Third District History and Archives Monday Pearl 12/17/18 – Sterling’s Character



Greetings Brothers,

Pope Francis once said that "Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls." Organizations too have souls; their radiance determined by the collective spirit of their members. Perhaps as much as any Omega man did Sterling Allen Brown exemplify and reflect the light of Omega - the grace of the Psi Phi. In the attached, we hope you find a little oil for your lamp.

Read More - Sterling's Character

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

Third District History and Archives Monday Pearl 12/10/18 – The Busboy Poet



Greetings Brothers,

This week's Monday Pearl is a little light reading about a heavy dude, written by a heavy dude who happened to be a longtime member of a heavy District - The Third, of course. The attached article was written by Dr. Arthur P. Davis, Author and Professor of English at Howard University for roughly 30 years. Brother Davis was one of the foremost literary scholars on the Harlem Renaissance. Some of his biggest literary contributions were  "Harlem During The New Negro Renaissance,"  "Cavalcade: Negro American Writers from 1760 to the Present," "The Negro Caravan" which he wrote with Brother Sterling A. Brown, and "From The Dark Tower." Brother Davis was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia University where he received the A.B ., A.M ., and Ph.D .degrees.

The attached article is from the Summer 1971 Oracle and provides a window into the life and genius of Brother James Mercer Langston Hughes (1926 Beta), known by a some as "L Train," and by others as "The Busboy Poet."

Read More - The Busboy Poet_Full Article

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

Third District History and Archives Monday Pearl 12/3/18 – Johnson Penn


Greetings Brothers,

Last week's Monday Pearl highlighted the Office of Second Vice Grand Basileus. Included in the communication was a list of the brothers who occupied said office. Included in the list was Brother J. Heyward Harrison from Pi Chapter at Morgan State College in Baltimore, MD (understood by most to be organized in the Second District). Please note that Brother Harrison was included in the Third District 2VGB list because when he served in 1953, Pi Chapter was organized in the Third District. In 1955, Pi Chapter was reorganized into the Second District. The History and Archives Committee understands that Bro. Harrison went on to serve as a proud and longtime member of the Second District and was a loyal Son of Omega.

This week's Monday Pearl is a precursor to a project underway by the Committee to produce biographies featuring the only two men to hold the Office of Grand Basileus from the Third District (since the formation of districts): 18th Grand Basileus Campbell Carrington Johnson (1945-47) and 19th Grand Basileus Harry Theodore Penn (1947-49).

The Committee has also included an interesting and somewhat related report of the 1946 Redistrictricting Committee that appeared in the March 1947 Oracle. Please read  to the end. It is encouraging to know that current and former Grands Dan Jones and Mark Jackson, Walter H. Riddick, Charles Chambliss, Kenneth Brown, Robert Fairchild, and Curtis Baylor have earned the confidence of the brotherhood and ascended to top leadership despite the historically challenging voting delegate landscape.

Do something for somebody this week Brothers.

Read More - 18th Grand Basileus Campbell C Johnson

Read More - 19th Grand Basileus Harry T Penn

Read More - Report of the Redistricting Committee

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

_______________________________
The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to 3dhistoryandarchives@gmail.com.

Third District History and Archives Monday Pearl 11/26/18 – First Second at 31 in 45



Greetings Brothers,

The History and Archives Committee prays this season of thanksgiving and rededication has been enjoyable and uplifting.

Last week's Monday Pearl referenced the seminal moment that gave life to our beloved Omega as described in the Dreer. An excerpt from this passage reads as follows:

"They believed that college men united in this way, planning for each other and living for each other, had something to give mutually that the university could not give. The university might inspire them; but this.they believed only college youth could give to each other. Age, they knew, had a message for youth; but they believed also that youth had his own message for himself. Especially did they believe that Negro youth needed their idea."

In December 1945, at the 31st Grand Conclave in Washington, D.C., the Fraternity took steps to acknowledge that youth not only had a message for himself, but for the direction and future of Omega, as well. As reported in the December 1945 Oracle, then Vice Grand Basileus John H. Calhoun, Jr. proposed a national program to revitalize and bring direction to an Omega program that at the time was experiencing waning  support from the members, including District and Chapter leadership. VGB Calhoun knew that  the well of enthusiasm and progressive thinking capable of charting Omega's future relevancy would come from its youth. Accordingly, he challenged our young Brothers to get more involved and formally introduced the concept of the "Junior Vice-Grand Basileus" in his proposed national program. At the 31st Grand Conclave the Fraternity elected its first Second Vice Grand Basileus, Dexter Dillard Eure, a member of Theta Psi Chapter at West Virginia State College (see Oracle article attached).

