Third District History and Archives Monday Pearl 12/9/19 – For the Culture

Greetings Brothers!

In October 1969, Nina Simone recorded her classic song, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black." Simone was one of several gifted artists, writers, and poets who helped define the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. This group "sought to reconceptualize “the Negro” apart from the white stereotypes that had influenced black peoples’ relationship to their heritage and to each other. They also sought to break free of Victorian moral values and bourgeois shame about aspects of their lives that might, as seen by whites, reinforce racist beliefs."

Simone drew inspiration for "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" from her friend Lorraine Hansberry, writer and playwright, whose unpublished works at the time of her death in 1965 were used as source material for the play by the same name. Actually the play was titled, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words." Hansberry is distinguished for many reasons, in particular, for authoring the play "A Raisin in the Sun." When the play debuted on Broadway in 1959, Hansberry became the first Black female author to have a play performed in the storied theater district.

Hansberry drew inspiration for "A Raisin in the Sun" from a collection of poems written in 1951 by Brother Langston Hughes titled, "Montage of A Dream Deferred," in which Hughes writes:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

"A Raisin in the Sun" was significant because it reflected in art the real-life struggle on the part of Black people in post Jim Crow America to reconcile our own ambitions, humanity, abilities, values, dignity, and dreams with the elusive "promise" of life, liberty, and happiness - otherwise known as the so-called American dream. As Brother Arthur P. Davis described in an article titled, "Integration and Race Literature," that appeared in the September 1961 Oracle, writers like Hansberry had "to find new themes within the racial framework." Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" was a declaration that, unlike the so-called American dream, the discovery of a new form of expression would not be deferred. This new form of expression would more intentionally deal with the discovery and promotion of individual, familial, and cultural acceptance and pride not only as a matter of course, but as a matter of fact. As Simone would later pen in her anthem

"...When you're young, gifted and black, your soul's in tact...To be young, gifted and black Is where it's at."

A decade earlier, this new form of expression was favorably recognized by Omega when in December 1959, Lorraine Hansberry was awarded Citizen of the Year at the 46th Grand Conclave.

Please make time to read the attached articles and definitely check out this video which includes part of a great interview with Nina Simone and a live performance of "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" Simone performed at Morehouse College in 1969 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hdVFiANBTk. Watch/listen to the end. If you have time, check this one out too, performed by Simone later in life in 1988 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZelQEmnkulc.

Black is Beautiful!

Read More - Hansberry_Mar1960Oracle

Read More - Davis_Sep1961Oracle

Make it a great week Brothers. Be Noble!

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

Thanksgiving Day in Fredericksburg, VA

Thanksgiving Day came early to some families in the Greater Fredericksburg, King George and Westmoreland Counties areas. The men of Tau Rho Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, and its affiliate The Rappahannock Regional Scholarship and Uplift Foundation provided Turkeys and Food boxes to families in need for the Thanksgiving Holiday. On Monday, November 25th, 2019 at 7pm at the Fredericksburg Boys and Girls Club of the Rappahannock Region, 20 families came to receive a decorated Food Box and a 25 Lbs. Turkey. These families were from Fredericksburg, Caroline, Stafford, and Spotsylvania counties. On Tuesday, November 26th, in Westmoreland and King George counties, six additional families received a Food box and Turkey.

The Chairman of the Thanksgiving basket project is Brother Antonia Samuels. This event supports the Fraternity's mission of providing community service to its service areas and continuing to expand its level of support to the more distant regions of King George and Westmoreland. The Tau Rho Basileus, Norris Arceneaux, and Lyndon Roane, the Chairman of the Rappahannock Regional Scholarship and Uplift Foundation, along with the members of the Tau Rho Chapter are focused on continuously expanding the chapter's outreach for needed services. These services include providing over $4000 in college scholarships each year to High School seniors; providing one on one and group Mentoring services; a yearly Talent hunt program with cash awards; bi-annual highway cleanups; a Free Community Chapter Cook-out and recognizing deserving students with a certificate each year for high academics. Plans are already in place for our Christmas giveaway. Tell the Kids to be ready as the Tau Rho Chapter, Omega Psi Phi of Fredericksburg, continues to strive for service in the Greater Fredericksburg Area.

 

Families gather around Brother Antonio Samuels, (center) chairman Thanksgiving project.
rothers (L to R) Forrest Parker, Norman Carter, Antonio Samuels, Norris Arceneaux, Basileus, Tracy Whitehurst, Mark McLaurin, and Calvin Taylor post in from of the Food boxes

Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia

Richmond, Virginia September 10, 2019, Upsilon Nu donated $1, 000.00 to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. The donation was a further demonstration of Upsilon Nu’s support of Social organizations. This donation was a result of a partnership with the Richmond Pan Hellenic organization. Under this arrangement each member organization will donate $1,000.00 over the next two years.

