Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

Omega Psi Phi
Founded November 17, 1911; 102 years ago
Howard University
Type Social
Emphasis Service
Scope International
Motto Friendship is Essential to the Soul
Colors      Royal Purple
     Old Gold
Symbol Lamp
Publication Oracle
Chapters 750+
Nickname Omegas, Sons of Blood and Thunder, Omega Men, Da Bruhz, Ques, Que Dogs
Headquarters 3951 Snapfinger Parkway
DecaturGeorgiaUnited States of America
Homepage Omega Psi Phi Fraternity website


Omega Psi Phi (ΩΨΦ) is an international fraternity with over 700 undergraduate and graduate chapters. The fraternity was founded on November 17, 1911 by three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi is the first predominantly African-American fraternity to be founded at ahistorically black university.


Since its founding in 1911, Omega Psi Phi’s stated purpose has been to attract and build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship,perseverance, and uplift. Throughout the world, many notable members are recognized as leaders in the arts, academics, athletics, entertainment, business, civil rights, education, government, and science fields. A few notable members includeRoy Wilkins, Benjamin Hooks, Vernon Jordan, Dr. Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson, William H. Hastie (U.S. Virgin Islands) and L. Douglas Wilder, Representative James Clyburn, Earl Graves, Bill Cosby, Tom Joyner, Charles Bolden, General William “Kip” Ward, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Shammond Williams,Vince Carter, Steve Harvey, Rickey Smiley, Lieutenant Colonel Maury Williams,Ray Lewis, Stephen A. Smith, and numerous presidents of colleges and universities. Over 250,000 men have been initiated into Omega Psi Phi throughout the United States, Bermuda, Bahamas,Virgin Islands, South Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany, and Kuwait. On the 2013 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, six players and GM Ozzie Newsome are members. 

File:Omega Psi Phi Founders.gif

Omega Psi Phi Founders


In 1924, at the urging of fraternity member Carter G. Woodson, the fraternity launched Negro History and Literature Week in an effort to publicize the growing body of scholarship on African-American history. Encouraged by public interest, the event was renamed “Negro Achievement Week” in 1925 and given an expanded national presence in 1926 by Woodson’s Association for the Study of Negro Life as “Negro History Week.” Expanded to the full month of February from 1976, this event continues today as Black History Month.

Since 1945, the fraternity has undertaken a National Social Action Program to meet the needs of African Americans in the areas of health, housing, civil rights, and education. Omega Psi Phi has been a patron of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since 1955, providing an annual gift of $350,000 to the program.

Omega Psi Phi is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), which is composed of nine predominately African-American Greek-letter sororities and fraternities that promote interaction through forums, meetings, and other media for the exchange of information, and engage in cooperative programming and initiatives throughout the world. The (NPHC) currently represents over 2.5 million members. 


The Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi in 1911.


Centennial Celebration

Omega Psi Phi celebrated its centennial during the week of July 27–31, 2011 in Washington D.C., becoming distinguished as only the third African-American collegiate fraternity to reach the century mark. The Centennial Celebration recognized the impact of the Fraternity in communities over the past 100 years, honored Omega Men for achievement in all walks of life, reiterated Omega Psi Phi’s commitment to providing unparalleled community service and scholarship, and charted the Fraternity’s future activities.

Internationally Mandated Programs

Each Chapter administers Internationally Mandated Programs every year: 

Achievement Week – A week in November that seeks to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to society. During the Achievement Week, a High School Essay Contest is held and the winner usually receives a scholarship award.

Scholarship – The Charles R. Drew Scholarship Program is to encourage academic progress among the organizations undergraduate members. A portion of the fraternity’s budget is designated for the Charles R. Drew Scholarship Commission, which awards scholarships to members and non-members.

Social Action Programs – All chapters are required to participate in programs that uplift their society. Many participate in activities like: voter registration, illiteracy programs, mentoring programs, fundraisers, and charitable organizations such as American Diabetes Association, United Way, and the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.

Talent Hunt Program – Each chapter is required to hold a yearly talent contest, to encourage young people to expose themselves to the Performing Arts. Individuals who win these talent contests receive an award, such as a scholarship.

Memorial Service – March 12 is Omega Psi Phi Memorial Day. Every chapter of the Fraternity performs a ritualistic memorial service to remember members who have died.

Reclamation and Retention – This program is an effort to encourage inactive members to become fully active and participate in the fraternity’s programs.

College Endowment Funds – The fraternity donates thousands of dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities each year.