Nine Brothers from the Third District have served as 2VGB, as follows:
6th: J. Heyward Harrison (Pi) 1953
7th: Howard C. Davis (Alpha) 1953-1954
11th: William T. Johnson (Nu Psi) 1957-1958
22nd: Christopher R.E.L. Dixon (Alpha) 1973-1974
24th: K. Earl Ferguson (Alpha) 1976-1977
30th: Alonzo L. Carter, Jr. (Gamma Epsilon) 1986-1990
33rd: Mark E. Jackson, Sr. (Delta Theta) 1994-1996
35th: Aaron E. Price (Omicron Gamma) 1998-2000
40th: Jamin A. Powell (Zeta) 2008-2010
Read More - First Second at 31 in 45

Make it a great week Brothers!

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

History and Archives Monday Pearl 11/19/18 – And Young Men

Greetings Brothers,

Looking back, the History and Archives Committee wishes you a Happy Belated Founders Day. It seems the Omega Spirit remains fervent and irrepressible. Looking forward, the Committee wishes you and your families a blessed and very happy Thanksgiving. Hats off to the several chapters and many Brothers in the Mighty Third District that have added and will add to our story of Uplift during this holiday season. Thousands of families throughout the District of Columbia and Virginal will be nourished and strengthened by our many food drives and other expressions of care and concern. We are making history every day.

As we re-dedicate ourselves to Her cause, this week's Monday Pearl asks us to revisit uniquely Omega notions of Brotherly cooperation symbolized and "operationalized" by our Founders to tear down barriers and build bridges. As thoughtfully expressed in the attached 1925 address by one fair-haired Omega youth, we are encouraged to embrace what our Founders instinctively knew all too well - the awesome agency in the brotherhood of the college man.

From the Dreer...

Especially did they observe the young men. Love and Cooper were not long in concluding, after a few such observations, that the prospective dynamic leaders would increase their vision and their willingness to serve, if they could be united with like ideals and vow to give themselves to the execution of these ideals. They believed that they should be united for creative action to see the brotherhood of the college man. They believed that college men united in this way, planning for each other and living for each other, had something to give mutually that the university could not give. The university might inspire them; but this.they believed only college youth could give to each other. Age, they knew, had a message for youth; but they believed also that youth had his own message for himself. Especially did they believe that Negro youth needed their idea.

What form should their idea take? At once they thought that their idea could be best carried out by the organization of a Greek-letter fraternity. They believed that the students should be united not just at Howard, but that they should be united as college men wherever they might go. Such an organization, national in scope and universal in its ideals, had never been started on the Howard campus. Such an organization created by Negroes in a Negro institution of higher learning would cause a new awakening in Negro college life and blaze the trail for a common attack upon the discriminations and injustices that are barriers to human progress. Some day the youth would leave Howard and settle in various states and cities. If the youth would create some of their own ideals and by sacred vows guide their lives in college accordingly, Brothers Love and Cooper thought that they would more nearly follow those ideals than ones that might be set up for them by writers of books. Thus could thousands through the years become one in aim, one in thought, and one in loyalty. As they were men of action, it was natural for them to try to consummate their idea.

After discussing the matter on different occasions, Brothers Love and Cooper thought of their friend, Frank Coleman. They would do nothing vital without him. When they talked with Brother Coleman about the wisdom of organizing a national fraternity at Howard, Brother Coleman said that he had been thinking along that line and believed that it would be an honor for a national Negro. fraternity to be born at their Alma Mater and inspire Negro youth throughout the Nation. The friends discussed the matter many times, and as a result concluded that they should have some guidance. Brother Cooper at once suggested Professor Just, who seemed to him to have a keen appreciation for the problems of youth. The next day after class was out, while working in the laboratory, Cooper discussed the matter with the young professor, who readily consented to serve as an advisor.