In the spring of 2016, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia adopted a new location—the Leigh Street Armory. The Leigh Street Armory was built by skilled black craftsmen and laborers in 1894-95, providing Virginia’s black soldiers with an armory to call their own. In 1899, just four years after the armory opened, the city converted the armory into a school for African American children. Closed after decades of service as a Richmond school, the armory was reopened once again to serve black servicemen during World War II. In 1942, the building became the Monroe Center, a recreation center for black troops. In 1945, it became an annex and a gym for local schools, then home to the Colored Special School from 1952-54.

Prior to becoming the new home of the Museum, the Leigh Street Armory had endured a fire and decades of neglect and abandonment. In 1981, the city declared the armory as surplus property. As a result, the building remained padlocked until 2002. However, a grant from Save America’s Treasures, a national historical site preservation program, agreed to fund the armory’s rehabilitation.

The Black History Museum’s permanent collection is a gateway to the rich history, heritage and significant accomplishments of African Americans in Virginia. The collection includes art, artifacts, textiles, photographs, rare books, music and other items. The Museum also hosts traveling exhibitions, literary talks, and special events throughout the year. Many thanks to Brother Daren Exum, for coordinating this worthy effort to support one of our jewels of the community. When I heard bout this initiative, I just thought it was very important that we participate. I took it to the chapter and there was overwhelming support, form there we just executed our next steps, stated Brother Exum.

Third District History and Archives Monday Pearl 12/2/19 – The Roanoke Wheel

Greetings Brothers!

In many of the old Oracles Brothers who demonstrated an ability to execute, mobilize, and affect progress were often referred to as "wheels". The wheels of Omega took it upon themselves to ensure our programs, administration, and appreciation of fellowship remained a going concern.Many of these same Brothers (and others) were "wheels" in their respective fields and professions.

It should not be surprising that In the field of education Omega claims many "wheels" past and current. After all, what better expression of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift is there than to show someone how to realize their potential and change their circumstance for the better through education. One might rightly proffer that thanks to the contributions of countless Omega educators, both a race and a country have been immeasurably uplifted.

Some of these "wheels" are more known than others - Ben Mays, Albert Dent, Luther Jackson, etc. Some are less known but important all the same. The principled sacrifices these men made to turn the wheels of progress are highlighted in this passage that appears in a profile of our 22nd Grand Basileus John F. Potts, Sr.

"On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka outlawing segregation in public schools. That same month, the Board of Trustees of Voorhees School and Junior College in Denmark, South Carolina, offered Potts the position of President of the college. The offer came as a surprise to Potts. He enjoyed Avery and the City of Charleston, as did his growing family. Deciding to leave Avery was difficult for him. To make his decision more challenging, Voorhees was in financial trouble and was experiencing academic and administrative problems. The school was on the verge of closing and needed immediate attention. To keep Potts at Avery, the Charleston School Board offered him the position of Supervisor of Negro Schools, however, Potts’ sense of duty and service prevailed, and he did not accept.

He was aware of the hardships endured by the school’s founder, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, to create educational opportunities where there were none, and he felt he should do whatever he could to save the institution. Potts wrote in a letter to the Chairman of the Voorhees Trustee Board, “I have decided to take the presidency of Voorhees because I believe it affords me a larger opportunity for service.” On June 1, 1954, Potts traveled to Denmark, South Carolina to become Voorhees’ next president.

Potts served as President of Voorhees from 1954 to 1970. During his administration, through planning and perseverance he brought the institution from the brink of closing its doors to financial solvency and academic credibility. Soon after taking office, Potts created a new vision for the school that included strengthening the academic program, increasing income and broadening the financial base, improving the physical plant, and becoming a fully accredited four-year liberal arts college. He accomplished all these things, and in doing so, he not only transformed the institution, but transformed the lives of thousands."

While Potts hailed from the Sixth District, there is no shortage of education "wheels" in the Third District. One such educator, Brother Dr. Arnette G. Macklin served as Director of the National Achievement Week Committee before Grand Basileus Harry T. Penn appointed him Chairman of the Scholarship Commission in 1949, a post he would hold until 1953. When Potts was elected Grand Basileus in 1953, he appointed Arthur P. Davis (from the Third District) to lead the Scholarship Commission, but enlisted Macklin's continued support on a panel of qualified Omega educators to discuss how the Fraternity could better emphasize and improve undergraduate academic performance.

