About Omega Psi Phi Fraternity,
More Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. History
In 1922, Grand Basileus J. Alston
Atkins appointed the first District Representatives. Today,
there are eleven such officers who are elected annually
at district meetings.
Also in 1922, the office of Vice Grand Basileus was created.
The Grand Keeper of Records became the Grand Keeper of the
Records and Seal. The first Omega Bulletin was published
in 1928 and Campbell C. Johnson was the editor.
Omega Dear," was adopted as the official hymn
in 1931. Charles R. Drew, professor of surgery, and Mercer
Cook, professor of languages, both members of the Howard
faculty, were the composers. Cook wrote the music and first
stanza; Drew wrote the last two stanzas.
Each of the founders graduated and went on to have distinguished
careers in their chosen fields: Edgar Love became a Methodist
bishop; Oscar Cooper practiced medicine in Philadelphia
for over 50 years; Frank Coleman became the chairman of
the Department of Physics at Howard University and Dr. Ernest
E. Just became a world-renowned biologist and a recipient
of the prestige NAACP Spingarn Medal.
The Omega "Sweetheart Song,"
with words and music by Don Q. Pullen, was adopted as the
official sweetheart song by the 1940 Nashville Grand Conclave.
Founder Ernest E. Just entered Omega Chapter in 1941.
In 1941, Charles Drew perfected the use of blood plasma
as a life-saving tool. William Hastie resigned as Civilian
Aide to the Secretary of War in protest against discrimination
in the armed forces. He was later appointed Governor of
the Virgin Islands by President Harry S. Truman.
Since 1945, the fraternity has undertaken a National Social
Action program to meet the needs of African Americans in
the areas of health, housing, civil rights, and education.
In 1949, the first National Headquarters Building at 107
Rhode Island Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. was purchased.
H. Carl Moultrie I, was selected to serve as the first National
Executive Secretary. That same year, the scholarship fund
was renamed in honor of Charles R. Drew.
During this era, social action became Omega’s primary
programmatic thrust. Thousands of Omega men became actively
involved in the fight to eliminate racial discrimination.
The Los Angeles Grand Conclave in 1955 initiated a program
whereby each graduate chapter would purchase a Life Membership
from the NAACP.
Between 1955 and 1959, chapters contributed nearly $40,000
to the NAACP.
The struggle for social justice shifted into high gear. Brothers were active participants in the "sit-ins" and other civil rights demonstrations. Moreover, undergraduate brothers especially were involved in the demonstrative aspect of the civil rights struggle.
In 1961, the Washington, D.C. Grand Conclave highlighted Omega's first 50 years of accomplishments. Founders -- Love, Cooper, and Coleman were present. Thirteen of 23 former Grand Basilei also attended this historic gathering.
It was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for young brothers to mingle with some of the greatest black men that America had produced.
The Golden Anniversary Conclave authorized a $150,000 investment towards the construction of a new national headquarters building in Washington, D.C.
In 1964, the new national headquarters was dedicated. It was a dream come true and was the first building of its type to be built by a black fraternity.
Founders -- Love, Cooper and Coleman participated in the ceremonies. The name was later changed to the International Headquarters and was located at 2714 Georgia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
Founder Frank Coleman entered Omega Chapter in 1967.
The Charlotte Grand Conclave in 1968 mandated a constitutional convention for the revision of the Fraternity's constitution and by-laws as well as the Ritual. That convention was held in Atlanta in 1969.
The newly revised Constitution and
By-Laws and the Ritual went into effective at the close
of the 1970 Pittsburgh Grand Conclave.
H. Carl Moultrie I, Omega’s only National Executive Secretary,
was appointed a judge to the Superior Court of Washington,
D.C., in 1972. Moultrie’s resignation was accepted with
Omega conferred upon Moultrie the title of National Executive
Secretary Emeritus which was later changed to Executive
The Seventies brought more unpleasant news.
Founder Oscar J. Cooper entered Omega Chapter in 1972. Two
years later in 1974, Edgar A. Love, the last surviving founder,
entered Omega Chapter.
On November 16, 1975, an impressive granite monument was
dedicated to the memory of the four founders. The monument
is located near Thirkield Hall, the site of Omega’s birth
place on the Howard University campus.
A revived Life Membership program resulted in a very large
number of new Life Members.
The Atlanta Grand Conclave in 1976 became the largest attended
up to that point. Many new undergraduate chapters were chartered,
because of the increased enrollment of black students at
previously all-white colleges and universities.
Operation Big Vote," was successful in getting
thousands of African-Americans to vote in the 1976 election.
The Denver Grand Conclave in 1979 made a commitment to contribute
$250,000 to the United Negro College Fund over the next
NINETIES AND TODAY
In 1981, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity endowed its first endowed Omega faculty chair at Rust College, Holly Springs, Miss. President W.A. McMillan stated that the chair would be used to promote the humanities.
The 75th Anniversary Grand Conclave celebration was held July 25-Aug. 1, 1986 in Washington, D.C., the city of Omega's birth. It surpassed the previous attendance record.
