Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is hosting its centennial celebration from July 16 – 20 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The theme of the event is “Centennial Celebration – One Century of Service.” As we celebrate our centennial, this celebration is significant because our founders, A. Langston Taylor, Charles I. Brown, and Leonard F. Morse were trailblazers who created the blue print for our organization’s service to humanity,” Jonathan A. Mason Sr., international president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity told the AFRO July 15.

A memorial monument, dedicated to the organization’s founders, will be unveiled at Howard University, where the fraternity was founded. “As we follow in their footsteps, we embrace their legacy,” Mason said. “I am committed to forge our ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service. Over the last 100 years, our organization has grown tremendously. It is our responsibility to guide Sigma into the next 100 years. We plan on leading Sigma as an economically sound, educationally focused, and socially engaged organization.”

The monument will include the names of all of the fraternity’s past presidents and members of its distinguished service chapter, the highest honor that can be obtained in the organization. “We actually wanted to come back and celebrate our 100th year anniversary at the place we were founded,” Ron Carter, spokesperson for the fraternity, said.

Jonathan A. Mason Sr., the international president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, is set to lead the organization into its next 100 years.

The celebration opened with a press conference, where members heard from notable Civil Rights advocates including the Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Clayola Brown, and others. Members also enjoyed performances by Pastor Shirley Caesar, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, and comedians J. Anthony Brown and Joey Wells.

During the opening conference, the Sigma’s announced the launch of “I Am My Brother’s Keeper,” a program representing the organization’s commitment to President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

According to a press release, the organization will adopt a 10-point agenda to nationally address issues impacting men of color. “After 100 years our organization is still striving; it’s stronger than it’s ever been,” Carter said.

During the centennial celebration, the fraternity is hosting a roundtable discussion between Sigma presidents, executive directors, and civil rights icons, including Black Panther Party leader Bobby Seale and C.T. Vivian, among others. A MAZE concert featuring Frankie Beverly, an A. Philip Randolph Unity Rally, and the Centennial Grand Orchid Blue Tie Ball, on July 19, are also part of the celebratory festivities.

According to the website, the founders wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service. “As we celebrate one century of continuous service within our communities, we march on toward the next century of exceptional service embracing our motto, ‘Culture for service and service for humanity,” Mason said, in a press release.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority  is hosting its biannual “Blazing New Paths: The Power of Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood, and Finer Womanhood” conference at the Washington Hilton in Northwest, D.C. in conjunction with the centennial to show their support for their Greek brothers.

The Zeta conference opened July 15 and includes a workshop and panel discussion on the president’s national signature program – Elder Care Initiative – July 16. A Sigma-Zeta Reaffirmation Ceremony, where thousands of the Greek brothers and sisters will come together to recommit themselves to their respective organizations, takes place July 18. There are also a variety of personal and career development workshops, and non-profit, leadership, and social action training sessions.

“This is such an inspirational moment in history for both organizations,” Zeta International President Mary Breaux Wright said in a press release. “I am proud to lead Zeta at such a significant time, and look forward to reaffirming the Zeta Sigma bond.”

The AFRO, in collaboration with PEPCO Holding , is providing real time news coverage on the events through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a special web-based mobile app.

LaTrina Antoine

Special to the AFRO