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PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY, INC.

Winter 2011

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The Crescent Winter 2012

Magazine


AD

2 | Kennedy The Crescent Winter 2012 145 Street NW Washington, D.C. 20011 • 202.726.5424 ext. 206 • Wayne Green


Message from the President The Honorable Jimmy Hammock, 33rd International President

a m es s a ge fr o m t h e

pr e s id e n t

W

e’re moving forward – one step closer to the Jubilee! This year, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., is 98 years strong! I am honored and humbled to greet you as International President of a brotherhood whose lineage of greatness began with a vision of bringing men together to serve their community; that was the goal and mission of Honorable Founder Abram Langston Taylor. This year, our Centennial Two-Year Countdown Celebration took us to the very site where the vision of Phi Beta Sigma was realized—on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, the birthplace of Founder Taylor. A Historical Marker was dedicated and placed at the site for the global community to see. This issue of The Crescent features a wonderful display of that momentous occasion. As we celebrate our rich heritage, we need to acknowledge a significant potential threat to our existence, that being the ongoing issue of hazing. There are members of Sigma, and other fraternities who have ignored the antihazing policies of Membership Intake. Underground pledging has replaced a system designed to eliminate hazing and reduce the liability pledging and/or hazing places on Black Fraternities. Some Brothers think taking The Oath makes you a Sigma. It does not. It makes you a member. How you live The Oath is what makes you a Sigma. This we should never forget.

I encourage you to read the valuable articles on hazing authored by our General Counsel, Brother John Turner, Esq. and Brother Dr. Kent Poindexter. We need to be clear that no form of hazing will be tolerated in Phi Beta Sigma. At this point in our existence, we must take the road less traveled. We must stand together to eradicate any form of hazing in Phi Beta Sigma. I’m proud to say that our General Board has taken some bold moves in creating a culture of anti-hazing. This issue introduces our membership and readers to two talented members in new roles. The Honorable Brother Daryl Anthony Anderson of Cardova, Tennessee is the new International Executive Director of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Please flip two pages over and receive his message. Also, I want to officially applaud Brother Dr. Kent L. Poindexter, Editor-In-Chief, on his successful first installment of The Crescent! Brother Poindexter hails from Chicago, Illinois and is a member of Iota Nu Sigma Chapter. As we continue our work to become the global benchmark for fraternities and community-service organizations, I am calling on each Sigma to take serious our Sigma Brand. Our brand is who we are. What we DO defines the brand. We remain committed to “Changing Lives Through Service.”

Brother Jimmy Hammock International President

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executive director’s address Honorable Bro. Daryl A. Anderson

greeti ngs fr om t h e

ex e c u t iv e dir e c tor

I

bring you greetings from the International Headquarters of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated! It is truly a blessing to be a part of such a

wondrous band of men. The vision, the mis-

sion set by our leadership team and the service provided through the work of the Brothers make me proud to be a Man of Sigma. Those words just resonate within me! Having the ability to address you in this historical document, The Crescent Magazine, only takes it to the highest level. I am excited to know that we are continuing to focus on Sigma Wellness in our magazine. Having worked in healthcare for over 20 years, I know that we are challenged by the concept of simply “taking care of ourselves”. Being men of color and specifically Men of Sigma creates an interesting dynamic for us. All of us work hard, day-in and day-out and some of us work

I look forward to encouraging each and every Man

well to the evening on a regular basis. Taking these cir-

of Sigma to continue moving toward their goals, per-

cumstances into account, our goal has to be the avoid-

sonal and collectively, this year. Take what is printed in

ance of illness and disease as much as possible. I want

this magazine to heart. This issue gives your pointers

to encourage every Brother to relax, release and relate.

on how we as an organization can “hold it together”. In

Every day we should take a breather from our “grind”

the end, you will be excellent and you know that you

and let it all go! We need to find another Brother with

can and will make continued excellence happen!

whom we can talk about those things that tend to sometimes overburden us as men. We need to meditate

Peace!

and focus on whatever guides us from the start of each day to its glorious end!

Bro. Daryl A. Anderson

International Executive Director Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

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editor-in-chief Dr. Kent L. Poindexter

a w or d fr o m th e

edit or

G

reetings brothers in Sigma! First of

chapters who went the

all I must say that it is an honor and a

extra mile to show the

privilege for me to have this opportunity

community that Phi

to serve my fraternity in this capacity.

Beta Sigma is an active

When I was contacted by the President

part of the communities

to assume the position of Editor in Chief of The Crescent,

in which are chapters

I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of what this means.

reside, and that we

endeavor to be a part of

To our President and those who suggested that I

might be able to take this monumental task, I say thank

the solution for some

you for our confidence in me. I am happy to join the leg-

of the things which are

acy of those who have served in this position, and I truly

currently impacting

look forward to working with our brothers to provide Phi

our communities.

Beta Sigma with a magazine worthy of our Fraternity.

Finally, I encour-

A little bit of biographical information about your

age you to celebrate

new Editor. I joined our “Wondrous Band” at Bradley

with us the achieve-

University (Peoria, Illinois), as one of the original twelve

ments of those who

to form the Zeta Mu chapter in 1974. I am currently a

have been honored in special ways this past year. To our

member of Iota Nu Sigma in Chicago, Illinois. Some of

new Distinguished Service Chapter members, and our

you may recognize my name from The Sentinel Maga-

Brother Wesley Carter, I say thanks for reminding each of

zine, our chapter’s publication.

us of the commitment we made when we joined Phi Beta

This issue of The Crescent seeks to share some of the exciting activities which took place in Sigma in 2011.

Sigma. I look forward to advancing “The Cause” through this magazine.

