Omega Psi Phi

Omega Psi Phi
Omega Psi Phi
Founded November 17, 1911 (1911-11-17) (100 years ago)
Howard University
Type Social
Emphasis Service
Scope International
Motto Friendship is Essential to the Soul
Colors      Royal Purple
     Old Gold
Symbol Lamp
Publication Oracle
Chapters 750+
Nickname Omegas, Ques, Sons of Blood and Thunder, Omega Men, Da Bruhz, Q Dogs,
Headquarters Decatur, Georgia, United States of America
Homepage Omega Psi Phi Fraternity website

Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) is a fraternity and is the first African-American national fraternal organization to be founded at a historically black college. Omega Psi Phi was founded on November 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C.. The founders were three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Each of the founders graduated and went on to have distinguished careers in their chosen fields: Bishop Edgar Amos Love became Bishop of the United Methodist Church; Dr. Oscar James Cooper became a prominent physician, who practiced in Philadelphia for over 50 years; Professor Frank Coleman became the Chairman of the Department of Physics at Howard University for many years; and Dr. Ernest E. Just became a world-renowned biologist.

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.

The fraternity has worked to build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. In 1927, at the urging of fraternity member Carter G. Woodson, the fraternity made National Negro Achievement Week an annual observance and it continues today as Black History Month.

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. Omega Psi Phi has been a patron of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since 1955, providing an annual gift of $50,000 to the program. Omega Psi Phi is a National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) member.



Ernest Everett Just, Founder of Omega Psi Phi.

Omega Psi Phi fraternity, was the first national African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black college when it was established on November 17, 1911, at Howard University. Howard University did not initially recognize the fraternity as a national organization and Omega Psi Phi's leadership refused to only accept local recognition for the organization.[citation needed] So, 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.[citation needed] Omega Psi Phi was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia on October 28, 1914.[1] By 1920, the fraternity had 10 chapters.

Omega Psi Phi celebrated its centennial during the week of July 27-31, 2011 in Washington D.C., becoming distinguished as only the third African-American collegiate fraternity to reach the century mark.[2]

Internationally Mandated Programs

The Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi in 1912.

Each Chapter administers Internationally Mandated Programs every year:[3]

Achievement Week – A week in November that seeks to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to society. During the Achievement Week, a High School Essay Contest is held and the winner usually receives a scholarship award.

Scholarship – The Scholarship Program is to encourage academic progress among the organizations undergraduate members. A portion of the fraternity's budget is designated for the Charles R. Drew Scholarship Commission, which awards scholarships to members and non-members.

Social Action Programs – All chapters are required to participate in programs that uplift their society. Many participate in activities like: voter registration, illiteracy programs, mentoring programs, fundraisers, and charitable organizations such as American Diabetes Association, United Way, and the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.

Talent Hunt Program – Each chapter is required to hold a yearly talent contest, to encourage young people to expose themselves to the Performing Arts. Individuals who win these talent contests receive an award, such as a scholarship.

Omega Psi Phi chapter members marching in an Independence Day parade, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Memorial Service – March 12 is Omega Psi Phi Memorial Day. Every chapter of the Fraternity performs a ritualistic memorial service to remember members who have died.

Reclamation and Retention – This program is an effort to encourage inactive members to become fully active and participate in the fraternity's programs.

College Endowment Funds – The fraternity donates thousands of dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities each year.

Health Initiatives – Chapters are required to coordinate programs that will encourage good health practices. Programs that members involve themselves in include HIV/AIDS awareness, blood drives, prostate cancer awareness, and sickle cell anemia awareness programs.

Voter Registration, Education and Motivation – Coordination activities that promote voter registration and mobilization.

NAACP – A Life Membership at Large in the NAACP is required by all chapters and districts.[4]


Jesse Jackson Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., July 1983.

Today, Omega Psi Phi 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[1] . Some of these men include Executive Directors of the NAACP Roy Wilkins and Benjamin Hooks; the former President of the National Urban League, Vernon Jordan; Dr. Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., the first Black to serve in the US Astronaut Program; the first black graduate of Columbus State University and C.E.O of Decatur Capital Management, Ralph J. Bryant; and President & CEO of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Jesse Jackson. Two former governors William H. Hastie (U.S. Virgin Islands) and L. Douglas Wilder (Virginia), and numerous presidents of colleges and universities are members. NBA basketball players Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal,and Vince Carter are also members of this fraternity. Earl Graves, who is a graduate of Morgan State University, which hosts the Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, is the owner and editor and chief of Black Enterprise magazine. Tom Joyner, as well as the well-known comedian, actor, and radio hosts Steve Harvey and Rickey Smiley are also members.

Omega Psi Phi recognizes undergraduate and graduate membership. College students must be working toward a bachelor's degree at a four-year institution, have at least 30 semester credits, [1] and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average. For the graduate chapter, an applicant must already possess a bachelor's degree. The fraternity grants honorary membership to men who have contributed to society in a positive way on a national or international level.[5] For example, Charles Young (March 12, 1864 – January 2, 1922) was the third African American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, the first African American military attaché, and the highest ranking black officer (Colonel) in the United States Army until his death in 1922.

