103 years ago today the GREAT Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (“Omega”)was founded! Of course, this is a big deal for all Omega’s, but should be celebrated by the masses since it is because of Omega’s Achievement Week celebration that there is now a Black History Month. Created by the great historian, author of groundbreaking The Mis-Education of the Negro , and Omega Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1920 as National Negro Achievement and Literature Week (“Achievement Week”) “to devote more time and attention to the study and dissemination of facts about ‘Negro’ life and history, and to present important achievements of Black people which might escape public notice and thus not be properly recorded.”
In 1927, at Brother Woodson’s urging, Omega made Achievement Week an annual mandated program for all members and chapters to observe. The success of Omega’s Achievement Week eventually saw it adopted by the larger Black community as Negro History Week in 1948. Then in 1976 Negro History Week became Black History Month and world history was changed forever as the rich and vast history and accomplishments of Black people were no longer completely hidden from public discourse, acknowledgment, and acceptance!
No one should be suprsided at any achievement Omega produces because being on the forefront of history and in the vanguard for the advancement of Black men, the Black Community, and society in general has been at the focus of the fraternity from its beginning. Founded November 17, 1911 at Howard University, by esteemed students Edgar Amos Love, Oscar J. Cooper, and Frank Coleman and their faculty advisor Ernest E. Just Omega’became the first fraternity established at a Historically Black College or University (“HBCU”).
Omega’s named is derived from a Greek phrase meaning “Friendship is Essential to the Soul” and is also the Fraternity’s motto. Additionally, the founders selected Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Upliftas Omega’s Cardinal Principles that members pledge to uphold at all times.
Today Omega proudly has thousands of active members operating in over 700 chapters throughout the United States, Bermuda, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany, and Kuwait, and has become one of the premier organizations for Black men in the world. In fact, there are many notable Omega Men recognized as leaders in every industry known to man, including such well-known people as Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson, Actor/Humanitarian Bill Cosby, basketball great Michael Jordan, and the founder of Black History Month Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
Damario Solomon-Simmons, Esq., M.Ed. is the managing partner of SolomonSimmonsSharrock & Associates law firm, an adjunct professor of African & African-American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and a 15 year active member of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity. He has served in a variety of capacities within Omega, including State Of Oklahoma Legal Counsel, XI Omega Chapter’s Chaplin, and XI Omega Chapter’s Achievement Week Chairman. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.solomonsimmons.com.