We are recapping the 97th Anniversary Conclave, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia. For those who were able

Brother Kent L. Poindexter

to attend, it was an exciting time, which served as the

Editor

launching spot for our upcoming Centennial celebration. We also celebrate some of the achievements spearheaded by our General Board, including the second year of the Reactivation Program, and the consolidation of our organizations records and files, to make them available to the brotherhood via computer. These are but small reminders that indeed, Our Cause Speeds on its Way! As you peruse these pages, I hope that you are reminded of the commitment each of us has made to represent our Fraternity through our service. We share with you about

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P O S T- C O N C L A V E E D I T I O N

con te n ts WINTER 2012

On The Cover We are honored to feature Brother Wesley T. Carter on the cover of this issue of The Crescent Magazine. Brother Carter is a member of Iota Sigma chapter in Richmond, VA. He is the oldest living member of Phi Beta Sigma, having been initiated into the Fraternity on February 18, 1927 through the Lambda chapter at Virginia Union University. Despite the fact that he is a retired educator, Brother Carter maintains active membership in the fraternity, still attending meetings and the Annual Conclaves. Over his 104 years, our brother has received numerous awards and commendations as an educator and community servant. At Conclave Atlanta, Brother Carter received the 2011 Presidential Service Award, honoring his commitment to the Fraternity. We salute Brother Wesley T. Carter for his 85 years of unwavering service in the name of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity!

Sum 2011 Sentinel_Spr10 Sentinel.qxd 1/12/12 11:06 AM Page 22

Departments 3 president's address 4 Executive Director's greeting 5 a word from the Editor 6 CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS

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The National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC), which represents nine African American Greek-lettered organizations, established a policy on hazing activities in 1990, when the leadership of the organizations continued to struggle with the upsurge of injuries, deaths and resulting lawsuits associated with pledging activities. The hope was that a joint statement to officially ban these activities would result in the demise of pledging as a means of taking in new members. Despite efforts by all nine member organizations to curtail pledging, the reality is that pledging still occurs, but it has become an underground activity. Unless something happens to bring it to the attention of university administrators, law enforcement officials, or organization leaders, no one will admit to participating in pledging/hazing activities. The “hazers” will not admit to it, and initiates are sworn to secrecy.

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Here is a portion of the official

24 way or the other as the organization’s stand on hazing. While all agree that such activities must be discouraged among members, pending litigation forces them to forbid their respective members from making public statements. For

“Black Greek-Lettered Organizations can discourage hazing by assisting law enforcement in the prosecution of their members who continue to engage in hazing activities.” As an attorney and a member of


PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY, INC.

Winter 2011

Magazine

FOUNDERS

Honorable A. Langston Taylor Honorable Leonard F. Morse Honorable Charles I. Brown

F O U N D I N G D AT E

January 9, 1914 Howard University

Features

Washington, DC

38 Features 8

A Review of Conclave 2011

Historic Project Underway to Preserve Sigma Archives 21

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Hazing—A Special Report

Paper VS. Wood: The War Between M.I.P. and Underground Pledging (Part 1 of a 2-part Series)

EDITORIAL STAFF The Crescent Magazine is published twice annually by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Jimmy Hammock, International President

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Dr. Kent L. Poindexter

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Joseph Anthony Christopher Jones

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Hazing: Legal, Moral, and Social Implications for Black Greek-Lettered Organizations

International Reactivation Month Exceeds Expections

32

38

Moving Toward the Centennial Celebration

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Red Tails

Postmaster, please send address changes to: The Crescent Magazine Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. 145 Kennedy Street, NW Washington, DC 20011-5294

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COVER STORY

T

he city of Atlanta, Georgia’s beautiful Sheraton Atlanta Hotel provided an appropriate backdrop for Phi Beta Sigma’s Conclave 2011. While the Conclave is the time during which the business of the Fraternity is done, and goals are established for the next two years, this Conclave was special, because it set the pace for moving toward the Fraternity’s Centennial celebration. Conclave Atlanta 2011 was a time for renewing old fraternal ties and establishing new friendships; it provided time for reflection on the Fraternity’s ideals and purposes, and how the Brotherhood can make a deeper impact on our world in the 21st Century and beyond. The tone for the Conclave was set at the Opening Business Session, which featured a rousing welcoming address from International President Jimmy Hammock. He shared some of his own visions and expectations for the Conclave, as well as for the upcoming Jubilee celebration. After the welcome, the Grand Ballroom was filled (beyond capacity)with the sounds of music and praise, as internationally known gospel artist Brother Kurt Carr brought the house down with a medley of his gospel chart toppers including, “In the Sanctuary” and “I Almost Let Go”.

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opening ceremony On this special night, Phi Beta Sigma was welcomed to Atlanta and honored with the presence of Atlanta city brass and International Presidents of several of the Black Greek-lettered Organizations. It was also the time to shine the spotlight on some special people, who over the years have made a difference in the lives of the people they serve. The ceremony provided opportunities to showcase and honor some of those who have made a difference through their dedication to making a difference in the lives of their constituents. •

Women of Excellence Award, Gwen Carmon, March of Dimes

2011 Image Award, Xernona Clayton, Founder, Trumpet Foundation

Changing Lives through Service Award, Kurt Carr and James Clark

2011 Presidential Wesley Carter

Living the Legacy Citations, Dr. Adrienne Walker-Hoard and Decatur Morse

The John Lewis Legacy of Leadership Award, Congressman John Lewis, Congressman Ed Towns and Commissioner Darryl Towns

Service

Award,

One of the highlights of Conclave 2011 included the institution of electronic voting at the business meetings. This technological advance truly moved Phi Beta Sigma into the 21st Century, providing instant casting of votes via keypads, and voting results in seconds! From the newly inducted Distinguished Service Chapter members to the Model Chapter winners, and from the Career Fair to the International Community Service Project, we offer you a glimpse at the most memorable moments of Conclave Atlanta. We hope that you will enjoy them, and that the memories will inspire you to attend Conclave 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which will be the next stop to the Jubilee!

