ interest at forming a chapter was low at the time. However, this meeting laid the foundation of ΙΥΛ.
Brother Hatchel held another meeting in his home in Silver Spring on July 9, 1970 where nine brothers were present. The Brothers continued the dialogue and held subsequent meetings about forming a chapter . In the fall of 1970, a formal application was submitted and approved by the General Organization. ΙΥΛ became the Washington DC area’s fourth Alumni Chapter, a prominent chapter in the fraternity and community.
The first elected officers were: President, Werten F.W. Bellamy, Vice President; Hanley Normant; Corresponding Secretary, Robert Hatchel; and Treasurer Robert Turnquest. President Werten served for only one year. In its second year of existence, Brother Hatchel was elected chapter president. He served as President from 1971 – 1974, during which time ΙΥΛ established the Iota Zeta chapter at University of Maryland, College Park, and Kappa Phi Lambda chapter in Columbia Maryland and ΙΥΛ its first National Chapter of the Year Award. This honor was subsequently achieved by the next three chapter presidents: Hanley Norment, Kenneth Clark and John Diggs.
ΙΥΛ aligned itself with other community organizations, such as the NAACP, Black Voters League, Montgomery County Pan Hellenic Council, Blacks United for Excellence in Education (BUEE) and others that supported political awareness and public service initiatives. ΙΥΛ Brothers served in leadership roles in these organizations motivated to improve community relations within Montgomery County. Program and activities which consistently brought ΙΥΛ national recognition include, publishing two editions of an African-American business directory, sponsoring a program to honor African-American business persons, finding summer jobs for African-American youth, conducting voter registration/educations programs, conducting crime prevention efforts, sponsoring student financial aid workshops, awarding over $400,000 in scholarship assistance, successfully lobbying the US Congress and Senate to make the birthday of Brother Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a County and National holiday, initiating a memorial breakfast in Brother Dr. King’s name, and inspiring and leading the movement 1984 to place a monument in Brother Dr. Martin Luther King’s honor on the National Mall.
ΙΥΛ's determination to improve the lives and circumstances of its fellow citizens did not go unnoticed by the General Organization. In 1974, when the Chapter was only four years old, the Eastern region of the Fraternity honored the Montgomery County Chapter for an Outstanding Service and Leadership in the Community". At its national convention in San Francisco later that year, the General Organization acclaimed ΙΥΛ “Most Outstanding Alumni Chapter of the Year", a distinction the Chapter received seven times during its first 12 years; 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1981. It has similarly been honored as the Region’s top alumni chapter for 12 years. Also, the Chapter has had two Brothers who have been personally recognized as A National Man of the Year: Hanley Norment in 1976 and Lynwood Randolph in 1995. In addition, four Brothers have received the Eastern Region Award of Merit: Russell Campbell, Sr., Anthony Cheatham, Michael Smith, and Langston Smith.
From the groundwork of service laid during the 1970's and early 1980's, ΙΥΛ enjoyed considerable confidence and influence within the County. During one four-year period of the 1985-1995 decade, ΙΥΛ listed among its membership a County Council member and chair, the Police Chief and three other County cabinet officers, the Superintendent of Public Schools, a Circuit Court Judge, the president of the NAACP, and the president of the SCLC. When ΙΥΛ members stepped forward and offered themselves for policy-making and implementing positions, the people and public officials responded with appropriate expressions of confidence.
ΙΥΛ was recognized several times as the NAACP’s “Outstanding Community Organization” and also became an early NAACP Golden Heritage Member. ΙΥΛ was recognized for honoring African-American service men and women for their contribution to the resolution of World War II. News publications in the Washington Post, Washington Afro-American, Sentinel and Montgomery Gazette frequently highlight ΙΥΛ’s accomplishments. The most recent article entitled, “King Memorial idea was born in Silver Spring” was published in the Washington Post as the nation prepared for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument on the Tidal Basin at the National Mall.