ABOUT OMEGA

Amid a growing concern about the proliferation of black activist groups and further independence from repression through education four great men would revolutionize the fraternity world forever. Aided by the assistance of a history making Professor Dr. Ernest E. Just, three incredibly versatile and vigilant young men formed Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated in Thirkield Hall on the campus of Howard University in the nation’s capital on November 17, 1911.

Brother Frank Coleman, Edgar A. Love and Oscar J. Cooper with the assistance of Dr. Just used the old Greek phrase denoting Friendship Is Essential To The Soul to represent Omega Psi Phi, the first predominantly black fraternity established on the campus of a historically black college campus.

Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, and Delta Sigma Theta, had been formed to establish the core of solid black organizations that would go on to thrive until this day.

Alpha chapter was established on the campus and the men of Omega went on to charter hundreds of chapters throughout the world. Chapters are now located in South Korea, Germany, the Caribbean, Japan, Alaska and Hawaii. A chapter was initially established early in Liberia, Africa but it has remained inactive for several decades.

The ranks of Omega are filled with some of the most prolific and talented men known. Joe Black, Douglas Wilder, Jesse Jackson, Joe Torrey, Ricky Smiley, Charles Drew, Ronald McNair, Earl Graves, Bill Cosby, Carter G. Woodson and William Floyd formerly of the San Francisco 49ers are all Omega Men. The list goes on and soon our history books will be filled with dynamic personalities who will no doubt make their mark in our history books.

Omega’s history is filled with significant moments worthy of much dialogue. Unfortunately we will not attempt to chronicle the achievements of Omega and Omega Men on this page but we do recommend that you visit our National Headquarters website located at: www.omegapsiphifraternity.org.

Our national headquarters moved from NW Georgia avenue in Washington DC to Stone Mountain (ATL), Georgia in the 1990’s. The fraternity now boasts a membership of over 100,000+ members strategically located in graduate and undergraduate chapters throughout the nation and around the world.

In sum, the formation of Omega is miraculous. Brothers Just, Cooper, Coleman and Love created the most formidable of organizations and will live forever in the hearts and souls of African Americans throughout the world. Their contributions to our great society are that significant.

FOUNDERS

Dr. Ernest E. Just

(1883-1941)

  • Ernest E. Just was born in Charleston, South Carolina.

  • Graduated from the Industrial School of the State College, Orangeburg, South Carolina.

  • Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, New Hampshire

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa)

  • Awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP, 1915

  • Doctor of Philosophy Degree, University of Chicago, 1916

  • Became the 19th honoree in the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage Stamp Series on February 1, 1996.

Professor Frank Coleman

(1890-1967)

  • Frank Coleman was born in Washington, D.C.

  • Graduated from the M Street High School, Washington,D.C.

  • Bachelor of Science Degree, Howard University, 1913

  • Master of Science Degree, University of Chicago

  • Advanced Training, University of Pennsylvania

  • Professor and head of the Physics Department, Howard University

  • U.S. Army Officer, World War I

Dr. Oscar J. Cooper

(1888-1972)

  • Oscar J. Cooper was born in Washington, D.C.

  • Graduated from the M Street High School, Washington, D.C.

  • Bachelor of Science Degree, Howard University, 1913 Doctor of Medicine Degree, Howard University, 1917

  • Practiced medicine in Philadelphia, PA for 50 years

Bishop Edgar A. Love

(1891-1974)

  • Edgar A. Love was born in Harrisburg, Virginia

  • Graduated from the Academy of Morgan College

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, Howard University, 1913

  • Bachelor of Divinity Degree, Howard University, 1916

  • Bachelor of Sacred Theology Degree, Boston University, 1918

  • Doctor of Divinity Degree (Honorary), Morgan College, 1935

  • U.S. Army Chaplain, World War I

  • Bishop, Methodist Church

"Friendship is essential to the soul"

MANDATED PROGRAMS

Achievement Week

Observed each November and is designed to recognize those individuals at the local and international levels who have contributed to community uplift. A High School Essay Contest is to be held in conjunction with Achievement Week.

Talent Hunt Program

Provides exposure, encouragement and financial assistance to talented young people participating in the performing arts. Winners are awarded recognition and may be given college scholarships.

College Endowment Fund

Each year the fraternity gives at least $50,000 to historically black college and universities in furtherance of Omega’s commitment to provide philanthropic support.

NAACP

Every district and chapter of the fraternity is required to maintain a Life Membership at Large in the NAACP. All members of the fraternity are encouraged to join the NAACP.

Scholarship

Promotes academic excellence among the undergraduate members. Graduate chapters provide financial assistance to student members and non-members.

Memorial Service

 March 12th of each year chapters conduct an appropriate service to recall the memory of those members who have entered into Omega Chapter.

Health Initiatives

Chapters facilitate, participate and coordinate activities that promote good health practices. Some of the programs are the Charles Drew Blood Drive and partnership with the American Diabetes Association.

Social Action

Chapters participate in activities that will uplift their communities. Some of the activities include: voter registration, Assault on Illiteracy; Habitat for Humanity; mentoring; and participation in fundraisers for charitable organizations.

Reclamation and Retention

A concerted effort at the international, district and local levels to retain active brothers and return inactive brothers to full participatory status.

Voter Registration, Education & Mobilization

Chapters facilitate and participate in activities that uplift their communities through the power of the vote.