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international miss phi beta sigma pageant

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Working

together, we’re getting closer to a world with less cancer and more birthdays – for everyone. The American Cancer Society is proud to join Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. to increase cancer awareness among Sigma members, so we can save lives and enable everyone to look forward to more of life’s milestones – like birthdays. Together, we’ll stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back. For more information, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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service project

Sigma Brothers Provide Service in Atlanta During Conclave 2011 On Saturday afternoon, July 23, 2011,members of Phi Beta Sigms joined the Hosea Williams Feed the Homeless and Hungry (HFTH) in assisting less fortunate families in the Greater Atlanta area. At the HFTH Headquarters, Sigma brothers provided food and toiletry items for those who came out on that hot afternoon. Brother Hosea Williams was a Science Teacher, Minister, Civil Rights icon, public servant, humanitarian, and a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. On March 7, 1965, Bro. Williams and the Honorable Bro. John Lewis with 600 followers began a walk to Montgomery, Alabama, to protest segregation. This event would later be called “Bloody Sunday.” Bro. Williams was one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s trusted aides and one of the men who was at the Lorraine Motel when Dr. King was assassinated. In 1971, Bro. Williams and Juanita T. Williams founded the Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry and Homeless (HFTH) which distributes food, clothing, medical and educational supplies, toiletries, furniture, and cleaning supplies to sixteen counties in the state of Georgia.

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international Step Show competition

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grand orchid ball

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grand orchid ball

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Image awards

honorary member inductees

(From Left to Right) Front Row: Bros. Kevin Toney, Jerry Peters, Keith Perrin, Carlton Brown, J. Alexander Martin Back Row: Honorable Bros. Peter M. Adams, Esq.; William E. Stanley; Carter D. Womack; Jimmy Hammock; Demetrius C. Newton; Paul L. Griffin, Jr.; Arthur R. Thomas, Esq.

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Distinguished service chapter inductees

The following is a list of the newest DSC members, established at the last Conclave in Atlanta, 2011: Hon. Bro. Daryl A. Anderson, DSC #160, Tau Iota Sigma , Southwestern Region Hon. Bro. William D. Fails, DSC #161, Beta Epsilon Sigma , Southern Region Hon. Bro. Jerry W. Green, DSC #162, Theta Beta Sigma, Gulf Coast Region Hon. Bro. Daniel J. Tann, Esq. DSC #163, Nu Sigma, Eastern Region Hon. Bro. John M. Turner, Esq. DSC #164, Lambda Sigma, Southern Region Hon. Bro. Carl A. Walker, Esq. DSC #165, Upsilon Sigma, Great Lakes Region Hon. Bro. Jeffery D. Whitmore, DSC #166, Phi Beta Sigma, Western Region

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Official Jeweler and Proud Supporter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

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By Brother Jonathan A. Mason, Sr.

D

uring the summer of 2010, President Hammock charged First Vice President Mason with the task of convening a committee that would develop and execute a plan to scan historic Sigma archives currently stored at the International Headquarters. The committee, inclusive of Brothers Larry Mungin, Mark Pacich, Dennis Lanham

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and Daniel J. Tann, Esquire, began its work in August with an eye towards completing the project in one year. The General Board restricted funds in November to pay for the project and in January, 2011 MicroMedia Imaging Services was selected as the company to do the archive project. The Vice President of MicroMedia is Curtis A. Banks, a

financial member of the Mu Delta Sigma chapter of Long Island, New York. As of this writing, all files have been picked up and transported to the MicroMedia offices in Long Island New York. The primary goal is to provide Phi Beta Sigma with as comprehensive a list as we can have of our Fraternity’s 97-year membership roster.


Other benefits of this archiving project include: • • • •

Instant access to chapter charter records Access to chapter historical documents Central storage of Regional conference and Conclave historical documents A comprehensive record of letters and other documents penned by past presidents and other past international, regional, state and chapter officers Development of a long-term method of keeping and storing all pertinent Fraternity records

For many years, members of Phi Beta Sigma have expressed concerns about how the Fraternity’s vital documents and membership records could be properly preserved and made available to present and future generations of Sigma men. The long

term goal is to make portions of this information available to all members of the Fraternity available via computer network. For obvious reasons, certain information will be redacted or kept confidential. Financial members would be allowed access to their personal information, including all membership information for any chapter with which brothers have been affiliated during their Sigma lifetime. In order for us to plot a course for a successful future, we must connect to our past! This is a historic undertaking, which will allow us to connect to our Sigma forefathers, and to keep future generations of Sigma in touch, through the use of modern technology. Indeed, it is a gigantic step forward for Phi Beta Sigma! Stay tuned for updates on our progress!

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PAPER VS.

WO O D THE WAR BETWEEN M.I.P. AND UNDERGROUND PLEDGING

Part I of a 2 Part Series on Pledging and Hazing in Black Greek-Lettered Organizations by the Honorable John M. Turner, Jr., International General Counsel, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Photos courtesy of BluePhi.Net History Team. Used with Permission.

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I

n 1990, the international presidents of eight Black GreekLetter Organizations (hereinafter referred to as “BGLOs”), voted to end pledging, which had become synonymous with hazing, as a means of initiation into their fraternities and sororities. They took this measure to protect their respective BGLOs from the increasing legal liability to which they were being subjected as a result of pledging/hazing. As an alternative to the discarded pledging/hazing process, the member organizations of the National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC) subsequently instituted a new membership process known as the Membership Intake Program (MIP), which focused primarily on educating potential new members about the history and traditions of the organization. For the past twenty-one years, public pledging/hazing has been outlawed by all BGLOs. The institution of MIP has forced pledging/hazing activities underground. In spite of the ban, there appears to be no decrease in death and serious injuries caused by these outlawed activities by those chapters and individuals who have chosen to ignore the prohibition on hazing and pledging. Scholars who have studied this phenomenon have described pledging/ hazing as a deeply embedded cultural practices within fraternities and sororities as a whole, and to BGLOs in par

ticular. Despite the deep roots of these more “legitimate” brother as erronepractices, however, pledging/hazing ously believed. The organizational and activities as good practices are based on personal consequences of pledging/ the following erroneous premises: (1) hazing outweigh all perceived benefits Hazing/pledging promotes bonding, derived from dangerous, barbaric, and brotherhood/sisterhood, and a life-long illegal practices. commitment to the organization; (2) hazing/pledging weeds out insincere and uncommitted applicants; (3) hazing/pledging properly educates potential new members on the history and traditions of the organization; and (4) most importantly, that it earns the potential new member respect from his/ her peers and older members of the organization. Based upon these values, MIP is held in ridicule and contempt, honored more in its breach than for the abuses it is aimed at eliminating. The purpose of this article is to debunk and dispute the core beliefs upon which pledging/hazing are based upon, and to set forth strategies that will Above: Gamma Zeta pledges - 1960s prevent underground pledging from destroying our cherished fraternity. Members of Phi Beta Members of Phi Beta Sigma Sigma must understand that the pledging/hazing process is both must understand that the counterproductive and destruc- pledging/hazing process is both tive to both the organization and counterproductive and destructhe personal well-being of those tive to both the organization who engage in it. The acts of underground pledging/hazing, and the personal well-being of as opposed to the MIP process, those who engage in it. do not produce a “better” and

THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF PLEDGING AND HAZING PRACTICES WITHIN BGLOS Historically, from medieval Europe to modern America, freshmen on college campuses have been hazed by upperclassmen. An example of this can be seen in my college experience. I was subjected to hazing as a freshman when I entered Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1965. At that time, freshmen were referred to as “dogs” and had to wear beanies which were signed by upperclassmen. The freshmen maintained the status

of “dogs” until Hobo Day which was the day before Thanksgiving. On Hobo Day freshmen were required to dress as hobos and parade around the campus. During Hobo Day freshmen were not allowed to walk across the bridge which separated the campus grounds. After Thanksgiving, the hazing period ended and freshmen were no longer considered “dogs”. New athletic team and marching band members were also subjected to separate hazing practices

at Morris Brown College.1 Other Historically Black Colleges and Universities also followed variations of the hazing practices utilized at Morris Brown College. Thus, students were subjected to college hazing before they pledged to any BGLOs. The concept of pledging in black fraternities started in 1919 at Ohio State University when Kappa Alpha Psi created the Scrollers Club for the purpose of “unifying the men who aspire to the

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achievements that Kappa Alpha Psi “bringing wood”), and psychological tions. The badge of honor gained by offers.”2 Alpha Phi Alpha created the abuse, among other severe and flastudents who completed a pledge proSphinx Club two years later at Howard grant mistreatment of pledges, were gram and were initiated elevated their University.3 also part of the pledge process. Despite status on their respective campuses. “Pledging began evolving in the the physical and mental abuses inPledging, in essence, was the activity 1920s for Black Greeks. Over that gave Greeks a sort of mystique time these probationary periamong their peers. They were seen ods developed into complex with an admiration in many inrituals that included pledges stances because they completed a dressing alike, marching todifficult process and achieved a goal gether in single file lines, and that many, whether they verbalized it greeting or saluting members. or not, sought to accomplish as well, Further evolution saw the to become a member of the fraternity pledges receiving numbers or sorority.”8 associated with their place in the line, an individual nickname (or line name), and a collective line name that gave the group of pledges a unique identity.”4 Walter Kimbrough, a scholar and Alpha Chapter 1986 researcher on BGLO hazing, stated that: “[i]n less than ten years volved in hazing, however, from the beginnings of pledging in “…pledging has become the Black fraternities and sororities, the defining event of the Black signs of hazing emerged.”5 In 1925, fraternity experience.” 6 the Howard University newspaper Proponents of pledging/hazdocumented a period known as “Hell ing believe that it is a test of Week” that pledges were involved in. strength, courage, commitThe BGLO pledge activities were in full ment, and determination. “It swing from the 1930s thru 1990. is the only rite in fraternities In addition to the pledging practhat does not ask for, but tices described above, other abuses of demands, sacrifice.”7 pledges became the dark underbelly of “The pledge period was BGLOs and their membership initiaviewed as the rite of passage tion. Beatings, paddling (known as for Black fraternal organiza- Alpha Chapter Crescent Club 1983

MIP AND UNDERGROUND PLEDGING/HAZING Between 1970 and 1989, pledging/ hazing resulted in serious physical injury to many potential members of BGLOs. The injuries included renal failure, severely bruised buttocks, third degree burns, and intracranial damage. At least three deaths resulted from pledging/hazing during this period. In response to these injuries and deaths, several BGLOs began to modify their membership initiation. Delta Sigma Theta adopted the term “membership intake” to describe their initiation process in 1984. Alpha Phi Alpha substituted a risk management plan for pledging/hazing in 1986.

