Omega Psi Phi Fraternity,
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. History
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. This event occurred in the office of biology Professor Ernest E. Just, the faculty adviser, in the Science Hall (now known as Thirkield Hall). The three liberal arts students were Edgar A. Love, Oscar J. Cooper and Frank Coleman. From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning "Friendship is Essential to the Soul", the name Omega Psi Phi was derived. The phrase was selected as the motto. Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift were adopted as cardinal principles.
Omega continues to flourish, largely because Founders Love, Cooper, Coleman and Just were men of the very highest ideals and intellect. The Founders selected and attracted men of similar ideals and characteristics. It is not by accident that many of America's great black men are and were Omega Men. To this date, there are very few Americans whose lives have not been touched by a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity!
Xi Chapter History
Xi Chapter (Ξ) of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporate was charted May 23, 1921 on the campus of the University of Minnesota. It was the 14th chapter founded under the leadership of 8th Grand Basileus Harold H. Thomas, chartered only ten years after the founding of the fraternity in 1911. Xi chapter’s charter members were:
Albert Morello Butler
George William King
Hutchins Franklin Inge
Theodore R. Inge
Fredrick Douglass Inge
Booker W. Harris
Earl Fleetwood Kyle
Roy Ottoway Wilkins
Robert W. Harris
Some of Xi's most notable brother include:
Roy Ottoway Wilkins who served as the chapter’s first Basileus. Wilkins broke major ground while on the U of M campus. He was the first black student to become a reporter for the Minnesota Daily, the student-run newspaper. He also was the first black student to participate in the school’s prestigious annual Pillsbury Oratorical Contest, winning third place. Wilkins also won the coveted Phi Beta Kappa key denoting his prowess as a scholar. He later distinguished himself as the head of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and leading black civil rights organization for 22 years. Roy Wilkins Residence Hall on the Minnesota campus is named in his honor.
John Watson Chenault and Walter Jerome Minor who both distinguished themself as two of the first black graduates from the University of Minnesota’s medical school. Both later became doctors, for Chenault being name the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at the John A. Andrews Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama and Minor the Director of Surgery at the Huston Negro Hospital in Houston, Texas.
Earl Wilkins, the younger brother of chapter charter member Roy Wilkins, who also achieved great acclaim like his older brother. Earl won the Ludden Real Estate Freshman-Sophomore Oratorical Contest and followed in his brother’s footsteps by earning a spot on the editorial board of The Minnesota Daily in 1925. He also represented Xi chapter at the annual Minnesota Gridiron Banquet, the yearly event designed to address university student issues. Wilkins was the first black student to be invited to attend this event.
James Arthur Weiseger was an outstanding performer in athletics at the university becoming a star in track and field. He was a school record holder in the 880 event for several years and also was named the first black team captain of any sport at the University of Minnesota. Weiseger diligently served the fraternity at the national level as Grand Keep of Records(4th highest position in the fraternity) and Seal for two terms from 1933-1936 and 1946-1948. During his time as Grand Keeper of Records and Steal the fraternity saw the greatest expansion in its history. For his service he was awarded the Omega Man of the Year in 1946.
Horace Huntley, who in January 1969 led a major student demonstration that became known as “The Morrill Hall Takeover”. It garnered national attention and as a result led to the forming of the African American Studied Department and the hiring of black faculty at the University. The Huntley House for African American Men is named in his honor.
Since founding in 1921, Xi Chapter has produced influential men that have changed the landscape of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the United States in civil rights, politics, athletics, education, business, science and the arts. Xi chapter strives to maintain the highest level of enthusiasm and commitment to uphold the fraternities Four Cardinal Principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift!