History of the Zeta Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
Zeta Omicron chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was chartered March 20, 1947 in the city of Hampton, VA. Weeks before on February 17, 1947 the undergraduate chapter Gamma Epsilon was chartered at Hampton Institute. Upon its birth, Zeta Omicron began to carry out it's duties as a graduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi in the city of Hampton. The fraternity's goals and objectives were centered on confronting discrimination in the military and in education. Throughout the years the Fraternity has been on the forefront of the struggle. The members of Zeta Omicron would hold meetings at the homes of various brothers and buildings dedicated to other organizations to tackle the task of achieving the Fraternity's goals and objectives on a local level.
The charter members were:
1. Dr. Fred Inge, chairman of the Biology Dept. at Hampton Institute. 2. Dr. Don A Davis, comptroller in the business department at Hampton Institute. He was also a freshman adviser. 3. Mr. Herman G. Cook was a biology professor at Hampton Institute. He performed a lot of research on white rats. 4. Mr. Arthur Burke 5. Colonel William H. Moses, commander of ROTC at Hampton Institute.
The following information contains a brief history of the Zeta Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, INC.
It was in this time frame that the fraternity needed to recruit men, willing to work to achieve the fraternity's objectives.
Civil rights was an on going struggle for the nation as well as the city. Many brothers pledged their allegiance to this cause by attending and participating in meeting held by the NAACP. In the late forties, the chapter meetings were held at Hampton Institute, Dupont building and at the homes of chapter members.
In 1948, Dr. Fred Inge encouraged as many members as possible to become members of the Urban League which was another organization whose mission was to remove racial discrimination. It was during this time that one of Omega's notable men, Mr. Langston Hughes, visited Hampton Institute to speak on racial discrimination. The members of Zeta Omicron, embraced him and decided to support his cause while in Hampton roads, and fellowship together before Mr. Hughes returned home. Black men with degrees were rare, in the late forties. To support the goals and objectives, the chapter considered bringing men into the organization that did not have degrees.
The idea was not accepted, and the members of Zeta Omicron continued to march on, in their fight for equality.
In 1949, members of the community came to Zeta Omicron asking for their support in keeping the Hampton Community Center open.
The grounds were in poor condition, and the city of threaten to close them down. The members of the chapter, donated money to the Community center, and also aided in doing the necessary repairs for the grounds. Once complete the chapter decided to pursue the city, as a means of funding youth projects in the community center. Mr. T. Ralphe Bunche was presented the Omega Achievement Plaque.
Also in 1949 in order to make sure that the goals and objectives were being met, the chapter needed a structured discipline approach in which to conduct their meetings. The members decided to adopt Robert's Rules of Order in which to conduct their meetings and furnish committee reports.
The Fifties and Sixties
The meetings were held at the Beau Brummell Club, Les Hommes, Hampton Institute and at the homes of chapter members.
In 1951, charter member William H. Moses was promoted to a full Colonel.
In 1952, the fraternity provided seminars to area high schools and Hampton Institute. The subject was "Democracy Now or Ever".
In 1953, NAACP solicited the aid of the Zeta Omicron chapter for a program called Goodwill Greeks. Mr. John Wheeler was selected as Omega Man of the year.
In 1956, Bro. Riley was selected as Omega Man of the year. Bro. Lawrence Barbour was selected as Outstanding Citizen of the year.
In 1957, Mr. Ace Livas started the Omega choir.
In 1958, the chapter had no clear requirements for receiving the Omega Man and Outstanding Citizen awards. The criterion was established under the administration of 7th Basileus, Mr. Riley.
In 1960, Bro. Russell won the Omega Man of the year award. Mr. George Clarke won Outstanding Citizen of the year award.
In 1962, the chapter developed hand books which contained past, present, and future activities. Mr. Oliver Hill won the Omega Man of The Year award.
Mr. James Meredith won the Outstanding Citizen of the year award.
The meetings were held at Shawnís Townhouse, American Legion Post, LíAllegro Club, Beau Brummell Club, Hampton Institute and at the homes of chapter members.
In the late seventies the chapter decided to sponsor children at the Childrenís Home in Petersburg, VA.
In 1977, Mr. Robert M. Screen wrote a book entitled,î With my Face to Rising Sonî That same year Mr. Screen won the Omega Man of the year award.
Mr. Robert L Satcher won the Citizen of the year award. It was also in the time frame the chapter decided to purchase a Fraternity house. The first potential location was 2000 Kecoughtan Rd.
In 1978 the chapter started its first news letter called "The Chronicle". Also, in '78 Mr. John Lewis won the Omega Man of the year award and Mr. Henry L. Gibson won the Citizen of the year award.
In 1979, the community came to the chapter asking for assistance in saving Pembroke High School. The chapter formed a committee to support the effort but was unsuccessful.
Mr. William Harvey was selected as the President of Hampton Institute. Mr. John Watkins was selected by Change Magazine as one of the top 100 young leaders in Higher Education in the United States.
Col. William H. Moses wrote an article in the Newsweek column, "My turn at 30".
On August 7, 1979 the fraternity purchased its first fraternity house at 825 Pocahontas Place, Hampton, Va. 23661.
The chapter also co-hosted the district meeting in 1979.
The Eighties & Nineties
The meetings were held at Shawnís Townhouse, Beau Brummell Club, Our World Club, Midtown, Chamberline Hotel and Les Hommes.
In 1980, Mr. J.W Lewis was recognized by St. Cyprian Church for 32 years of continuous service as Lay Reader Emeritus. A Silver Cross a replica of the Bishop's Cross was presented. Mr. T. Ralphe Bunche was elected to the Hampton City School Board.
In 1981, the chapter decided to sell the Que House; they began having their meeting at Our World Club and at Beau Brummell Club. In 1983.
Mr. Dave Grant was elected as the Area Supervisor of Eastern Area 3 and served until 1995.
In 1987, Mr. Dave Grant was the elected as president of the Pan-Hellenic counsel. In 1993, the Adopt-A- Street program was founded by Mr. Myron McDaniels where the chapter quarterly cleans up a street in the city of Hampton.
In 1997, the Tribute to Fatherhood breakfast program was founded by Mr. Melvin McDaniels. The program is designed to emphasize the positive impact and role of fathers in the family unit.
Today, the Zeta Omicron chapter promotes education through providing academic scholarships to high school seniors and monetary donations to such organization as the UNCF and the NAACP. The chapter actively participates in voter registration; political discussions that directly affect the community such as redistricting and chartering of schools; and youth mentoring programs. Also, the chapter's Youth Leadership conference helps
graduating students understand the importance of attending college and where to apply for scholarships. Through their works, the members of the Zeta Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. have been constantly working toward the goals and objectives of the founders.
It is no wonder, through the legacy of the chapter, that the community, in their time of need, has always been lead toward the men of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc. Men of like attainments and similar ideas, committed to a cause. The chapter's mission to remove discrimination from the education and military systems has made great leaps, but the chapter will continue to be a distinguished voice and a prominent stronghold in the Hampton Roads community.