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Prospective Alpha members were instructed on the history and policies of the fraternity and had to pass an examination before they could be initiated. In 1987, however, Phi Beta Sigma instituted the most radical membership initiation change when it banned pledging/hazing totally.9 “The new initiates did not walk in line, participate in stepping or any activities that had become known as a part of pledging. Instead, the potential members had to ‘meet rigid academic standards, demonstrate leadership abilities and complete a series of civic projects while learning the history of the organization.’”10

In 1989, Joel Harris, a student at Morehouse College, died as a result of being pledged/hazed in order to join Alpha Phi Alpha. This incident represented the final straw for BGLO pledging/hazing in each respective organization. The National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC), representing eight international presidents of BGLOs, decided to initiate a new intake procedure for all of the fraternities and sororities as a substitute for pledging. The concept of a Membership Intake Program was born from this circumstance. MIP’s main purpose was to eliminate the excesses and injuries caused by pledging and to protect


BGLO assets from law suits. struggle between pro-hazers and antiPledging/hazing is based on several Generally, MIP, for all of the hazers within BGFs (Black Greek-letter BGLOs, has at least five components: Fraternities) has effectively established false premises which are used to justify (1) an initial interest meeting for its practices. Pro-hazers argue that parameters that define fraternity pledging/hazing accomplishes the folpotential applicants; (2) an application brothers as legitimate or illegitimate. lowing goals: process; (3) education (1) Pledging/hazing deof prospective memvelops a strong sense of bers on the history and customs of the orgabonding and brotherhood/ sisterhood; nization; (4) passing (2) Pledging/hazing weeds an examination on the out uncommitted applihistory and customs; and (5) initiation into cants who want to join for the “wrong” reasons; the organization. (3) Pledging/hazing creFrom its incepates a life-long committion, however, the MIP ment to the organization; process has not been embraced by under(4) You take wood (beating with a paddle) to show graduate members of your love for the fraternity/ the BGLOs. Instead of accepting the MIP pro- Gamma Chapter 1949 sorority; (5) The pledging/hazing cess, undergraduate On one side of the line, BGLOs have imple- process allows pledges to members continued mented an initiation process that outlaws properly learn the history pledging in a hidof the organization; den or underground the brutality and serious injury caused (6) Pledging/hazing tests manner from school by pledging/hazing. On the other side, the courage and endurance officials and graduate some undergraduate members of BGLOs of pledges. This proves or fraternity and sorority members. “With the have continued to engage in activities that disproves their suitability and desire to join the fraadvent of membership threaten the future existence of the orgaternity/sorority; and intake, underground nizations they profess to love. (7) “The single most pledging became offered reason for the viewed as a legitipersistence of pledging is the need to mate means to continue the culture of The criteria for legitimacy are primargain respect from peers. The complepledging. Members threatened openly ily based on whether a member has tion of pledging is seen by undergraduthat the end of pledging would cause participated in the traditional BGF ates as the necessary step in order to be underground pledging to emerge as process.”12 Other terminology used the vehicle to keep pledging alive. But considered full and complete members to describe those who were initiated of the Greek community.”15 more interestingly, potential members by MIP includes paper brothers or wanted pledging to continue underNone of these justifications, however, skaters. “A member who does not go hold up to scrutiny and analysis. The ground.”11 through the abuse of hazing is said to alleged benefits of pledging/hazing jusSince the institutionalization of be ‘paper,’ in that he simply signed his tifications do not outweigh the threat of MIP by the NPHC and its membership name on paper and was admitted into bankrupting the BGLO as a result of a organizations, a line has been drawn the organization without struggle.”13 in the sand. On one side of the line, Conversely, “’real’ brothers are the men civil law suit judgment based on severe personal injury or death. BGLOs have implemented an initiawho went ‘on line’ with their pledge The argument that pledging/haztion process that outlaws the brutality brothers and completed the underand serious injury caused by pledgground hazing segment of initiation. In ing creates bonding, a strong sense of brotherhood/sisterhood, and a lifeing/hazing. On the other side, some the eyes of real brothers, paper brothlong commitment to the organization undergraduate members of BGLOs ers lack legitimacy.”14 is belied by the simple fact that only have continued to engage in activities a small percentage of undergraduate that threaten the future existence of the BGLO members remain active and organizations they profess to love. THE REALITIES OF with an alumni chapter after Today, members of BGLOs are HAZING AND UNDER- financial graduation. Compare the total number divided and lined up on one side of of members that each BGLO claims this issue or the other. “The hegemonic GROUND PLEDGING

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Sum 20

with the numbers who are active and financial after college and the result is startlingly low. Hence, this indisputable fact contradicts the argument that pledging/hazing promotes bonding, a strong sense of brotherhood/sisterhood, and a life-long commitment to the organization. Further, as Ricky Jones observed, “…[b]onding rests on the supposition that every member participates in the same ceremony, hears the same words, and lives the same experience.”16 Since underground pledge experiences are unscripted, arbitrary and made-up as you go, bonding between different pledge groups and members cannot realistically result from the process. Jones also points out that: “…[t]he tendency to couple the intensely physical brand of hazing in BGFs with greater regard for the fraternities and a strong sense of brotherhood is illusory.”17 On the issue of learning BGLO history and traditions through the pledge process, Kimbrough stated that: “… there never has been an effective means to measure how much pledges learned while pledging. In fact, most of the learning done was under great duress, as pledges answered questions regarding history in an effort to avoid punishment by big brothers or sisters. This rote memorization was short term, and many members did not recall basic history once they were off line. Basic history was

watered down Pledging/hazing doesn’t hold up to logic, to simple facts, such as the date critical thinking, or the achievement of of founding, and desirable goals. It is an emotional issue the names of all rather than a rational one. Nothing posithe founders. tive or productive results from the underYet pledging is still viewed as ground practice. the best means by which to teach new members the history of the various organizations.”18 The issue of respect is totally illusory and counterproductive to continued individual membership in the BGLO and its continued existence as a viable organization. Violence and humiliation are Omicron Epsilon pledges - Late 80s what underground pledging/hazing is about. There is no Pledging/hazing doesn’t hold up to logic, respect in accepting pain and humiliacritical thinking, or the achievement of tion or being either a sadist or robotic desirable goals. It is an emotional issue victim. Both sadist and victim risk being rather than a rational one. Nothing expelled from school or the fraternity/ positive or productive results from the sorority. In addition, the hazer is subject underground practice. to arrest, conviction, and civil liability   arising from a law suit.

















