BETA CHAPTER HISTORY
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.
The Beginning - The Organization of Beta Chapter:
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.