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HISTORY OF PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY, INC.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 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 ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service.
The Founders deeply wished to create an organization that viewed itself as “a part of” the general community rather than “apart from” the general community. They believed that each potential member should be judged by his own merits, rather than his family background or affluence…without regard to race, nationality, skin tone or texture of hair. They desired for their fraternity to exist as part of an even greater brotherhood 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, they held a 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’s motto, “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity”.
Today, Phi Beta Sigma has blossomed into an international organization of leaders. No longer a single entity, members of the Fraternity have been instrumental in the establishment of the Phi Beta Sigma National Foundation, the Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union and The Sigma Beta Club Foundation. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, founded in 1920 with the assistance of Phi Beta Sigma, is the sister organization of the Fraternity.
The brothers of Phi Beta Sigma are the Fraternity’s most valuable resource and strength. They are the primary means by which the Phi Beta Sigma objectives will be achieved. In order to accomplish the Fraternity’s objectives, it is essential that systems are instituted that effectively embody “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity” and promote brotherhood, scholarship and service.
To optimize Phi Beta Sigma’s effectiveness, the Fraternity will:
Strengthen and serve proactively the brotherhood, as a supportive resource that positively impacts the Fraternity’s growth and financial solvency.
Reaffirm and maintain a strong commitment to brotherhood, scholarship and service.
Ensure that the Fraternity programs are focused and committed to serving humanity.
Create an environment that respects the dignity and worth of each brother.
Exhibit integrity and ethical behavior in conducting the Fraternity’s business. serving as a model for all Greek-letter organizations.
Maintain and improve the Fraternity’s technological literacy, in order to better service its members and the community at large.
Foster and nurture our constitutional bond with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Encourage a closer and mutually beneficial working relationship with fellow Greek-letter organizations, other community service organizations, businesses and government.
Select leaders who are committed and have demonstrated their ability to lead.
HISTORY OF UPSILON SIGMA CHAPTER
The Upsilon Sigma Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity was chartered September 11, 1927 by Brothers: Summer Colum, MD, Austin Gray, MD, Milton Johnson, MD, William M. Jones, George W. Lawrence, JD, Hugh Fisher Lewis, U.C. McClerkins, George W. Prince and John E. Smith.
The chapter immediately flourished and became a driving force in the African American community in Chicago. In the beginning, the chapter met at a funeral establishment on South Indiana. The chapter's annual Drikel Ball on the Thursday immediately following Thanksgiving opened the social calendar for the formal event in Chicago.
In 1949, a program was started to buy a fraternity house in Chicago. The tireless effort of brothers in the chapter resulted in the purchase of "The Sigma House" at 4941 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.
Upsilon Sigma has been the mother chapter of the Great Lakes Region. During the administration of brothers Chester Riley and Clarence Johnson, Both Directors of the Great Lakes Region (1974-1980) more than 61 chapters of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity were chartered or reclaimed thought the region.