ENDNOTES 1. On November 19, 2011, Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion died after allegedly being hazed by other band members. A hazing law suit has been filed by Champion’s family. In 2001, Marcus Parker, another FAMU band member, received a $1.8 million dollar settlement after he was beaten with a paddle and suffered kidney damage during a band hazing incident.











2. Walter M. Kimbrough, Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs  Fraternities and Sororities (Madison, N.J.: and Challengesof Black  Press, 2003),    Fairleigh Dickinson 41. 3. Ibid., 43.

 







8. Kimbrough, Black Greek 101, 37. 9.Ibid.,58. 10. Ibid. see also Larry Copeland, “Black Frats May End Tradition of Pledging,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 14 March 1988, 8A. 11. Ibid., 64. 12. Ricky Jones, Black Haze: Violence, Sacrifice, and Manhood in Black Greek-Letter Fraternities, (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2004), 7.

4. Ibid., 153

13. Ibid., 82.

5. Ibid., 43

14. Alan DeSantis and Marcus Coleman, “Not On My Line, Attitudes About Homosexuality in Black Fraternities,” Black GreekLetter Organizations In The 21st Century, Ed. Gregory Parks  (Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 2008), Note 16, 311-312.   

6. Ibid., 57. 7. Ricky Jones, “Examining Violence in Black Fraternity Pledging,” The Hazing Reader, Ed. Hank Nuwer (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004), 112.

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HAZING Legal, Moral and Social Implications for Black Greek-Lettered Organizations

By Brother Dr. Kent Poindexter

I

t’s the dirty secret that most members of fraternities and sororities, athletic teams, military platoons and even corporate America doesn’t want to talk about—hazing. Most people would rather not discuss it. Some even deny that it happens. But the reality is that hazing is and has been a part of the membership initiation process for many organizations for practically as long as organizations have existed. It is used as a method for establishing the “pecking order” between

current and potential members. Proponents of hazing suggest that it creates a bond between those striving to be members of the organization. Most think of it has harmless fun, or a method of encouraging humility and respect for the older members. The reality— hazing is illegal, officially outlawed on most high schools and college campuses across the country. Fortyfour states have laws on the books against any forms of humiliation, human degradation or bullying of new and current members, even if

potential members allow it to take place. Yet, hazing still takes place on college campuses under the noses of administrators, faculty and security officers, and suprisingly more and more in graduate and alumni chapters. Dr. Susan Lipkins, a noted psychologist on hazing (website “Inside Hazing”), states that since 1970, there has been at least one death per year on a college campus connected with hazing activities. Reality check— hazing still happens, and hazing is totally illegal!

This article is reprinted (with permission) from The Sentinel Magazine, Summer 2011 edition. Winter 2012 The Crescent

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The National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC), which represents nine African American Greek-lettered organizations, established a policy on hazing activities in 1990, when the leadership of the organizations continued to struggle with the upsurge of injuries, deaths and resulting lawsuits associated with pledging activities. The hope was that a joint statement to officially ban these activities would result in the demise of pledging as a means of taking in new members. Despite efforts by all nine member organizations to curtail pledging, the reality is that pledging still occurs, but it has become an underground activity. Unless something happens to bring it to the attention of university administrators, law enforcement officials, or organization leaders, no one will admit to participating in pledging/hazing activities. The “hazers” will not admit to it, and initiates are sworn to secrecy. Here is a portion of the official policy statement (as published in 2003) of the NPHC on hazing: WHEREAS such illegal conduct is inimical to the principles for which each organization stands and fails to foster respect for fellow members or preserve human dignity; BE IT RESOLVED AND RESTATED WITH EMPHASIS ANEW that hazing, pledging, pledge “lines”, prepledge “lines” or post-intake hazing are strictly prohibited by these NPHC organizations; (The entire NPHC policy on hazing can be found at http://www.nphchq.org/docs/NPHC JointPositionStatementAgainstHazin g2003.pdf ) The issue of hazing and pledging among Black Greeks has become awkward and painful, to the point of national leaders of the organizations encouraging members to refrain from “publishing” any statements which could be construed one

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t g f p I e a b n w c

way or the other as the organization’s stand on hazing. While all agree that such activities must be discouraged among members, pending litigation forces them to forbid their respective members from making public statements. For the record, this article is not an official statement of the international organization of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, or any member of the National Pan Hellenic Council. Statements made here are the personal reflections of concerned members of Black Greeklettered organizations. Sigma Brother Carl A. Walker, a Cook County Circuit Court Judge (Chicago, Illinois) is deeply concerned about the effects of illegal pledging activities on BGLOs. He believes that “Some members have ignored the prohibitions against hazing and the potential consequences because they are thrill seekers concerned with their own amusement.” While Judge Walker believes that the stance of the NPHC and its respective member organizations against hazing is adequate, he is an advocate of following the letter of the law when it comes to dealing with those who continue to engage in hazing:

“Black Greek-Lettered Organizations can discourage hazing by assisting law enforcement in the prosecution of their members who continue to engage in hazing activities.” As an attorney and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Dana K. O’Banion suggests that NPHC member organizations need to be concerned about the future of their respective organizations, and ensuring that current and incoming members of the organizations understand the seriousness of this issue: “Given that times have changed and this society is certainly more litigious than in days of old, these mentalities (i.e. “it happened to me” and “keeping with tradition”) will leave BGLOs exposed to lawsuits which may cripple, if not destroy the organizations.” Another reality check—Black Greeklettered organizations are being adversely affected by the onslaught of reports in the news media on hazing activities. While BGLOs are acting with due diligence on complaints and reports of pledging and hazing activities, the good work of these organizations is overshadowed, and some onlookers suggest that fraternities and sororities have

S c w b t “ r m i f N w a p t w C e t p a

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CONTRIBUTORS taken on the persona of street gangs. The effect of having fraternity/sorority members’ pictures in newspapers and on the Internet as a result of being arrested and convicted for hazing is devastating overall membership numbers. Young women and men are not interested in being connected with organizations which have been connected with criminal activities. So how do Black Greeks change the culture of fraternity/sorority life, which suggests that the only way to be a fully acknowledged member of the organizations one has to be “made right”, i.e. submit to a rigorous pledging ritual? This is more than a rhetorical question; it is one which may determine the future existence of the “Divine Nine”. Some BGLOs are overwhelmed with the reports of hazing activities from university officials, parents and students. Litigation is threatening to disrupt the financial well-being of some organizations. Colleges and universities are threatening to ban fraternities and sororities; some, out of concern for potential legal implications, have already done so.