The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to 3dhistoryandarchives@gmail.com.

Read More - And Young Men

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

History and Archives Monday Pearl 11/12/18 – EXECUTIVE ORDER 9981

Greetings Brothers,

The Third District History and Archives Committee extends its deepest gratitude and very Happy Veterans Day to all our Brothers who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Your courage, sacrifice, perseverance, and unwavering resolve in the face of a long struggle at home and abroad is exemplary of the brand of MANHOOD that is Omega. Thank you for your service!

This week's Monday Pearl highlights Omega's efforts to advance African American participation, contribution, and leadership in the Armed Forces over time, and in the face of racial discrimination and Jim Crow Era policies. Although there are examples too numerous to include in this communication, the Committee focuses on two significant Omega Caliber efforts: 1) Young Omega, World War I, and the events that led to the creation of what we now call the Reserve Officers' Training Corps; and 2) William Hastie's and 21st Grand Basileus Grant Reynolds' efforts that led to President Harry S. Truman signing Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948 that ended segregation in the Armed Forces. The latter not only functioned as a catalyst to the Civil Rights Movement, but thereafter created opportunities for many Blacks in the military. Please view this short video on Executive Order 9981 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCBxC_gk3jY.

In addition, at your leisure, the Committee very much encourages you to read the attached information. The following notes and quotes from Brother William H. Hastie, Jr. are provided for added context.

From 1940-42, Hastie worked as a civilian aide to the Secretary of War Henry Stimson. Hastie urged the racial integration of troops. In 1942 he resigned in protest because the Army Air Force decided to create a separate training facility for African Americans. Hastie's Resignation had a significant impact on the eventual desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces by President Truman. In 1943, Hastie received the NAACP Spingarn Medal, both for his lifetime achievements and in recognition of this protest action.

"Every Negro can tell a different story of how he became a militant in the war against racism…but one way or another, most of us have acquired the spirit of the battle…with some of us, militancy against discrimination and racial indignity is a heritage from our forebears." - Hastie

"This notion that Negroes have got to be better than other people is about as disgusting as the notion that Negroes are inferior. As a matter of fact, I very much fear that they are rationalizations of the same thing." - Hastie

Crossing swords with W.E.B. Du Bois ‐ [Du Bois] created dissension within the NAACP and the black community by arguing that since blacks could not escape segregation, rather than moaning about it as deprivation of opportunity and dignity, they should seize it as a golden opportunity to marshal their resources both to display negritude and to thwart the apostles of negrophobia. Du Bois propounded his thesis in an editorial, contending that "the thinking colored people of the United States must stop being stampeded by the word segregation." and adding that segregation and discrimination "do not necessarily go together, and there should never be an opposition to segregation pure and simple unless that segregation does involve discrimination….to his assertion Hastie replied, in his column of 25 January 1934, "In theory there can be segregation without discrimination,  separation without unequal treatment. But any Negro who uses this theoretical possibility as a justification for segregation is either dumb, or mentally dishonest, or else he has, like Esau, chosen a mess of pottage." - Hastie

"That blacks had to fight for their right to militarily defend their nation was one of the greatest ironies of World War II." - Hastie

"So long as we condone and appease un‐American attitudes and practices within our own military and civilian life, we can never arouse ourselves to the exertion which the present emergency requires." - Hastie

"Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others." - Hastie

"The defender of segregation invariably becomes a sophist when he tries to justify his position." - Hastie

"The tragedy is that by not wanting the Negro in the first place and by doubting his capacity, [it] has committed itself psychologically to courses of action which themselves become major obstacles to the success of Negroes in the Air Forces." - Hastie

"The manner in which government itself behaves in the civil rights area has a large educational effect upon all people everywhere…but beyond mere examples, government directly organizes and sets the pattern of much more of our lives than we realize. Until it becomes color blind, government itself will be guilty of the worst and most inexcusable form of 'Un‐American activity." – Hastie

The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to 3dhistoryandarchives@gmail.com.

