Greetings Brothers!

Walk with me a minute…

I’m not sure why, but page 10 of the March 1958 Oracle reminded me of the poem “I have only just a minute.” by Brother Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.” As most of you know, the poem goes as follows:

I have only just a minute,
Only sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon me, can’t refuse it.
Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it.
But it’s up to me
to use it.
I must suffer if I lose it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute,
but eternity is in it.

There appeared in the March 1958 Oracle several articles on the happenings at the 44th Grand Conclave in St. Louis, MO. Two of these articles appeared on page 10, and I am convinced they were done so purposefully; for in their coupling they revealed and clarified the transcendent purpose, priorities, values, and agency of Omega. The first article reported on the 1957 Citizen of the Year, Daisy Bates, civil rights activist and publisher of the Arkansas State Press. The second article highlighted the contributions and accomplishments of that year’s Omega Man of the Year, Brother Oliver W. Hill, distinguished civil rights attorney.

In addition to publishing the Arkansas State Press, Daisy Bates was a key leader in the Little Rock school integration movement who helped organize and support the nine students who integrated Little Rock Central High School (

Brother Hill was another in a long list of distinguished Third District Omega men (Note: the Achievement Week Director at the time, Brother Dr. Matthew J. Whitehead, also hailed from the Third District.) Initiated at Alpha Chapter in 1927, Brother Hill would go on to graduate from Howard University and later Howard University School of Law, where he studied along with Thurgood Marshall under the tutelage and mentorship of Charles Hamilton Houston. After graduating from law school, Brother Hill returned to Richmond, VA, where he was born and was a longtime member of Phi Phi chapter. Over the course of his career, Brother Hill along with another attorney and Richmond native, Brother Spottswood Robinson, fought tirelessly for voting rights, civil rights, and school integration. In 1948, Brother Hill became the first black elected official since Reconstruction in 1895 when he was elected to the Richmond City Council. Although his election was indeed historic, Hill is perhaps best known for his involvement in the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case that paved the way for desegregating the schools. It is on the heels of this landmark case that Daisy Bates picked up the baton and fought to realize the fruits of Hill’s efforts.

After reading the two 1958 Oracle articles and pulling on a few of the threads therein, I was amazed at how much was being communicated in such a small space – not only about Bates and Hill – but about Omega’s values, sensibilities, and agency. After reading the attached information and checking out the following links, I trust you too will be uplifted. Please don’t cheat yourself. Check out Julian Bond’s interview with Brother Hill. There is a lot of great history revealed, e.g., who was Barbara Johns and what was the significance of the case Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County? Also make time to watch the interview with Brother Hill’s son, Oliver W. Hill, Jr. It’s long but worth it!

Brother Mays would be pleased that Brother Hill got sixty seconds worth of distance run out of every minute. So, too, did Ellis F. Corbett, then Editor of the Oracle, get all he could out of page 10. I was so impressed with how much good was packed into one page, at the risk of being run out of town, I adapted Dr. Mays’ poem and created one of my own:

I’ve only just a page,
Only 500 words fit on this stage.
Forced upon me, must comply,
Or catch the Editor’s side-eye,

But it’s up to me to uncage,
Regardless of the limits of this page,
The story of the age…
Such that sensibilities do engage.

Oh! How just a tiny little page,
Bears the fulcrum of our gauge

Read More – Hill_1948TimesDispatch_WinsCouncilSeat(enlarge after opening)

Read More – Hill_Sum1976Oracle(see bottom of page)

Read More – Hill_Win1980Oracle(article extract)

Read More – Hill_Mar1958Oracle(pages 9-11)

Make it a great week Brothers. Be noble! VOTE!

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