 

OMEGA IN THE FORTIES

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, Brother Charles Drew perfects the use of blood plasma as a life-saving tool. Brother William Hastie resigns 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 undertook a National Social Action program to meet the needs of African Americans in the areas of health, housing, civil rights, and education. The office of Second Vice Grand Basileus is created. Dexter Eure, of Theta Psi chapter, is elected to the position on the Supreme Council.

In 1949, the first National Headquarters Building located at 107 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. was purchased.

H. Carl Moultrie was selected to serve as the first National Executive Secretary. That same year, the scholarship fund was renamed in honor of Charles R. Drew.

NOTABLE OMEGA MEN

 Military

  • Bro. (Colonel, USA) Charles Young.

  • Bro. (General) William “Kip” Ward.

  • Bro. (Major General, USA ret.) Mathew A. Zimmerman.  First Black Chief of Chaplains, US Army.

  • Bro. (Major General, USA) Abraham Turner.

  • Bro. (Major General, USMC ret.) Charles Bolden – Astronaut, graduate of the United States Naval Academy (pilot).

  • Bro. (Lieutenant Colonel, USAF) Guion Bluford – First African-American in Space. He boarded the Space Shuttle “Challenger” in 1983 and performed the first “spacelab mission” on the Orbiter Challenger.

 

The Arts

  • Bro. William “Count” Basie – Internationally known pianist, composer, arranger, and band leader.

  • Bro. Sterling Brown – Teacher, poet, writer, Professor Emeritus of Literature at Howard University, has a special foundation for folk culture and jazz music.

  • Bro. Carl Rowan – Syndicated columnist.

  • Bro. Joe Torry – Comedian, actor

  • Bro. Ricky Smiley – Comedian, actor

  • Bro. Steve Harvey – Comedian, actor

 

Athletics

  • Bro. De Hart Hubbart – A University of Michigan sprinter; was the first Black person to represent the United States in the Olympic Games (1924).

  • Bro. Ed “Too Tall” Jones – Outstanding player with the Dallas Cowboys

  • Bro. Joe Black – An all-time great Brooklyn Dodger baseball pitcher. In 1952, he had the lowest earned-run average in the Major Leagues.

  • Bro. Charlie Ward – Heisman Trophy winner and NY Knicks guard.

  • Bro. Steve “Air” McNair – Outstanding quarterback with the Tennessee Titans.

  • Bro. Shaquille O’Neal – Star center with the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Bro. Jerry Ball – Player with the Oakland Raiders.

  • Bro. Cedric Maxwell – Outstanding professional basketball player with the Boston Celtics and other teams.

  • Bro. Leroy Walker – A U.S. Olympic coach (sprinters) for many years.

  • Bro. John Salley – Won NBA Championships with the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls

  • Bro. Keith Jackson – Outstanding football player with the Miami Dolphins.

  • Bro. Mark Duper – Another fantastic Miami Dolphins player.

  • Bro. William Floyd – Fullback for the Charlotte Panthers

  • Bro. Earl “The Pearl” Monroe – Former Outstanding NBA Guard

 

Business

  • Bro. Gillard S. Glover – President, Afro-American Life Insurance Company.

  • Bro. Thurman McKenzie – Co-owner of M and M Products (Sta Soft Fro).

  • Bro. Otis M. Smith – General Counsel, General Motors Corporation.

  • Bro. Nathaniel Bronner – Co-owner of Bronner Brothers Beauty Supplies.

  • Bro. Jesse Hill – President of Atlanta Life Insurance Company.

  • Bro. William Kennedy III – President of North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company.

  • Bro. Earl Graves, President and CEO of Black Enterprise Magazine

 

Civil Rights

  • Bro. Grant Reynolds – Played a major role in President Truman’s 1948 decision to desegregate the United States Armed Forces.

  • Bro. James Nabrit – Former Dean of Howard University Law School and former president of Howard University. A leader in the training of the early Civil Rights lawyers.

  • Bro. Wiley Branton – Attorney of the “Little Rock Nine” and former Dean of Howard University School of Law.

  • Bro. Roy Wilkins – Long-time Executive Director of the NAACP.

  • Bro. Benjamin Hooks – Succeeded Bro. Roy Wilkins as Executive Director of the NAACP, the most effective of all civil rights organizations.

  • Bro. Khalid Muhammad

 

Education

  • Bro. Benjamin E. Mays – President Emeritus of Morehouse College, writer and lecturer.

  • Bro. Herman Dreer – Teacher, minister, writer, and author of The History of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., 1911-1961.

 

Politics

  • Bro. Lawrence Douglas Wilder – Became Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1990. He also received the Bronze Star for his military heroics in the Korean War.

  • Bro. William Hastie – First Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • Bro. George L.P. Weaver – Former U.S. Secretary of Labor.

  • Bro. Vernon Jordan

  • Bro. Robert C. Weaver – First African American to serve on the Presidential Cabinet when he became Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1966 under President Franklin Roosevelt.

  • Bro. Clifford L. Alexander, Jr. – Secretary, Department of the Army.

  • Bro. Rev. Jesse Jackson – Candidate for the United States Presidency in 1984 and 1988.

 

Science

  • Bro. Dr. Ernest Everett Just – Internationally known biologist and professor at Howard University.

  • Bro. Dr. Charles Drew – Perfected the use of blood plasma; Professor of Surgery at Howard University.

  • Bro. Percy Julian – Discovered the use of foam to extinguish fires and discovered a method of producing cortisone synthetically.

  • Bro. Dr. Fred Drew Gregory – Astronaut, graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (pilot).

  • Bro. Dr. Ronald E. McNair – Astronaut, graduate of M.I.T., Ph.D. in Physics (civilian). 

 

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