Read More - Reynolds_Oracle1948_May

Read More - Hastie_HessInterviewJan1972

Read More - ExecutiveOrder9981

Read More - YoungOmegaFights2Fight_Gill

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

History and Archives Monday Pearl 11/5/18 – OMEGA VOTES 2

Greetings Brothers,
This is the second of a two-part sharing of information related to Omega's historical involvement in civic engagement vis-a-vis voter registration, education, and mobilization (VREM). Last week we reported on the number of instances of VREM references in the Oracle from 1919-1959, and related trends. This week we report on the same between 1960-2018.and related trends, Our objective, given the importance of the upcoming mid-term elections, is to provide Brothers with a historical point of reference with the expressed purpose of motivating all Brothers to honor the legacy we have inherited by doing our part to GET OUT THE VOTE.

In this second part, the Committee combed through 104 Oracles published between 1960 and 2018 looking for all references to VREM activities and related trends here in the Third District and fraternity-wide. Our research revealed the following:
  • From 1960-1969 VREM activities/content appeared 55 times. From 1970-1979 VREM activities/content appeared 41 times. From 1980-1989 VREM activities/content appeared 66 times (however, the majority of these instances (53) occurred from 1980-1984. Early 1980s activism and the 1984 presidential election, which included the campaign of our own Brother Jesse Jackson, were contributing factors. After 1984, there is a noticeable drop off. From 1990-1999 VREM activities/content appeared 22 times. From 2000-2009 there were 37 instances (many of which were related to the 2004 presidential election). From 2010-2018 there were 18 instances).
  • From 1960-1982, VREM was a priority program. Beginning in the early to mid-1980s, the tone of the VREM reporting began to change from enthusiastic, purposeful, and hopeful participation fraternity-wide to concern over voter and programmatic apathy.
  • Beginning with the 32nd Grand Basileus Dr. L. Benjamin Livingston, calls from leadership to amplify our VREM activity in response to voter apathy and mediocre programming began to appear in the pages of the Oracle.Other leaders who lent their voice to the cause were Benjamin Hooks, Vernon Jordan, James Nabrit, Roy Wilkins, Grand Basileus I Gregory Newton, Grand Basileus Anthony Knox, and Benjamin Mays.
  • VREM reporting increased during presidential election years but decreased during mid-term election years.
  • VREM reporting related to local and state elections was limited and typically appeared when a fraternity brother was a candidate.
  • There was comparatively little VREM reporting prior to the 2008 presidential election when Obama was elected. There were only three reports of VREM activity between 2008-2010.
  • Reporting of undergraduate involvement in VREM activities has notably decreased over the years and is almost non-existent in the last decade.
As we combed through the Oracles, we "extracted" the VREM references to make it easier to quickly access the information. In many cases, we highlighted the content of interest to further help quickly identify the reference. Because the references are many, we have attached just a few here. All references can be downloaded by clicking on https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ElgoPYwA02F72-sf-fQmjxnXO37HbGcp. We urge to browse through/read all of the information as you can...perhaps there are lessons in the arc of our VREM activity over time.
The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to 3dhistoryandarchives@gmail.com.
Read More - 1960 May, Oracle

Read More - 1973 Summer, Oracle-2

Read More - 1979 Summer, Oracle-2a

Read More - 1980 Summer, Oracle-3

Read More - 1980 Fall, Oracle

Read More - 1984 Summer-Fall, Oracle
F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

History and Archives Monday Pearl 10/29/18 – OMEGA VOTES

Greetings Brothers,

The theme of this week's Monday Pearl is "Omega Votes." This is the first part of a two part sharing of information prior to the 2018 mid-term elections exploring Omega's legacy of civic engagement vis-a-vis voter registration, education, and mobilization (VREM). Given the importance of the upcoming mid-term elections, the Committee was compelled to provide Brothers with a historical point of reference with the expressed purpose of motivating all Brothers to honor the legacy we have inherited by doing our part to GET OUT THE VOTE.

