Greetings Brothers,

Most of us have heard the name Roland Hayes (1887-1977). Some of us may even remember that he was one of the early elected (honorary) members of the Fraternity. A smaller number of us may be aware of Brother Hayes' talent and renown. And, an even smaller number of us have actually experienced his gift. I'm not sure how many of us are left, but I suspect a modest few are aware of the character of the man that likely qualified him for membership. This week's Monday Pearl attempts to present to some and introduce to others the Omega in Brother Hayes.

Resolute, courageous, patient, persistent, and principled was Brother Hayes. He was one of the world's greatest tenors of all time, while also personifying the tenor of Omega. As many Omegas have done over the course of history, Brother Hayes buckled the foundation of injustice, inequality, discrimination, and Jim Crowism only to see the walls it supported eventually fall. Hayes performed all over the world to diverse audiences in some of the most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall. Nevertheless, despite his acknowledged virtuosity, he was never afforded the opportunity to perform at the historic Metropolitan Opera House (the Met) due to the color of his skin. The attached article (outlined in purple) appeared in the November 19, 1938 edition of the Pittsburgh Courier and chronicles Hayes' stoic resolve to rise above the ignominies of his time. (Best viewed by downloading the file and opening it from a location on your hard drive. Viewing the file in a web browser may not work well.)

If you've never heard Brother Hayes sing, have a listen (best heard with a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones or good speakers - don't sell Brother Hayes short). In 1925, Brother William Stuart Nelson described Brother Hayes' talent in this way - 

The greatness of Roland Hayes lies in the fact that through his songs, of whatever composer and in whatever tongue they may be, he bares his own soul and unfolds the story of a race. The Negro must give to the world not only his song but his soul. He has his gift to the world but to present it successfully he must speak a varied language. He must play upon the instrument that every people offers. Negro poets will sing of their own joys and sorrows but more than that they will strike the full chords of human emotion, interpreting not only racial but universal feeling. His painters and sculptors will take for their subjects the scenes and folk of their native land, but also, they will paint the blue skies of the Riviera, Italian sunsets, Neapolitan life. They will see the Jungfrau and Mount Blanc and returning carve out of marble the greatness, the bigness, and the Godlike things they have seen in the mountains.
Read More - TenorOfOmega

Make it a great week Brothers.

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. Previous "Pearls" can be found at 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