Barnes believes that the realities of legal action and lawsuits should be deterrents to illegal pledging; but some are still attached to the old system: “Let’s face it, more than half of our members were initiated under the former “pledging process” and we remember that experience with some degree of pride and admiration. But in reality, it is not hazing that makes you a productive committed member; what matters is your love and appreciation of the goals and ideas of the Fraternity.” Attorney O’Banion agrees with Barnes, that BGLOs must be serious about enforcing the new rules and protecting the legacies of these organizations. He suggests that “BGLOs must do a better job at selecting and initiating members. Further, BGLOs must better educate their membership to the risk and high costs associated with the behavior. It must be made clear that not only is the behavior illegal but that the subsequent lawsuits place the organizations at risk of non-existence. “

Kennedy Barnes Partner

Lackey Hershman, LLP

Dallas - New York

Barnes is a partner at Lackey Hershman, LLP, a complex commercial litigation boutique with offices in Dallas, TX and New York, NY. His current docket includes pursuit of claims and/or defense in excess of $1.2 billion, against some of the largest, most aggressive firms in the world. He is a former equity partner in the international law firm of Thompson & Knight, with offices througout the United States, Europe and Africa. Barnes is engaged by the government-owned, Petroleum Oil & Gas Company of South Africa to develop and train its in-house counsel in areas related to international risk management and corporate guidance. He’s served as Gulf Coast Regional Counsel for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Dana K. O’Banion Of Counsel

Spread: The Conclave (continued)

Kennedy L. Barnes, member of Phi Beta Sigma, is an active proponent of the new intake process which all NPHC member organizations have accepted as the appropriate method of initiating new members. As a practicing attorney in the Dallas, TX and Washington, D.C. area, Brother Barnes has been involved in educating brothers on the intake process and encouraging members to take seriously the implications of ignoring the realities of hazing. In his work with the Fraternity on educating members about the new process, Brother Barnes says that “for members who actually attend the intake training sessions and maintain their certifications, the policy works. Our memberships continue to grow and our programmatic effectiveness is strong.”

Ultimately, the arguments for and against hazing will continue to go on. But no one can argue with the law, or the policies which we have all agreed make our organizations better. The reality is the very existence of BGLOs is being affected whenever individual members or chapters make decisions to turn a deaf ear to the law. Our covenantal agreement as members of the National Pan Hellenic Council should be enough to encourage us all to be concerned with the well being of all who choose to affiliate with our organizations. What say you?

Power & Dixon, P.C. Chicago, IL

O’Banion serves as Counsel at Power & Dixon, P.C. He has over fourteen years of experience as a practicing attorney licensed in the state of Illinois. His practice is general with a major focus on real estate transactions.

O’Banion was Senior Staff Counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority. He drafted, reviewed and negotiated contracts, procurement documents and other acquisition/conveyance documents. He managed and closed numerous real estate transactions on behalf of the CHA. He is the current General Counsel for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Hon. Carl A. Walker Judge

Circuit Court of Cook Cty 1st Subcircuit - Illinois

Walker became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity while matriculating at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy, and went on from there to study law at the University of Iowa School of Law. In addition to earning the Juris Doctorate degree, he is also a Certified Public Accountant. In 2006, Walker was appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County, where he currently serves as a judge for the Juvenile Justice Division. Walker is very active, where he serves as an advisor for the First Offenders Program in the Englewood Community, a coach for Biddy Basketball, a member of Rainbow PUSH, and former Legal Counsel for Sigma’s Great Lakes Region. Judge Walker is an Winter The Crescent 33 active member of the Upsilon Sigma chapter.

2012

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INTERNATIONAL REACTIVATION MONTH

EXCEEDS ALL EX PE CTAT I ONS A N T I C I PAT I N G G REAT THIN GS FOR 2011 C AMPA IG N

A

Bro. Jonathan A. Mason, Sr., International First Vice President s the 2011 Reactivation has come to a close, we are optimistic that this year’s effort to bring previously nonfinancial brothers back into the fold will be successful. Phase 2 of the

Reactivation Program began on November 1, providing the incentive of a paying a discounted rate for international and regional dues, for brothers who have been inactive for at least three years. Local chapters were also encouraged to participate in the effort with cash prizes being offered to the chapter which brings the most brothers back to the Fraternity. I am very happy to report that Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. FAR EXCEEDED our goals for the 2010 October International Reactivation Month! As an organization we reactivated just under 2,000 brothers during this inaugural program! When we

the Eastern Region finished second in the fraternity

established the program we estimated that 300 to 700

with 45 reactivated brothers!

brothers would come back to the fraternity. As a result of YOUR efforts, those estimates were blown away! The Eastern Region led the effort with the reacti-

I would be remiss if I did not give special recognition to the chapters who activated the most brothers in each region. In order these chapters are as follows:

vation of 431 brothers. Congratulations to Regional

Iota Mu Sigma Chapter of the Gulf Coast Region,

Director Darryl Williams and Vice Director, Leonard

Gamma Alpha Sigma Chapter of the Great Lakes Re-

Lockhart for doing a phenomenal job of motivating their

gion, Phi Sigma Chapter of the Southeastern Region,

region to support this program! The Southern Region

Xi Chi Sigma Chapter of the Southern Region, and Al-

was a close second with 422 reactivated brothers!

