Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated was founded on November 17, 1911 on the campus of Howard University located in Washington, District of Columbia by three undergraduates, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper, and Frank Coleman, and their faculty advisor, Ernest Everett Just. On December 15, 1911, Alpha Chapter at Howard University was chartered, and subsequently became known as The Mother Pearl. With the establishment of Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity became the first fraternity to be founded on the campus of a historically Black college or university.

The Third District is comprised of chapters in Washington, District of Columbia and the State of Virginia. Accordingly, the birthplace of Omega is situated in the Third District. Since the fraternity’s founding, members and chapters within the Third District have contributed significantly to the nurturing of the Omega spirit of friendship; the establishment and evolution of organizational, administrative, and programmatic standards: and the preservation and promotion of Omega’s fraternal values.

Much of the fraternity’s history occurred in the Third District. Much of the Third District’s history is memorialized in the traditions of its chapters, evidenced in the records of over a century’s worth of purposeful action, and chronicled in the biographies of its members whose personification and application of Omega’s precepts have advanced education, industry, science, the arts, medicine, military science, journalism, law, and society in general. Well known men like Ernest E. Just, Carter G. Woodson, Charles E. Drew, Luther P. Jackson, William H. Hastie, and Sterling Brown. Men of arguably equal significance like Campbell C. Johnson, Harry T. Penn, Arthur P. Davis, George M. Hampton, Garnet C. Wilkinson, Kip Ward, William Stuart Nelson, Manson K. Brown, Ellis F. Corbett, Oliver Hill, Montague Cobb, Jr., Albion Ferrell, and Spotswood Robinson. This is by no means an exhaustive list; however, it is representative of the important and consequential legacy of the Third District.

The men of the Third District endeavor to not only document and archive the contributions of the Third District over time, but to additionally apply the lessons of history to bring about the fulfillment of our great potential and add to our inheritance. The resources herein are intended to function not only as a compendium of names, events, and accomplishments, but as a source of inspiration for all those imbued with the true spirit of Omega.


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

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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

Greetings from the 3rd District History and Archives Committee:

The Committee hopes you enjoy reading the reflections of Mrs. Lenore Robbins Drew, wife of Brother Charles "Charlie" Drew.  Her perspective on her husband's many accomplishments seemed more revealing about the person (and the Omega in him) than the professional record.  You have to read to the end, but it seems she believed her husband's greatest accomplishment was not so much his blood plasma work as it was his values and principles, and the interest he took in others' success. Omega caliber to be sure.

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 - Brother Charles "Charlie" Drew

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

 


Greetings from the 3rd District History and Archives Committee (9-24-18)

The Committee hopes you enjoy reading this 1941 letter from Founder Oscar J. Cooper to Brother George A. Isabelle illuminating Founder Cooper's perspective on the importance of service as a fundamental element to the Fraternity's purpose.

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 - Brother George A. Isabelle

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


Greetings from the 3rd District History and Archives Committee (9-17-18):

The Monday Pearl 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.

In our first edition of the Monday Pearl, we highlight the life and accomplishments of Brother William Henry Hastie, Jr. The attached research was compiled in connection with the Alpha Omega "Lest We Forget" (LWF) initiative, a chapter Reclamation and Retention effort in which Brothers gathered to fellowship around and reflect upon the Fraternity’s history, principles, accomplishments, and current and future relevance and purpose. The method of exploration and reflection was primarily (but not entirely) by way of biographical discovery and related discourse. LWF endeavored to get Brothers talking about Omega in such a way that each could more readily discover or re-discover his own compelling and mobilizing connection to Omega. This Hastie event occurred in 2016. We have provided the flyer used to advertise the event in case chapters are interested in organizing something similar. Please contact us if you have questions, or need help implementing something similar in your chapter.

Please read at your leisure, as this first installment of the Monday Pearl is somewhat lengthy. Subsequent installments will be of varying length, and likely less lengthy.

Read More - Brother William Hastie Jr.

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