Washington, D.C. will be awash in a sea of blue-and-white July 16 to July 20 as members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity convene to celebrate their centennial.
More than 100 years ago, on Jan. 9, 1914, A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown founded the organization at Howard University on the principles of “brotherhood, scholarship and service.” Now one of nine predominantly Black Greek-lettered organizations, Phi Beta Sigma has a membership of more than 150,000 and boasts 750 chapters throughout the continental United States, Switzerland, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa.
“Three men had a vision for an organization that would not be apart from the communities but a part of the communities… that would not judge members by skin tone, texture of hair, family heritage or financial status,” said fraternity President Jonathan A. Mason Sr. during his Centennial Founders’ Day Address in January. He added, “They dreamed of an organization that would be comprised of men that were committed to going back into the communities that they came from and delivering service, not just for a semester, not just for the term of a bachelor’s degree, but for lifetime. And out of that dream…came Phi Beta Sigma Inc.”
Thousands of Sigma men and their families are expected to celebrate that legacy during what organizers promise to be a fun-filled, action-packed five-day fête in the nation’s capital.
“We hope to do honor in some small measure to the dedication of those who went before us. Through our tributes, we celebrate the achievements our organization has made across the world,” Centennial Co-chairmen Carter D. Womack, William E. Stanley Jr. and Peter M. Adams, all former fraternity presidents, said in a shared statement.
“We resolve to hold our standards high and rededicate ourselves for a brand new Century, with the same fervor first shown by ,” they added. “May our pride keep showing for generations to come.”
The festivities kick off Wednesday, July 16 with a golf tournament, welcome reception, collegiate summit, gospel concert featuring Shirley Caesar and a National Pan Hellenic Council Party.
Other events include a step show competition; a hip hop concert featuring Wale; a day party featuring Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh; a MAZE featuring Frankie Beverly concert hosted by comedian J. Anthony Brown; Sigma Legends roundtable featuring Bobby Seale, Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Benjamin C. Muhammad, the Rev. C.T. Vivian and Warren Ballentine; a unity rally led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, a closing worship service and many more activities.
For more information and to purchase event tickets, visit: www.pbs100.org.