Macklin was a true and loyal son of the Third District. Born in Roanoke, VA in 1904, Macklin attended and graduated from Virginia Union University where he pledged and was initiated into Omega through Zeta Chapter in 1926. After receiving masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan and Ohio State University, respectively, Macklin returned to Roanoke. Upon his return, Macklin assisted in chartering Gamma Alpha chapter in 1933. Macklin would go on to serve as Basileus of Gamma Alpha chapter before taking a position at Virginia State College where he focused on improving the state of general education in the State of Virginia. While in Petersburg (or more accurately, the "little town of Ettrick" I'm told), Macklin proceeded to turn big wheels as a member and Basileus of Delta Omega chapter and the Director of the Division of Basic Education at Virginia State College.

Please make time to read the attached short article that appeared in the December 1958 Oracle upon Brother Macklin's transition to Omega Chapter.

Please also take time to thank at least one current and former Third District educator for their service and contribution. You are MSPU personified (not to be mistaken for MSP Certified - LOL).

Read More - Macklin_Dec1958Oracle

Make it a great week Brothers. Be Noble!

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. Previous "Pearls" can be found at http://3rddistrictques.org/about-us/overview/monday-pearl/. 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.

Beach Omegas Lead Others in Giving

VIRGINIA BEACH--Brothers of Gamma Xi Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.—assisted by young men from their Golden Fold mentoring program—delivered twelve Thanksgiving baskets to Va. Beach families on November 23. The Beach-based group provided holiday food items to families in the Lake Edwards, Twin Canals and Friendship Village neighborhoods, much as they have since their chartering in 1976. The Golden Fold is an arm of Gamma Xi's "Brothers and Others" community improvement activity. It is comprised of young men in grades six thru twelve, with mentors from the fraternity and local community. Christmas baskets will also be donated in the days before Christmas.

DR’s Thanksgiving Day 2019 Message

 

Greetings Brothers of the Third District,

As we prepare for Thanksgiving and the holidays that follow, we should pause and reflect on the
many blessings that we enjoy with our loved ones, our freedoms as Americans, and the privilege
of serving our great Fraternity.

A celebration rooted in history, this American holiday began with a proclamation from George
Washington in 1789. Thanksgiving recalls the humble gratitude of our ancestors for the freedom
and abundance of a new world at a time when their very survival was anything but certain. We
give our thanks for their courage and perseverance in building the strongest and most generous
democracy the world has ever seen.

At a time when we traditionally give thanks, allow me to thank you all for your hard work in
helping to keep our District functioning effectively and efficiently. I, for one, am thankful for
our District Leadership. I am also thankful for the support of our families and friends throughout
the year. I hope you enjoy special time spent with your loved ones and please know that I deeply
appreciate your dedicated service to our Fraternity.

As you prepare to break bread with your family and friends, let us all remain focused not only on
giving thanks for the blessings of what we have, but also the ability to work through fraternal
committees and commissions in order to contribute to the betterment of our families and
communities, the Third District, and most all Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Have a blessed and
safe Thanksgiving.

In Friendship,
Kevin Brown
29th Third District Representative

Third District History and Archives Monday Pearl 11/25/19 – Salt of the Earth

Greetings Brothers!

As we approach the holiday season, Thanksgiving in particular, let us be spiritually and intellectually mindful of our many individual and collective blessings. Let us also remember that although giving thanks is a reflective act, like history itself, the act of giving thanks also has prospective implications - or at least it should.

I am thankful for Omega for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is that over the arch of time Omega has done what Nietzsche meant when he penned, "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering." It is in this process that Omega has sharpened the steel of an organization whose agency has lived up to the biblical standards of salt and light for 108 years. That's the reflective part.

In 1933, Brother W. Montague Cobb wrote an article titled, "New Frontiers in Anthropology." Cobb began his article with a quote from Alexander Meiklejohn, then president of Amherst College, that read "There are two ways of facing life, two kinds of wisdom for man - dread, the other the way of confidence. One rests on fear and cunning; the other on hope and faith . One is for man, the beast; the other for man, the spirit."

As we turn to the prospective part of this thanksgiving act, I'm hopeful you'll join me in my belief that our Founders would have us face our future with hope and faith; as it is elemental, if not fundamental, to the spirit borne of their vision. As we grapple with the challenges of our time, let us not forget that spirit we are charged with nurturing - that standard history calls us to live up to. Let us not give way to fear and cunning for Nietzsche also said, "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Moreover, the Sermon on the Mount tells us "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Please read and give thought to the attached short article by H. Albion Ferrell, Grand Chaplain Emeritus and son of the Third District.

History is watching Brothers. Be thankful.

Read More - RememberingEAL_Oracle1983Spring

Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving, and as always, be noble!

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. Previous "Pearls" can be found at http://3rddistrictques.org/about-us/overview/monday-pearl/. 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.