Grand Basileus Moses C. Norman, Sr., elected at the 1984 Louisville Grand Conclave, appointed a committee to review the structure and operations of the fraternity as a means of future focus.
In 1984, John S. Epps was selected as only the fifth Omega man to serve as Executive Secretary. H. Carl Moultrie I, Executive Secretary Emeritus and Ronald E. McNair, noted Astronaut, entered Omega Chapter.
Don Q. Pullen and W. Mercer Cook also entered Omega Chapter.
C. Tyrone Gilmore Sr. became the 34th Grand Basileus in June 1990. Under his leadership, a site for a new World Center and International Headquarters in Decatur Ga. was identified. Also, complete structure was revamped and the international chapters were transformed into the 13th District.
Dorsey C. Miller Jr., was chosen as the 35th Grand Basileus at the Cleveland Grand Conclave in 1994. Miller's administration closed the sale of the property at 3951 Snapfinger Parkway, which the new international headquarters. The property at 2714 Georgia Ave. N.W. was disposed. The Georgia Avenue location had served as the Fraternity's headquarter for 31 years.
Lloyd J. Jordan, Esq., who had previously served as Grand Counselor, was elected the 36th Grand Basileus at the 70th Grand Conclave in 1998 in New Orleans. S. Earl Wilson executive director in June 2000.
George Grace was elected Grand Basileus in 2002 at the 72nd Grand Conclave in Charlotte, N.C. Grace's administration helped the Fraternity realize financial solvency.
Warren G. Lee Jr., who had once served as the Second Grand Vice Basileus, was elected Grand Basileus in during Little Rock Grand Conclave in 2008. During Lee's tenure, Omega fortified its mission and brought aid and comfort to those in need. Omega men across the United States mentored to the youth, organized various social action programs and donated millions to worthy causes.
In 2010, Dr. Andrew A. Ray was elected the 39th Grand Basileus during the 76th Grand Conclave held in Raleigh, N.C. During his administration, Omega will celebrate it's 100th anniversary with a grand celebration to be held in July 2011 in Washington D.C.
Today, Omega Psi Phi now has over 700 chapters throughout the United States, Bermuda, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany, and Kuwait.
There are many notable Omega Men recognized as leaders in the arts, the sciences, academics, athletics, business, civil rights, education, government, and science sectors at the local, national and international level.
Omega continues to flourish, largely because founders -- Love, Cooper, Coleman and Just -- were men of the very highest ideals and intellect.
The Founders selected and attracted men of similar ideals and characteristics. It is not by accident that many of America's great black men are or were Omega Men.
There are very few Americans whose lives have not been touched by a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is the first international
fraternal organization to be founded on the campus of a historically
Omega Psi Phi was founded on November 17, 1911, at Howard University
in Washington, D.C. The founders were three Howard University undergraduates,
-- Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman. Joining
them was their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just.
From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning, "friendship
is essential to the soul," the name Omega Psi Phi was derived.
That phrase was selected as the motto.
Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift were adopted as Cardinal
On November 23, 1911 in Thirkield Hall, Love became the first Grand
Basileus (National President). Cooper and Coleman were selected
to be the Grand Keeper of the Records (National Secretary) and Grand
Keeper of Seals (National Treasurer), respectively. Eleven Howard
University undergraduate men were selected to be the charter members.
Alpha Chapter was organized with fourteen charter members on December
15, 1911. Love, Cooper and Coleman were elected the chapter’s first
Basileus, Keeper of Records, and Keeper of Seals, respectively.
Cooper became the fraternity’s second Grand Basileus in 1912 and
authorized the investigation of a proposed second chapter at Lincoln
Love was elected as the third Grand Basileus in 1912 and served
In 1912, Howard University officials did not initially recognize
the fraternity as a national organization and Omega Psi Phi’s leadership
refused to only accept local recognition. As a result, the fraternity
operated without official sanction, until the university withdrew
its opposition in 1914, the same year that the Beta Chapter was
chartered at Lincoln University.
Omega Psi Phi was incorporated under the laws of the District of
Columbia on October 28, 1914.
George E. Hall, the fourth Grand Basileus, authorized the establishment
of Gamma Chapter in Boston.
Clarence F. Holmes served as Omega’s sixth Grand Basileus. It was
under his leadership that the Fraternity’s first official hymn,
"Omega Men Draw Nigh," was written by Otto Bohannon.
Stanley Douglas served as editor to the first Oracle published in
the spring of 1919.
Raymond G. Robinson, the seventh Grand Basileus, established Delta
Chapter in Nashville, Tennessee in 1919.
Stanley Douglas served as Editor of the first Oracle published in
the spring of 1919. Robinson left office in 1920 with a total of
ten chapters in operation.
Harold K. Thomas, the eighth Grand Basileus, was elected at the
Nashville Grand Conclave in 1920.
It was at this Conclave that Carter G. Woodson inspired the establishment
of National Achievement Week to promote the study of Negro life
The Atlanta Grand Conclave in 1921 brought to an end the Fraternity’s
Omega built a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its
cardinal principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift.