Beta Chapter's History spans over one hundred years of rich and bountiful Omega History. As the second chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Beta stands out as one of the true original storied chapters of black greek fraternity life. Listed below is much of that history as chronicled by Beta Chapter members themselves.
In the Fall of 1913 four members of the Junior Class of Lincoln University met in Brother A.M. Willis’ room to consider the most expedient move to circumvent the unscrupulous attacks of certain factions and political onslaughts. In this meeting were F.P. Stewart, A.M. Willis, H.E. James, and N.A. Holmes. After a prolonged consideration we decided that an effort must be made to unite against the aristocratic tyranny of certain members of the University.
The twenties saw the first decade of the existence of Beta Chapter. As the fraternity continued
to flourish, Beta lead by example in choosing strong goal oriented men. During this period
Bro. Melvin B. Tolsen was on campus and had begun his illustrious career by winning interstate
poetry contests, oratorical prizes, and was well known as an interscholastic debater.
The 1930s marked a very tumultuous time in America. The Great Depression was in full force and the financial crisis also affected the members of the chapter. Amongst one of the prevalent problems in 1930 was the payment of chapter dues. There were only 33% of brothers who were financial even with threats of suspension from the Grand Chapter. The Beta brothers were also concerned about the presence of Beta Chapter in New York since 4 out of 5 men from New York pledged a different fraternity. These challenges, however, did not sway Beta’s resolve to push forward with the celebration of their Achievement Week Program. The culminating program featured speeches by Bro. Van Buren Luke (A Circumspect of Negro Achievement) and Brother Fontaine (The Obligation of College Negro Youth). In 1935 Bro. Barrington Parker (Basileus) saw the Achievement Week Program feature Bro. Thurman L. Dodson, President of the Colored Bar Association in Washington D.C.
Beta Chapter initiated seven Lampados in 1940 to usher in the new decade of fraternal history.
The brothers still took pride in their Achievement Week programming. This year’s guest
speaker was Bro. William Hastie, Dean of Howard University Law School. Bro. Langston
Hughes had just published his autobiography “The Big Sea” in which he recounts his life and reflects on his time at Lincoln University and Beta Chapter. In 1941 Beta held its annual banquet
welcoming home all brothers. Bro. Rominus Stokes was Basileus and Bro. Roscoe L. Browne was Keeper of Records and Seals. The brothers had become synonymous with athletic by the early 1940s and had won several intramural titles in football and baseball.
Beta Chapter continued to distinguish itself on the campus of Lincoln University. Beta
Chapter was responsible for sponsoring classical record recitals in the University Chapel in an attempt to bring more culture to campus. In the realm of sports, Beta’s intramural basketball
team were champions in 1950. Beta also was scheduled their annual Beta Ball. In 1952 Beta was one of five host chapters for the 38th Grand Conclave in Philadelphia. 1954 saw Lincoln University celebrating 100 years and the brothers of Beta Chapter were an integral part of the celebration.
The 1960s saw a radical shift in African American civil rights movements and the history
of Beta Chapter. During this era there were major changes taking place at Lincoln University
and in the society at large. Fall of 1965 was the beginning of residential co-education at Lincoln.
Women had been enrolled since 1954, however, there were no facilities for women to live
on campus until the Alumni House was opened to them. Twenty-five women lived on campus
that year. By 1968, enrollment of women stood at approximately 200.
The 1970s brought an abundance of brothers into the fold. In addition, this decade also bought brothers who were dedicated to enhancing the campus environment through service. Brothers were recognized for garnering support for the NAACP when they needed it most. Beta rallied the Lincoln community to enhance this endeavor. The brothers also organized a canned food drive for the Red Cross. The brothers also honored the living legacy of Sister Wilson during a banquet. Brothers were frequently recognized for their scholastic and academic achievements such as Bro. Charles Cephas and Bro. Oscar Rider who was the subject of a full feature in The Lincolnian, the Lincoln University newspaper.
The 1980s up through today has brought about many positive transitions, additions & accomplishments. In 1981, Omega endowed its first Omega faculty chair at Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi that would be used to promote the humanities. The 75th Anniversary Grand Conclave was celebrated & surpassed the previous attendance record of all Grand Conclaves. In addition, we experienced the transitioning of several great Omega men, H. Carl Moultrie I, Ronald E. McNair, Don Q. Pullen, and W. Mercer Cook into Omega Chapter.
The new decade brought forth the initiation of The Twenty Pearls on February 17, 1990. These young men were scholars, athletes, radio campus DJs and leaders in various campus organizations. They would be the last Beta Chapter line to march on the campus of Lincoln University as this portion of the process was abolished in the summer of 1990. The first order of business was the election of officers: Donald Glenn (Basileus), Paul Parker (Vice-Basileus), Richard Rogers (Keeper of Records and Seal), John Brisco (Keeper of Finance), Michael Dennis (Keeper of Peace) and Charles Clemmons (Chaplain).
Initiated into the fold in 2000, the 14 Homicidal Killers were poised to take Beta into the new millennium blazing new trails in its already storied history. Entering the fall of 2000, there were 13 brothers on campus. The motto for the year was to "Be the bridge builders of Beta." The chapter officers included Basileus Jermaine Wallace, Vice Basileus Michael Henderson, Keeper of Records and Seal Montez Jordan, Keeper of Finance Michael Hardy, Chaplain Darius Kimbrough, and Keeper of Peace Kyle Epps. The first social event of the year was the coming out show of Spring 2000, which some has stated was the "best" probate show in Beta History. The brothers kicked off the year with a Big Brother - Little Brother/Sister program. Each member was assigned a group of freshmen, and they helped their mentees with everything from how to operate the washing machines to studying skills. The brothers also held the "Rep Your City Basketball Tournament” which was a retake on the original Omega Classic Basketball game.