The History of Phi Beta Sigma
The Most Honorable Founder, A. Langston Taylor, on Saturday, October 8, 1913, presented to The Most Honorable Founder, Leonard F. Morse the proposition of establishing a new fraternity. The Most Honorable Founder, Charles I. Brown, another student at Howard University in Washington, D.C, was invited to aid the movement.
Hence, Phi Beta Sigma Fraterntiy Inc. was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 1914. 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 ideals of brotherhood, scholarship and service.
The founders deeply wished to create an organization that viewed itself as "apart of" the general community rather than "apart from" 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 Humanity".
Today, over ninety years 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. (to provide housing assistance) and the Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union (to build financial equity within our target communities).
As a social and service organization, Phi Beta Sigma has many programs. The three National Programs of Bigger and Better Business, Social Action, and Education, help focus the fraternity on delivering to the needs of today's and tomorrow's world.
- Preston J. Edwards - CEO and Publisher, Black Collegian Magazine
- Carter D. Womack - Executive Vice President of Human Resources & CPO for Value City Department Stores Inc.
- Alden J. McDonald - Pres. and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust Company of New Orleans, LA
- Joe Dudley - President and CEO of Dudley Hair Care Products
- Jerry Rice - Greatest Wide Receiver of ALL Time
- Emmit Smith - One of the Greatest Running Backs of ALL Time
- Al Joyner - Track & Field
- Alain Leroy Locke - First Black Rhodes Scholar, Author
- George Washington Carver - World Famous Scientist
- Rod Paige - Past Secretary of Education
- James Weldon Johnson - Author, Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
- Jay Anthony Brown - Comedian, Tom Joyner Morning Show
- Blair Underwood - Actor, "L.A. Law", "Set It Off"
- Bobby Jones - Bobby Jones Gospel Hour
- Les Brown - Motivational Speaker
- Huey P. Newton - Co-founder, Black Panther Party
- John Lewis - U.S. Congressman
- Mark "Flex" Knox - Comedian, Actor, "One on One"