Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is the first international fraternal organization to be founded on the campus of 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 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 Principles.
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 University, Penn.
Love was elected as the third Grand Basileus in 1912 and served until 1915.
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 and history.
The Atlanta Grand Conclave in 1921 brought to an end the Fraternity’s first decade.
Omega built a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its cardinal principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift.
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