In this first part, the Committee combed through 113 Oracles published between 1919 and 1959 looking for all references to VREM activities here in the Third District and fraternity-wide. Our research revealed the following:
  • Prior to 1928, references to VREM activities in the Oracle were largely by proxy (i.e., through the reprint of speeches by politicians or other civic leaders, or as a tertiary theme in a fictional literary entry). After 1927, editorials, opinion pieces, commentary on the unrealized gains at the polls post-15th Amendment, and calls for "Negro" advancement by way of the ballot became increasingly conspicuous in our national publication.
  • The early and eventual shift in the majority Negro/Black vote from Republican to Democrat is chronicled fairly well in the Oracle.
  • From 1928-1929 there were four instances of VREM-related content in the Oracle, from 1930-1939 there were 15, from 1940-1949 there were 24, and from 1950-1959 there were 21.
  • Brother Ellis F. Corbett of Lambda Omega Chapter was an early adopter and advocate providing much of he early VREM leadership in the Third District.
  • In the 1940's and 1950's annual Essay Contest themes were often VREM-related. Check out the winner in 1956 (printed in March 1957).
  • Harry T. Penn, former Grand Basileus, former Third District Representative, and former Basileus and longtime member of Gamma Alpha Chapter was an outspoken and active advocate for voting rights and the Black vote. (Former Grand Basileus Grant Reynolds shared Brother Penn's VREM interests.)
  • Social Action initiatives in the 1940s and 1950s always included VREM.
  • Undergraduates were notably active in VREM.
  • Many Brothers participated in and led VREM initiatives inside and outside of Omega.
As we combed through the Oracles, we "extracted" the VREM references to make it easier to quickly access the information. In many cases, we highlighted the content of interest to further help quickly identify the reference. Because the references are many, we have attached just a few here. All references can be downloaded by clicking on https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1LkULVJSxjyjKZ7xyoIbo6O5DUmUjCcVb?usp=sharing. We urge to read all of the information as you can...there is some really good stuff in here.The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to 3dhistoryandarchives@gmail.com.

Read More - 1928 October, Oracle (1)

Read More - 1928-1-14 The Districts of Omega

Read More - 1936 June, Oracle 

Read More - 1948 December, Oracle

Read More - 1950 May, Oracle

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

History and Archives Monday Pearl 10/22/18

Greetings from the 3rd District History and Archives Committee:

Lest we forget Brother Walter "Crow" Riddick - Grand Keeper of Records and Seal Emeritus, Life Membership Chairman Emeritus, 2nd Third District Representative, and former Basileus and longtime member of the exceptionally historic and consequential Lambda Omega Chapter in Norfolk, Virginia.

We hope you enjoy reading these few excerpts from past Oracles that provide a window into the life and service of this loyal Son of Omega. 

It is recorded that Brother Riddick attended St. Paul College, North Carolina A&T, and Morehouse College (where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree). There is some evidence that our late Brother Riddick was initiated into Mu Psi Chapter while attending North Carolina A&T. Should anyone be able to provide documentation confirming Brother Riddick's initiation chapter and year, the Committee would greatly appreciate your sharing (3dhistoryandrchives@gmail.com).

The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to 3dhistoryandarchives@gmail.com.

Read More - 1976 Winter 1977 Spring Oracle

Read More - 1977 Winter Oracle-1

Read More - 1977 Winter Oracle-2

Read More - 1979 Summer Oracle

F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee

History and Archives Monday Pearl 10/15/18



"Click the above document to see full page"


Greetings from the 3rd District History and Archives Committee:

Put this one in the category of "Who knew?" While researching the evolution of the Third District, the Committee consulted with Brother Jonathan "Flash" Matthews (7-Spr83-A), who was kind enough to share the attached letter dated January 14,1928. The letter was written by District Representative Dallas F. Nicholas to Grand Keeper of Records and Seals (per letterhead, "Seals" was plural) Walter H. Mazyck, Esq.  The letterhead on which the letter appears contains in the margin a list of 17 District Representatives documenting the same number of Districts. Although there are likely some Brothers who knew this about our history, the Committee thought we'd share for those who may have been unaware.

Thanks to Brother Matthews, son of the Third District and longtime contributor to the discovery, documentation, and telling of our story.

In addition, last week's Monday Pearl referenced the work of Brother William A. Brower (1936 Upsilon), accomplished and ground-breaking journalist. In response, Brothers offered more information on Brother Brower's extraordinary and Omega Caliber example we hope you enjoy reading.

The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we'd very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to 3dhistoryandarchives@gmail.com.

Read More - 1928-1-14 The Districts of Omega

Read More - Brother William Brower

Read More - Brother William Brower Biography

Read More - Brother William Brower Newspaper Guild 



F.I.E.T.T.S.
3rd District History and Archives Committee