National Pan-Hellenic Council membership

In 1930, Omega Psi Phi became one of 5 founding members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). Today, the NPHC is composed of nine international black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities and promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.[6]

Grand Basilei

Name Order Time in Office Ref.
Edgar Amos Love 1st Grand Basileus 1911–1912 [7][8]
Oscar J. Cooper 2nd Grand Basileus 1912–1913 [7][8]
Edgar Amos Love 3rd Grand Basileus 1913–1915 [7][8]
George E. Hall 4th Grand Basileus 1915–1916 [7][8]
James C. McMorries 5th Grand Basileus 1916–1917 [7][8]
Clarence F. Holmes 6th Grand Basileus 1917–1918 [7][8][9]
Raymond G. Robinson 7th Grand Basileus 1918–1920 [7][8][10]
Harold K. Thomas 8th Grand Basileus 1920–1921 [7][8]
J. Alston Atkins 9th Grand Basileus 1921–1924 [8][11][12]
John W. Love 10th Grand Basileus 1924[a] [8]
George E. Vaughn 11th Grand Basileus 1924–1926 [8][11]
Julius S. McClain 12th Grand Basileus 1926–1929 [8][10][13]
Matthew W. Bullock 13th Grand Basileus 1929–1932 [8]
Lawrence A. Oxley 14th Grand Basileus 1932–1935 [8][14]
William Baugh 15th Grand Basileus 1935–1937 [8][15]
Albert W. Dent 16th Grand Basileus 1937–1940 [8][15]
Z. Alexander Looby 17th Grand Basileus 1940–1945 [8][11][16]
Campbell C. Johnson 18th Grand Basileus 1945–1947 [8]
Harry T. Penn 19th Grand Basileus 1947–1949 [8]
Milo C. Murray 20th Grand Basileus 1949–1951 [8]
Grant Reynolds 21st Grand Basileus 1951–1953 [8][11][17]
John F. Potts 22nd Grand Basileus 1953–1955 [8][18][19]
Herbert E. Tucker, Jr. 23rd Grand Basileus 1955–1958 [8][20]
I. Gregory Newton 24th Grand Basileus 1958–1961 [8][14]
Cary D. Jacobs 25th Grand Basileus 1961–1964 [8][21]
George E. Meares 26th Grand Basileus 1964–1967 [11]
Ellis F. Corbett 27th Grand Basileus 1967–1970 [22]
James Avery 28th Grand Basileus 1970–1973 [21][23]
Marion Garnett 29th Grand Basileus 1973–1976 [24][25][26]
Dr. Edward Braynon, Jr. 30th Grand Basileus 1976–1979 [23][27][28][29]
Burnel E. Coulon 31st Grand Basileus 1979−1982 [23][28][30]
Dr. L. Benjamin Livingston 32nd Grand Basileus 1982–1984 [31]
Dr. Moses C. Norman 33rd Grand Basileus 1984–1990 [28][32][23]
Dr. C. Tyrone Gilmore, Sr 34th Grand Basileus 1990–1994 [7][23][28]
Dr. Dorsey Miller 35th Grand Basileus 1994–1998 [7][23][28]
Lloyd Jordan, Esq. 36th Grand Basileus 1998–2002 [7][23][28]
George H. Grace 37th Grand Basileus 2002–2006 [23]
Warren G. Lee 38th Grand Basileus 2006–2010 [28]
Dr. Andrew A. Ray 39th Grand Basileus 2010–Current [33]

a. Finished unexpired term of Atkins[8]

List of Omega Psi Phi Grand Conclaves

"Unofficial" practices

Like many fraternal organizations, Omega Psi Phi has a rich tradition of terminology and practices that are officially unsanctioned by their national leadership. While some traditions are naturally secret, many are freely expressed in public. A popular one is referring to members as "Q Dogs" or "Ques" for short.[34] Another is the practice of members voluntarily undergoing branding of the letters, or variations and designs based on them (such as two linked Omega symbols), on their skin. The brands often are displayed in public as a matter of pride; some new members first learn of the fraternity by seeing members bearing brands.[35]


  1. ^ a b "Omega History". Omega Psi Phi. Retrieved 2006-09-30. [dead link]
  2. ^ Jenkins,, Chris L. (27 July 2011). "Omega Psi Phi brothers celebrate centennial at D.C. birthplace". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Internationally Mandated Programs". Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  4. ^ "Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Official Website". OPPF. Retrieved 2006-09-30. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Official Membership Page". OPPFMembership. Retrieved 2006-10-01. [dead link]
  6. ^ "National Pan-Hellenic Council Aboutpage". NPHC. Retrieved 2006-08-15. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Omega History
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Robert L. Gill, The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Men Who Made Its History; A Concise History;, The Official History of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., 1911–1961], pp. 83–84
  9. ^ About Charles F. Holmes
  10. ^ a b Epsilon history
  11. ^ a b c d e Legendary 5th History
  12. ^ My virtual paper entry
  13. ^ Rho Phi chapter history
  14. ^ a b Accomplishments of Beta Phi Brothers
  15. ^ a b 9th District History
  16. ^ Omega Psi Phi – John H. Williams Historical Museum
  17. ^ Cincinnati Ques
  18. ^ "Black Sororities and Fraternities". Ebony (Johnson): 113. September 1993. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  19. ^ "Omicron Chi History". Omega Psi Phi, Omicron Chi chapter. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  20. ^ Omega Bulletin Spring 2007
  21. ^ a b Omega Life Membership
  22. ^ Lambda Omega chapter history
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Omega's Clarion Call Summer 2007
  24. ^ Eta Nu History
  25. ^ Alpha Omega Chapter History
  26. ^ University of Florida Yearbook 2003 Omega Psi Phi
  27. ^ 7th district history
  28. ^ a b c d e f g 74th Grand Conclave Report
  29. ^ History of Zeta Phi chapter
  30. ^ Psi Alpha Alpha History
  31. ^ Sigma Alpha Ques, about us
  32. ^ Eta Omega milestones
  33. ^ [ Message from the Grand Basileus
  34. ^ ""Q Dog" via Google Search returns Omega Psi Phi". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  35. ^ Sandra Mizumoto Posey (2004). "Burning Messages". Voices (New York Folklore Society) 30 (Fall–Winter). Retrieved 14 April 2011. 

External links

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