The Fraternity of First
The History of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was
founded at Howard University in Washington, DC January 9th, 1914 by three
young African American male students. The founders, Honorable A. Langston
Taylor, Honorable Leonard F. Morse, and Honorable Charles I. Brown wanted to
organize a Greek-letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the high
ideals of Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Service.
- The founders deeply wished to create an organization
that viewed itself as "a part of" the general community. They
believed that each potential member should be judged on his own merits
rather than his family background or affluence, without regard of race,
nationality, color, skin tone or texture of hair. They wished and wanted
their fraternity to exist as a part of an even greater
brotherhood-sisterhood which would be devoted to the "inclusive
we" rather than the "exclusive we."
- From its inception, the founders also conceived Phi
Beta Sigma as a mechanism to deliver services to the general community.
Rather than gaining skills to be utilized exclusively for themselves and
their immediate families, the founders of Phi Beta Sigma held the deep
conviction that they should return their newly acquired skills to the
communities from which they had come. This deep conviction was mirrored in
the fraternity motto, "Culture For Service and Service For
- Today, more than three-quarters of a century later,
Phi Beta Sigma has blossomed into an international organization of leaders.
No longer a single entity, the fraternity has now established the Phi Beta
Sigma Educational Foundation, Inc. and the Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit
Union (to build financial equity within our target communities).
- With the force, vigor, power and energy of its more
than 100,000 dedicated men united in more than 700 chapters across the
United States, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, Phi Beta Sigma
continues to faithfully perpetuate composite growth and progress as the
"people's fraternity" dedicated to providing services to all
Fraternity of Firsts
We are often called the Fraternity of African Presidents, Kings and Princes.
We weren't the first African-American Greek-Letter Fraternity to be
founded... However, we are definitely the Fraternity of Firsts...
First to have Presidents of other countries in its membership (Bros. Kwame
Nkrumah, Dr. Nnamdia Azikiwe, and Nelson Mandela).
First Greek-letter Fraternity to be recognized by Howard University April
15, 1914. (Omega Psi Phi wasn't until October 28, 1914)
First to hold a joint International Convention with another African-American
Fraternity (Omega Psi Phi)
First to be offered a chance to merge with another Fraternity (Kappa Alpha
Psi...Thanks, but no thanks!!!)
First to establish a chapter South of the State of Virginia before the year
First and ONLY Black Greek Letter Fraternity to establish a constitutional
bond with a Sorority (Zeta Phi Beta)
First to establish a youth auxiliary program (Sigma Beta Club)
First to own and operate a Credit Union for its members
First and ONLY Black Greek-Letter Fraternity to have one of its members on
the face of a U.S. Coin. (George Washington Carver: The 1951 Half Dollar)
Only 2 African Americans have EVER been on the face of a US coin: George
Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington--who was not Greek
First to establish chapters in the Continent of Africa
First to establish Graduate/Alumni Membership
First to establish an Graduate/Alumni Chapter
First to use the cane . . . (it was used for style)
First to use the Dogmatic Image (not the Q's)
First to come with the idea for the NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council)
Lastly, many Fraternities may have supported the Million-Man March, but only
PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY, INCORPORATED can lay claim to not only
supporting, but also sponsoring the March in its International Headquarters.
If you didn't know...now you know!!!
Often IMITATED, but never DUPLICATED!