As we celebrate 99 years of existence we must remember why Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity was actually founded. 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 true 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”.
Our mission speaks to where we have come from and where we are headed. We have to always remember our fraternity is based on brotherhood. We might not always get along but in the end we are our brother’s keeper. We must remember our strong commitment to brotherhood, scholarship and service. Our alumni brothers must always remember we are the role models for our collegiate brothers. They look to us for guidance and observe how we treat our fellow brothers.
As we begin this transition to our Centennial Year, we must take a look at what our Founders truly wanted our organization to be and what type of brothers they truly wanted within the fraternity. No one is perfect but as we turn 99 years of age, look at yourself and ensure you are doing the things that truly exemplify brotherhood, scholarship and service. Instead of criticizing and pointing fingers, we must ensure that as brothers we are carrying the torch which Honorable brothers Taylor, Morse, and Brown laid the foundation for. It’s not about us my brothers, but it’s much more. It’s about the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, ensuring that our people take advantage of the right to vote, Project Seed, and of course how we look out for the well being of young men coming into the organization through our anti-hazing initiative, just to name a few.
I wish everyone a very Happy 99th. Reflect on our past and be part of how our organization moves more into the 21st Century as the #1 fraternal organization in the world.
Marcus A. Chanay, Ph.D.
Southern Region Director