Omega Psi Phi

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Omega Psi Phi
FoundedNovember 17, 1911; 103 years ago (1911-11-17)
Howard University
MottoFriendship is Essential to the Soul
Colors     Royal Purple
     Old Gold
NicknameOmegas, Sons of Blood and Thunder, Omega Men, Da Bruhz, Ques, Que Dogs
Headquarters3951 Snapfinger Parkway
Decatur, Georgia, United States of America
HomepageOmega Psi Phi Fraternity website
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Omega Psi Phi
FoundedNovember 17, 1911; 103 years ago (1911-11-17)
Howard University
MottoFriendship is Essential to the Soul
Colors     Royal Purple
     Old Gold
NicknameOmegas, Sons of Blood and Thunder, Omega Men, Da Bruhz, Ques, Que Dogs
Headquarters3951 Snapfinger Parkway
Decatur, Georgia, United States of America
HomepageOmega Psi Phi Fraternity website
Omega Psi Phi Founders
The Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi in 1911.

Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) is an international fraternity with over 700 undergraduate and graduate chapters. The fraternity was founded on November 17, 1911 by three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi is the first predominantly African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university.[1]


Since its founding in 1911, Omega Psi Phi's stated purpose has been to attract and build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. Throughout the world, many notable members are recognized as leaders in the arts, academics, athletics, entertainment, business, civil rights, education, government, and science fields. A few notable members include Roy Wilkins, Benjamin Hooks, Vernon Jordan, Dr. Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Dr. Mack King Carter, William H. Hastie (U.S. Virgin Islands) and L. Douglas Wilder, Representative James Clyburn, Earl Graves, Bill Cosby, Tom Joyner, Charles Bolden, General William “Kip” Ward, Michael Jordan, Rayvon Walker, Shaquille O’Neal, Shammond Williams, Vince Carter, Steve Harvey, Rickey Smiley, Lieutenant Colonel Maury Williams, Ray Lewis, Stephen A. Smith, and numerous presidents of colleges and universities. Over 250,000 men have been initiated into Omega Psi Phi throughout the United States, Bermuda, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, South Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany, and Kuwait.[1] On the 2013 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, six players and GM Ozzie Newsome are members.[2]

In 1924, at the urging of fraternity member Carter G. Woodson, the fraternity launched Negro History and Literature Week in an effort to publicize the growing body of scholarship on African-American history.[3] Encouraged by public interest, the event was renamed "Negro Achievement Week" in 1925 and given an expanded national presence in 1926 by Woodson's Association for the Study of Negro Life as "Negro History Week."[3] Expanded to the full month of February from 1976, this event 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 $350,000 to the program.

Omega Psi Phi is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), which is composed of nine predominately African-American Greek-letter sororities and fraternities that promote interaction through forums, meetings, and other media for the exchange of information, and engage in cooperative programming and initiatives throughout the world. The (NPHC) currently represents over 2.5 million members.[4]

Centennial Celebration[edit]

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.[4] The Centennial Celebration recognized the impact of the Fraternity in communities over the past 100 years, honored Omega Men for achievement in all walks of life, reiterated Omega Psi Phi's commitment to providing unparalleled community service and scholarship, and charted the Fraternity’s future activities.

Internationally Mandated Programs[edit]

Each Chapter administers Internationally Mandated Programs every year:[5]

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.

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

Scholarship – The Charles R. Drew 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.

Omega Psi Phi chapter members at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

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.

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.[6]


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 36 semester credits, and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average. For the graduate chapter, an applicant must already possess a bachelor's degree.[7] The fraternity grants honorary membership to men who have contributed to society in a positive way on a national or international level. 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[edit]

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.[8]

Grand Basilei[edit]