Health Initiatives – Chapters are required to coordinate programs that will encourage good health practices. Programs that members involve themselves in include HIV/AIDS awareness, blood drives, prostate cancer awareness, and sickle cell anemia awareness programs.

Voter Registration, Education and Motivation – Coordination activities that promote voter registration and mobilization.

NAACP – A Life Membership at Large in the NAACP is required by all chapters and districts. 


Further information: List of Omega Psi Phi brothers and List of Omega Psi Phi chapters

Omega Psi Phi recognizes undergraduate and graduate membership. College students must be working toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution, have at least 36 semester credits, and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average. For the graduate chapter, an applicant must already possess a bachelor’s degree. The fraternity grants honorary membership to men who have contributed to society in a positive way on a national or international level. For example, Charles Young (March 12, 1864 – January 2, 1922) was the third African American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, the first African American military attaché, and the highest ranking black officer (Colonel) in the United States Army until his death in 1922.

National Pan-Hellenic Council membership

Main article: National Pan-Hellenic Council

In 1930, Omega Psi Phi became one of 5 founding members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). Today, the NPHC is composed of nine international black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities and promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions. 

Grand Basilei

Name Order Time in Office
Edgar Amos Love 1st Grand Basileus 1911–1912  
Oscar J. Cooper 2nd Grand Basileus 1912–1913  
Edgar Amos Love 3rd Grand Basileus 1913–1915  
George E. Hall 4th Grand Basileus 1915–1916  
James C. McMorries 5th Grand Basileus 1916–1917  
Clarence F. Holmes 6th Grand Basileus 1917–1918  
Raymond G. Robinson 7th Grand Basileus 1918–1920  
Harold H. Thomas 8th Grand Basileus 1920–1921  
J. Alston Atkins 9th Grand Basileus 1921–1924  
John W. Love 10th Grand Basileus 1924[a]  
George E. Vaughn 11th Grand Basileus 1924–1926  
Julius S. McClain 12th Grand Basileus 1926–1929  
Matthew W. Bullock 13th Grand Basileus 1929–1932  
Lawrence A. Oxley 14th Grand Basileus 1932–1935  
William Baugh 15th Grand Basileus 1935–1937  
Albert W. Dent 16th Grand Basileus 1937–1940  
Z. Alexander Looby 17th Grand Basileus 1940–1945  
Campbell C. Johnson 18th Grand Basileus 1945–1947  
Harry T. Penn 19th Grand Basileus 1947–1949  
Milo C. Murray 20th Grand Basileus 1949–1951  
Grant Reynolds 21st Grand Basileus 1951–1953  
John F. Potts 22nd Grand Basileus 1953–1955  
Herbert E. Tucker, Jr. 23rd Grand Basileus 1955–1958  
I. Gregory Newton 24th Grand Basileus 1958–1961  
Cary D. Jacobs 25th Grand Basileus 1961–1964  
George E. Meares 26th Grand Basileus 1964–1967  
Ellis F. Corbett 27th Grand Basileus 1967–1970  
James Avery 28th Grand Basileus 1970–1973  
Marion Garnett 29th Grand Basileus 1973–1976  
Dr. Edward Braynon, Jr. 30th Grand Basileus 1976–1979  
Burnel E. Coulon 31st Grand Basileus 1979−1982  
Dr. L. Benjamin Livingston 32nd Grand Basileus 1982–1984  
Dr. Moses C. Norman 33rd Grand Basileus 1984–1990  
Dr. C. Tyrone Gilmore, Sr 34th Grand Basileus 1990–1994  
Dr. Dorsey Miller 35th Grand Basileus 1994–1998  
Lloyd Jordan, Esq. 36th Grand Basileus 1998–2002  
George H. Grace 37th Grand Basileus 2002–2006  
Warren G. Lee 38th Grand Basileus 2006–2010  
Dr. Andrew Ray 39th Grand Basileus 2010–Current  

a. Finished unexpired term of Atkins


“Unofficial” practices

Like many fraternal organizations, Omega Psi Phi has a rich tradition of terminology and practices that are officially unsanctioned by their national leadership. While some traditions are naturally secret such as the true identity of the “Black Bandit”, many are freely expressed in public. A popular one is referring to members as “Que Dogs” or “Ques” for short.  Another is the practice of members voluntarily undergoing branding of the letters, or variations and designs based on them (such as two linked Omega symbols), on their skin. The brands often are displayed in public as a matter of pride; some new members first learn of the fraternity by seeing members bearing brands.

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