Chapter History

During the fall of 1947, Brother Bennie Brown, General Secretary of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., came to Fort Valley, Georgia for the purpose of establishing an Alpha alumni chapter to serve Alpha Phi Alpha brothers residing in Fort Valley, Macon and surrounding Middle Georgia areas. The chapter was given the name - Gamma Sigma Lambda. The founding brothers were: William Anderson, Harvey Bannister, Waldo Blanchet, Sr., Alonzo M. Boddie, William Duval, Maulvin Engram, Charles H. Hutchings, III, Frank J. Hutchings, Sr., William S. Hutchings, II, Earl Pierro, Raymond Pitts, Willis B. Sheftall, and Robert J. Williams.

Over the next two years more brothers established residence in each city, and it was felt that each locality could support a chapter. A request was sent to the General Office of the Fraternity asking that a second chapter be commissioned. In 1949 the original chapter remained in Fort Valley and the new chapter in Macon was assigned the name Epsilon Beta Lambda. Nine men became the founding brothers of Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter. They were: Alonzo Mills Boddie, William Duval, Charles H. Hutchings, III, Frank J. Hutchings, Sr., William S. Hutchings, II, Willie H. Odom, Jr., Cassander Sellers, Willis B. Sheftall, and Robert J. Williams.

Founding Brothers

Brother Frank J. Hutchings, Sr.

Brother Frank J. Hutchings, Sr., a veteran brother of the fraternity, gave his approval for meetings to be held at the Hutchings Funeral Home since the Macon brothers did not have a permanent meeting place or a fraternity house. Brother Frank Hutchings was also elected the first president of the newly formed Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter. The regular meetings were held at this establishment and social meetings were held at the Duck Inn on Riverside Drive. Joint functions continued to be held between Gamma Sigma Lambda and Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapters. In 1979 the home of prominent Macon physician Dr. Relliford Stillmon Smith was for sale. The chapter members united their efforts and agreed to purchase the property located at 566 Monroe Street. Dr. Smith had the home built in 1927 and paid for it in cash at the time of completion. Dr. Smith was an active member of Lambda Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Brother Frank J. Hutchings, Sr., a Founder and first President of Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter, was truly a man who embraced the traditions of liberty and fraternity. To know the man one must have a profound measure of intense consciousness, a genuine desire to help the down trodden and an acute sense of commitment. "Honesty, integrity, precision and promptness" were Brother Hutchings' philosophy, according to his son, Brother William S. Hutchings, III. The youngest of six children, he was born August 10, 1893 in Macon, Georgia. He attended the Hazel Street and Green Street schools. A believer in the importance of furthering one's education, Brother Hutchings received his high school diploma from the Haines Institute in Augusta. In 1914 he entered Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and graduated with an AB degree. He pledged and was initiated in Nu Chapter between 1915 and 1916. When he returned to Macon in 1920, he involved himself in the family's funeral business. Two years later he married the former Carita Savage. Their union produced six children: Gloria Hutchings, Carita H. Berkley, Gertie H. Allison, Brother Charles H. Hutchings, III, Frank J. Hutchings, Jr., and Brother William "Bill" S. Hutchings, Sr. Often referred to as the "human archives". Brother Hutchings had the uncanny ability to remember precise information about people, places and things, about Macon. He attended and was an elder at the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church of more than 50 years. He was a charter member and Founder of the Homosophian Club. Other accomplishments include Charter member and Founder of the Funeral Service Practitioners Association, member and past District Governor of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association. A veteran of World War I, he held the rank of sergeant in the army. During World War II he was head of the Savings Bond Division and a former captain of the Macon Auxiliary Police who were frequently seen patrolling the streets during the blackouts of World War II. An early advocate for improved educational facilities for Blacks in Macon during the 1930's, he was a charter member of the Macon Branch of the NAACP. Additionally, he was an honorary lifetime member of the United Givers Fund of Macon, Bibb County, former Alumni Trustee of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, a charter member and board member Emeritus of the Booker T. Washington Community Center, and was the recipient of th Central Georgia Council Boy Scouts of America Guardian of Scouting Award. Known as "Mr. Civil Rights of Macon, Georgia", Brother Hutchings was arrested in 1946 for distributing sample ballots during a voter education project. According to the late County Commissioner Mr. William C. Randall, Sr., Brother Hutchings as the one person that Black citizens in Macon could turn to. His signature appeared on many bonds of freed jailed demonstrators. In 1961, after savings two Freedom Riders from jail, he took them home for the night. He was well-established a figure in the community to become a target of violence. There were threatening phone calls and letters but never more than that according to his son, Brother Bill Hutchings. There is no conclusion to the legacy left by our beloved Brother and Founder, Mr. Frank J. Hutchings, Sr. His 62 years of service to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Epsilon Beta Lambda chapter are appreciated and revered. He truly fulfilled the aims of our fraternity and chapter.