Omega Psi Phi shoulder bag
NameOrderTime in OfficeRef.
Edgar Amos Love1st Grand Basileus1911–1912[9][10]
Oscar J. Cooper2nd Grand Basileus1912–1913[9][10]
Edgar Amos Love3rd Grand Basileus1913–1915[9][10]
George E. Hall4th Grand Basileus1915–1916[9][10]
James C. McMorries5th Grand Basileus1916–1917[9][10]
Clarence F. Holmes6th Grand Basileus1917–1918[9][10][11]
Raymond G. Robinson7th Grand Basileus1918–1920[9][10][12]
Harold H. Thomas8th Grand Basileus1920–1921[9][10]
J. Alston Atkins9th Grand Basileus1921–1924[10][13][14]
John W. Love10th Grand Basileus1924[a][10]
George E. Vaughn11th Grand Basileus1924–1926[10][13]
Julius S. McClain12th Grand Basileus1926–1929[10][12][15]
Matthew W. Bullock13th Grand Basileus1929–1932[10]
Lawrence A. Oxley14th Grand Basileus1932–1935[10][16]
William Baugh15th Grand Basileus1935–1937[10][17]
Albert W. Dent16th Grand Basileus1937–1940[10][17]
Z. Alexander Looby17th Grand Basileus1940–1945[10][13][18]
Campbell C. Johnson18th Grand Basileus1945–1947[10]
Harry T. Penn19th Grand Basileus1947–1949[10]
Milo C. Murray20th Grand Basileus1949–1951[10]
Grant Reynolds21st Grand Basileus1951–1953[10][13][19]
John F. Potts22nd Grand Basileus1953–1955[10][20][21]
Herbert E. Tucker, Jr.23rd Grand Basileus1955–1958[10][22]
I. Gregory Newton24th Grand Basileus1958–1961[10][16]
Cary D. Jacobs25th Grand Basileus1961–1964[10][23]
George E. Meares26th Grand Basileus1964–1967[13]
Ellis F. Corbett27th Grand Basileus1967–1970[24]
James Avery28th Grand Basileus1970–1973[23][25]
Marion Garnett29th Grand Basileus1973–1976[26][27][28]
Dr. Edward Braynon, Jr.30th Grand Basileus1976–1979[25][29][30][31]
Burnel E. Coulon31st Grand Basileus1979−1982[25][30][32]
Dr. L. Benjamin Livingston32nd Grand Basileus1982–1984[33]
Dr. Moses C. Norman33rd Grand Basileus1984–1990[25][30][34]
Dr. C. Tyrone Gilmore, Sr34th Grand Basileus1990–1994[9][25][30]
Dr. Dorsey Miller35th Grand Basileus1994–1998[9][25][30]
Lloyd Jordan, Esq.36th Grand Basileus1998–2002[9][25][30]
George H. Grace37th Grand Basileus2002–2006[25]
Warren G. Lee38th Grand Basileus2006–2010[30]
Dr. Andrew Ray39th Grand Basileus2010–Current[35]

a. Finished unexpired term of Atkins[10]

List of Omega Psi Phi Grand Conclaves[edit]

"Unofficial" practices[edit]

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 "Que Dogs" or "Ques" for short.[36] 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 prospects first learn of the fraternity by seeing members bearing brands.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.". Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  2. ^ The Baltimore Ravens brotherhood within a brotherhood -
  3. ^ a b Daryl Michael Scott, "The Origins of Black History Month," Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2011,
  4. ^ a b Jenkins,, Chris L. (27 July 2011). "Omega Psi Phi brothers celebrate centennial at D.C. birthplace". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Internationally Mandated Programs". Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  6. ^ "Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Official Website". OPPF. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  7. ^ "Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Official Membership Page". OPPFMembership. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  8. ^ "National Pan-Hellenic Council Aboutpage". NPHC. Retrieved 2006-08-15. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Omega History
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ About Charles F. Holmes
  12. ^ a b Epsilon history
  13. ^ a b c d e Legendary 5th History
  14. ^ My virtual paper entry
  15. ^ Rho Phi chapter history
  16. ^ a b Accomplishments of Beta Phi Brothers
  17. ^ a b 9th District History
  18. ^ Omega Psi Phi – John H. Williams Historical Museum
  19. ^ Cincinnati Ques
  20. ^ "Black Sororities and Fraternities". Ebony (Johnson): 113. September 1993. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  21. ^ "Omicron Chi History". Omega Psi Phi, Omicron Chi chapter. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  22. ^ Omega Bulletin Spring 2007
  23. ^ a b Omega Life Membership
  24. ^ Lambda Omega chapter history
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Omega's Clarion Call Summer 2007
  26. ^ Eta Nu History
  27. ^ Alpha Omega Chapter History
  28. ^ University of Florida Yearbook 2003 Omega Psi Phi
  29. ^ 7th district history
  30. ^ a b c d e f g 74th Grand Conclave Report
  31. ^ History of Zeta Phi chapter
  32. ^ Psi Alpha Alpha History
  33. ^ Sigma Alpha Ques, about us
  34. ^ Eta Omega milestones
  35. ^ Message from the Grand Basileus
  36. ^ ""Q Dog" via Google Search returns Omega Psi Phi". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  37. ^ Sandra Mizumoto Posey (2004). "Burning Messages". Voices (New York Folklore Society) 30 (Fall–Winter). Retrieved 14 April 2011. 

External links[edit]

Organization websites[edit]

Omega Psi Phi districts[edit]