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On Friday evening, November 17, 1911, three Howard University undergraduate students, with the assistance of their faculty adviser, gave birth to the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. ... From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning "friendship is essential to the soul," the name Omega Psi Phi was derived. On November 23, 1911, Edgar A. Love became the first Grand Basileus (National President).  Oscar J. Cooper and Frank Coleman were selected to be the Grand Keeper of the Records (National Secretary) and Grand Keeper of Seals (National Treasurer), respectively. Eleven undergraduate men were selected to become the charter members. Alpha chapter was organized with fourteen charter members on December 15, 1911.  

Brother Cooper became the fraternity’s second Grand Basileus in 1912 and authorized the investigation of establishing
a second chapter on the campus of Lincoln University located in Pennsylvania. 

Brother Love was elected as the third Grand Basileus in 1912 and served until 1915.  In 1912, Howard University officials did not initially recognize the fraternity as a national organization and Omega Psi Phi’s leadership refused to accept limited recognition. As a result, the fraternity operated without official sanction, until the university withdrew its opposition in 1914, the same year Beta chapter was chartered at Lincoln University. 

 

Brother George E. Hall, the fourth Grand Basileus, authorized the establishment of Gamma chapter in Boston.

Brother Clarence F. Holmes served as Omega’s sixth Grand Basileus. Under his leadership, the fraternity’s first official hymn, "Omega Men Draw Nigh," was written by Otto Bohannon.

Omega played a vital role when the United States entered World War I in 1917 by having several brothers in the first class of black soldiers graduate from Camp Fort Des Moines, a military training facility located in Iowa. Several Omegas, including Campbell C. Johnson, John Purnell and founders Frank Coleman and Edgar A. Love are among its graduates. A year later in 1918, retired Colonel Charles Young, rode 500 miles on horseback, from Wilberforce, Ohio, to the nation's capital, to show he was always fit for duty. Stanley Douglas served as editor to the first Oracle which was published in the spring of 1919.

Omega Psi Phi was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia on October 28, 1914.  Click here for more information