Greetings Brothers!

1937-1938 was a dynamic time in the Fraternity’s history. It was during the late 1930s to early 1940s when the Fraternity’s “social action chops” really began to crystalize in the form of organized advocacy for anti-lynching legislation and other efforts to combat and eliminate Jim Crowism. This time also recorded the successful culmination of efforts by undergraduate and graduate men to have undergraduate representation on the Supreme Council when at the Cleveland Conclave (1937), Brother Paris Vaughn “King” Sterrett became the first undergraduate elected to the position of Vice Grand Basileus since its creation in 1922. Another occurrence of note was the reclamation and clarification of literary standards associated with The Oracle. It is this latter occurrence that is the subject of this week’s Monday Pearl.

In addition to electing the first undergraduate Vice Grand Basileus, the Fraternity, under the leadership of Albert W. Dent, 16th Grand Basileus, named a young but accomplished Frederick S. Weaver (great-grandson of Frederick Douglas), to the position of Editor-in-Chief of The Oracle. As an undergraduate Weaver attended Wiley College in Marshall, TX and Howard University. While at Wiley Weaver was a student of the inimitable Professor Melvin Beaunorus Tolson and in 1932 began his pledge process at Theta chapter. Later that year Weaver transferred from Wiley to Howard where he completed his pledge process and was initiated at Alpha chapter in 1933. After graduating from Howard, history records that beginning in 1934, Weaver led the effort to have undergraduate representation on the Supreme Council that culminated in Sterrett’s election.

In 1938, the newly named Editor-in-Chief of The Oracle, enthusiastically set a new path for The Oracle, putting together a most impressive team of qualified brothers to assist him. To the position of Managing Editor, he named Tolson his old college professor. Tolson managed a staff of five who collectively oversaw and supported an Editorial and Literary staff of 18 brothers. Included in that number were Brothers Otto McClarrin, Langston Hughes, and John Davis. The entire operation was supported by an Advisory Board of nine that included Founder Edgar A. Love, Dewey R. Jones (longtime writer and editor at the Chicago Defender – Washington DC Office), Samuel Herman Dreer (yes, Herman Dreer’s first name was Samuel), Roy Wilkins, Sterling Brown, and John P. Murchison. Suffice it to say that the young Frederick Weaver, also called “Little Caesar” and “Dynamo” by the Brothers, was wise beyond his years to sufficiently align his means with his desired ends.

Please make time to read the attached extracts from the March 1938 Oracle (both in the same file). The first is Weaver’s introductory communication in the publication’s editorial section, “The Oracle Speaks.” The second is a short piece introducing Parris V. Sterrett as the newly-elected Vice Grand Basilieus. (Quick note: When Sterrett was elected Vice Grand Basileus in 1937, he was working on his second undergraduate degree at the Boston University School of Divinity. He had previously graduated with an undergraduate degree from Wilberforce University. Although Sterrett earned his first undergraduate degree from Wilberforce, he actually began college at Lincoln University where he was initiated at Beta chapter before transferring to Wilberforce. He was a member of Gamma chapter at the time of his election.)

Read More – TheOracleSpeaks_Mar1938

Make it a great week Brothers. Be noble!

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