It began with Friendship

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically black college or university.

On the evening of Friday, November 17, 1911, three Howard University undergraduate students -- Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman -- met with their faculty advisor Professor Ernest Everett Just in his office in Science Hall (later to be renamed Thirkield Hall) to establish a fraternity.  At this meeting, they decided upon the fraternity's name -- Omega Psi Phi -- derived from the initials of the Greek phrase “friendship is essential to the soul”.  That phrase was selected as the fraternity's motto. 

The Founders chose Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift as the four Cardinal Principles of the fraternity and decided upon the design of the fraternity’s pin and escutcheon. 

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was born. 

On Thursday, November 23, 1911, the three undergraduate Founders met and elected Edgar A. Love as the first Grand Basileus, and Oscar J. Cooper and Frank Coleman as the first Grand Keeper of Records and Grand Keeper of Seals, respectively. To expand the fraternity's reach and presence at Howard University, the Founders sought out like men of high attainment and who possessed the Cardinal Principles upon which the fraternity was founded. On November 23, 1911, they chose eleven others to join the fold of Omega. Later on December 15, 1911, Alpha chapter was born. The eleven Charter members joining the Founders were:  William S. Gilbert, Charles Young Harris, Clarence Albert Hayes, Benjamin Harry Jones, Clarence Osceola Lewis, Julius Henderson Love, William Albert Love, William Henry Pleasants, Charles Brougham Washington, Edgar Paul Westmoreland and Frank Howell Wimberly

The three undergraduate Founders then formed a committee to draw up a constitution that would be submitted to the President of the university for faculty approval.

Our Founders
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Dr. Ernest E. Just

Ernest E. Just was born in Charleston, SC. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa), and was the first recipient of the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP in 1915. He earned a Dr. of Philosophy Degree, University of Chicago in 1916; and became the 19th honoree in the USPS Black Heritage Stamp Series on Feb. 1, 1996.

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Prof. Frank Coleman

Frank Coleman was born in Washington, D.C. He Graduated from the M Street High School, Washington,D.C. and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree from Howard University in 1913 and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Chicago. He was a Professor and head of the Physics Department at Howard University and served in WWI as an U.S. Army Officer.

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Dr. Oscar J. Cooper

Oscar J. Cooper was born in Washington, D.C. He went on to graduate from the M Street High School, Washington, D.C. and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from Howard University in 1913. He obtained a Doctor of Medicine Degree from Howard University in 1917, and practiced medicine in Philadelphia, PA for 50 years.

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Biship Edgar A. Love

Edgar A. Love was born in Harrisburg, VA. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Howard University in 1913. He also obtained a Bachelor of Divinity Degree from Howard in 1916; a Bachelor of Sacred Theology Degree, Boston University in 1918; and a Doctor of Divinity Degree (Honorary) from Morgan College in 1935. He was a U.S. Army Chaplain in WWI, and Bishop, Methodist Church.

Dr. Ernest E. Just
(1883 - 1941)
Professor Frank Coleman
(1890 - 1967)
Dr. Oscar J. Cooper
(1888 - 1972)
Bishop Edgar A. Love
(1891 - 1974)
Scroll Our Timeline to View Omega's Rich History

 NOTABLE MEN WHO'VE SHAPED OMEGA

Dr. Percy Julian

As a leading chemist, Percy Julian was a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs such as cortisone, steroids and birth control pills. Credited with discovering the use of foam to extinguish fires.

Dr. Charles Drew

Renowned surgeon who pioneered methods of storing blood plasma for transfusion and organized the first large-scale blood bank in the U.S.  Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood .

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He was one of the first scholars to study African-American history and considered the "Father of Black History".