Funny………… but I don’t remember Todd calling anybody’s name in his excellent commentary on Phi Beta Sigma; which brings to mind a phrase that an old Texas Sigma Master-Politician (now long gone) used to share with me. I will share it with you (and the others involved in this commentary string).
To quote Slim Engram (Founding Regional Director of the Gulf Coast Region):
“When you toss a brick into a pack of dogs; it’s a pretty good chance that the one that hollars is the one that got hit”.
On a very serious tip:
What has happened to Phi Beta Sigma is beyond sad.
I have been asked to write a chapter in a book on predominately African-American fraternities and sororities due to be completed in March of this year. Let me share with very briefly with you a small part of what I am writing.
In the early years of the twentieth century (the 1900’s), African-Americans began the important step of organizing themselves on a local and regional level in response to the calls of one Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Garvey, whose life and work are almost completely unknown today by most people, attempted to tell Black people that they should organize in the same manner as all other American communities. Remember that at the opening of the twentieth century, African-Americans had only been officially free for about 50 years, and that most of the country was still heavily mired in segregation.
The parts of the white power structure which desires to control the Black community reacted in several ways. A young Justice Department official (one J. Edgar Hoover) began an enemies list of those he considered dangerous to the status quo white power structure. Hoover would make his life’s career based upon attempting to block all attempts by Black people to become full participants in the American society. The Justice Department began the process of framing Garvey so that he could be deported.
The white educational elite attacked Garvey from another direction. Under the guidance of predominately white boards organizations such as the NAACP (founded in 1909) and the Urban League (1905) were formed. Obstensively they were “Negro” organizations; but their boards were (and still are) controlled by whites through the mechanism of financial control. Joel Spingarn, for years the Chairman of the NAACP board, has now been revealed to have secretly been an Army special intelligence Colonel in charge of turning into the government the names of the members of the organization that he headed.
In the Academy (the European educational establishment) encouraged Blacks to form fraternities and sororities which would provide “educated” leadership for the Negro community. The first such fraternity was “boule” or Sigma Pi Phi (1904). Boule was a secret society whose members secretly guided the formation of most of the other non-secret fraternities (1908 – present). Only in the last fifteen years have many of us learned the names of members of Alpha, Omega, Kappa and Sigma who were also secretly members of boule.
The premise of the original predominately Negro fraternities was that the average Negro did not have the time nor the talent to be self-directed. The fraternities and sororities would have to provide the “leadership” to “guide” the Negro community – and the white establishment would “guide” and “control” the leadership through favors and finance.
Into this mess came our three far-sighted Founders. They understood that just as there is no Catholic leader, or Jewish leader, or Polish leader, or Italian leader; there should not be any Negro leader. They understood that instead we should organize on the community level and appoint “representatives” or “spokespersons” to speak the will of the community. Our Founders advocated that rather than trying to “lead” somebody, we [members of Phi Beta Sigma] should help our communities to organize like every other community and that we should freely give our skills and abilities to assist the community in going where it had already decided that it wanted to go. “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity”.
So here we are one hundred years later. Now – not only have Black people forgotten the wisdom of our Founders, but we, the members of the organization that they founded have abandoned the path that the Founders set before us.
Like you – Kevin – I have pledged my life and my energies to the development of the dream of our Founders. I am not pledged to, nor impressed by International Presidents, Regional Directors, members of the Prestigious Sigmas of the Eastern Region nor anything else. My chapter chose its name, it was not assigned by the headquarters. I belong to “Sigma Sigma Sigma” chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Our Chapter was formed after the Million Man March (MMM = ΣΣΣ).
I did not pledge my life to an International President – I’m sorry!!!
I did not pledge my life to a Regional Director – I’m sorry!!!
I did not pledge to a panel of Past Presidents – I’m sorry!!!
I pledged my life to Phi Beta Sigma and to the Dream of Taylor, Morse and Brown and that’s what I intend to do.
I may not achieve the realization of our Founders Dream in my lifetime; but I am not going to be lured away from the Dream, nor bribed away from the Dream, nor threatened away from the Dream. I’m gonna take the full ride.
I was appointed National Executive Director in 1978. I resigned in disgust in 1989. I successfully sued the Fraternity in 1995. I returned to the Fraternity in 1998. When I returned at a Regional Conference in Alexandria, Virginia, an old pal (Sylvester Davis – then president of the DSC) told me that he was happy to see me return – and that if I could keep my mouth shut until the next Conclave (two years hence), he would see that I made DSC. Since I ain’t in the DSC, I guess that you can figure out what my answer was.
Brother Kevin: Brother Todd: Brother Leonard, All Real Blue Phi Brothers of Sigma – For this Founders Day, Let us remember what we pledged our lives to – and why we pledged or lives.
“I Believe in the Principles [ Brotherhood, Scholarship & Service] of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and my loyalty to these [the principles] transcends all personal responsibility.
Happy Founders Day – Let’s Roll !!!