Brother Dr. Alonzo Mills Boddie

Brother Dr. Alonzo Mills Boddie was born in Milledgeville, Georgia in 1924 to the late Dr. J.F. Boddie, Sr. and Mrs. Clyde Wilkins Boddie. He received his education from a private tutor through the second grade. He attended Maude Williams Private School for grades 3 and 4. Dr. Boddie spent the remainder of his secondary school years at Eddie High School and graduated in 1940. He attended Fisk University and received the MD degree from Maharry Medical College in 1948. An internship was served a Hubbard Hospital. He was a member of Wesley Chapel AME Church, the Baldwin County Medical Association, national Medical Association, and AFP. The Dr. Alonzo M. Boddie Memorial Fund was established in his honor at Baldwin County Hospital.

Brother Dr. Charles H. Hutchings, III

Brother Dr. Charles H. Hutchings, III was born in Macon to Brother Frank J. and Mrs. Carita Savage Hutchings. He attended Bibb County Public Schools. He received a bachelor's degree in biology from Lincoln University and was a 1947 graduate of the Howard University School of Dentistry. A former captain in the U.S. Air Force, he was an elder at Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church. Brother Dr. Hutchings' dental practice spanned 43 years.

Brother Willis Braswell Sheftall, Sr.

Brother Willis Braswell Sheftall, Sr., a native of Macon, was born November 13, 1907 to Charles and Minnie Sheftall. He was a graduate of Ballard Normal High School He received the AB degree in Sociology at Lincoln University in 1930. At Lincoln he pledged and was initiated into Nu Chapter between 1927 and 1929. After serving as recreational administrator for the WPA for several post college years, Brother Sheftall became Founding Director of the Booker T. Washington Community Center in 1939. His marriage to the late Cleona Campbell Sheftall in 1942 was quickly followed by service in the military during World War II. He was a lifelong member of the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder and treasurer. He also served on the Bibb County Board of Elections. Brother Sheftall was honored for serving more than 50 years as Director of the Booker T. Washington Community Center. He died in February 1995.

Brother William Duval

Brother William Duval was initiated into Alpha Omicron in 1937. He attended Johnson C. Smith University where he earned a BS degree in Sociology. He is a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Brother Duvall is semi-retired. He, together with some of his son are owners of Paul Duval and Son Upholsterers. He is married to Velma.

Brother William S. "Bill" Hutchings, Sr.

Brother William S. "Bill" Hutchings, Sr. was initiated into Nu Chapter in 1943 and is one of the living founders of Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter. He is a graduate of Lincoln University where he earned an AB degree in Biology. He is presently married to Betty Hutchings. Brother Hutchings is actively involved in the following activities: Macon 2000, Macon Community foundation, Central Georgia Council Boy Scouts of America and the Downtown Rotary. He is a member of the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church. He is a Funeral Director at Hutchings Funeral Home, a family business.

Brother Willie "Bill" Odom

Brother Willie "Bill" Odom was initiated into Alpha Chi Chapter in 1946 and is one of the living founders of Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter. He is a graduate of Fisk University. Brother Odom is a retired US Post Master and is presently President, Bibb County School Board. He is a member of the Macon 2000 Committee, the Chamber of Commerce and the Macon Community Foundation.

Brother Robert J. Williams

Brother Robert J. Williams was initiated into Alpha Rho Chapter in 1943 and is one of the living founders of Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter. Brother Williams is a retired Deputy Superintendent of Bibb County Public Schools. He is a graduate of Morehouse College where he earned a degree in Business Administration. He furthered his education at Atlanta University, were he earned a Masters Degree in Guidance Counseling Education Administration and Supervision. Brother Williams is a member of Allen Chapel AME Church, Urban Development Authority, Macon Economic Development Commission Board, Macon Heritage Foundation, and African Methodist Church Lay Organization.

Brother Cassander Woodliff Sellers

Brother Cassander Woodliff Sellers was born February 26, 1903 in Macon, Georgia. He was the son of the late Mr. Cassander Nunes Sellers and Mrs. Mildred Sellers King. Brother Seller's father was the first Black Lawyer in Macon. He attended the public schools of Bibb County. After high school he matriculated to Talladega College in Alabama but was kicked out because he tried to start an Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter. He transferred to Morehouse College and was a founding member of Alpha Rho Chapter which was chartered January 5, 1924. Brother Sellers received a BA degree in Business from Morehouse in 1926. He was employed as a cashier at the Middle Georgia Savings and Investment Company. At the time of his death, Brother Sellers was District Manager of the Pilgrim Insurance Company in Albany, Georgia. Prior to that he had retired from the US Postal Service. He attended the First Congregational Church and was a member of the Homosophian Club. Brother Sellers died unexpectedly on July 21, 1958 in Albany.