pha Nu Sigma Chapter of the Western Region. Please

Mu Beta Sigma Chapter of the Southwest Region, under the leadership of Brother Ivory Lyles led all

join me in congratulating these outstanding chapters! It should also be noted that the Reactivation pro-

chapters with the reactivation of 77 brothers!

gram generated over $160,000 for the international

Special recognition goes to Brother Rico McClarity,

fraternity and the seven regions!

the chapter Vice President, for his commitment and dedication! Job well done! Delta Pi Sigma Chapter of

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I want to take this opportunity to thank the Regional, Vice, State and Area Directors for owning this


project and making it a smashing success. CONGRATULATIONS! I also want to acknowledge the heroic efforts of the International Headquarters staff. Brothers Marco McMillian, Dennis Lanham, Wayne Green and the entire Team worked overtime to make sure we processed every submission correctly. To them, we say thank you very much! Special thanks also go out to International President, Jimmy Hammock for the support, counsel and leadership he provided throughout this project! We must also be cognizant of the fact that retention is the key to sustained growth in Phi Beta Sigma. The International Membership Committee will publish a Reactivation and Retention Guide in 2011. But don’t wait until the guide comes out. Engage all of our brothers NOW! Remember, there are many places we can go to spend our money, time and effort. It is imperative that all brothers see the value of remaining active in Phi Beta Sigma. We finished 2010 with our highest financial membership in history! In a year where we experienced a ten month moratorium, we bested 2009 by 18%! Remember, our goal is to have 14,000 financial Sigmas in 2014 as we celebrate our Centennial. Join with us as we continue our March towards the Jubilee!

Winter 2012 The Crescent

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CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS

Phi Beta Sigma

Makes its Presence Known in Korea

S

eoul, South Korea is “feeling the love” from Phi Beta Sigma, through the efforts of the Alpha Omega Sigma chapter there. The chapter consists primarily of military men stationed in Seoul, South Korea, "Land of the Morning Calm". It is continuing a tradition of community service established by U.S. military men stationed there during the Korean conflict. Its efforts in 2011 include a bowling party for local children, and taking Korean and U.S. children to a Korean Major League baseball game. During the 7th inning stretch, the chapter was acknowledged on local television. Over the Christmas holidays, Alpha Omega Sigma sponsored “Operation Santa Claus Korea”, during which they sponsored over 300 U.S. children and more than 100 Korean children from orphanages at LOTTE World, an indoor amusement park.

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Winter 2012 The Crescent

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CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS

Local Sigma Chapter Provides Scholarship Endowment On January 28, 2012, the members of the Zeta Beta Sigma chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and the women of Gamma Upsilon Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority held their 19th annual Joint Founders’ Day Banquet. The keynote speaker was the Honorable Jimmy H. Hammock, 33rd International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. There were several award presentations during the evening’s events: The A. Langston Taylor award for community service was presented to Dr. Vickie Andrews. The Arizona Cleaver Stemons award was presented to Soror Milo Slocum. Sigma Brother William Clement, who joined the organization in 1938 at Shaw University, received the Distinguished Service Award from the chapter, which includes payment of Brother Clement’s annual dues for life. A special presentation was made by the brothers of the Zeta Beta Sigma chapter. With the help of various sources, the chapter was able to present a check in the amount of $10,000.00 to the Chancellor of Fayetteville State University, Dr. James Anderson, the 11th President of the University. The money will be used to endow a scholarship in the name of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity at Fayetteville State University.

Epsilon Theta Chapter Celebrates 40 Years! December 4, 1971 marks the day on which Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY) was introduced to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. It was on this day “Lucky 13” was initiated into the Fraternity, and became the Epsilon Theta chapter. Forty years and 150 brothers later, Epsilon Theta chapter celebrated its existence in a big way, bringing together brothers past and present, encouraging previously inactive brothers to become active members, and sharing the joy of Sigma with other Black Greek organizations at Western Kentucky University. The 40th Anniversary celebration took place October 21-23, 2011, during Homecoming Weekend at WKU. Joining current Epsilon Theta members in the festivities were brothers from several chapters in the state of Kentucky. Sigmas and Zetas from decades prior joined Epsilon Theta at the tailgating party and the football game (which WKU’s team won!), and later at the “Old School vs. New School: The Confessions of a Dangerous Stepper” Step Show, featuring representatives from the Black Greek-Lettered organizations at WKU. The weekend culminated with a rededication and Omega ceremony, commemorating brothers who have moved on from the Epsilon Theta chapter. The fellowship of brothers, family, and friends made this occasion a time to remember. It was also an opportunity for Sigmas old and new to connect, and to re-ignite the spirit of Brotherhood, Scholarship and Service in brothers who had been away from their Sigma roots.

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Reaping the Harvest

In 2010, the International Reactivation program was one of the most exciting activities in all of Phi Beta Sigma. Enjoying the efforts of so many chapters and brothers, Phi Beta Sigma was able to celebrate an increase of almost 2000 reclaimed members. There were many positive responses, but none greater than the efforts of Mu Beta Sigma of Little Rock, AR. The chapter's efforts allowed it to expand the chapter from 32 to 109 members. With new memberships and transfers added, Mu Beta Sigma Chapter (MBS) of Little Rock, AR became the largest chapter in the nation, with 134 recognized members. International President Jimmy Hammock and members of the General Board visited the chapter to celebrate its accomplishments and give it a National Recognition. During the visit, MBS received an award and donation from the national office in recognition of its efforts.

Winter 2012 The Crescent

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On the Journey

g ———to the ——— Centennial Celebration

P

hi Beta Sigma Fraternity members from around the nation gathered in the city where the vision for the Fraternity began, in Memphis, Tennessee. The purpose of the gathering was to mark the commencement of the Centennial Two-Year Countdown Celebration: Memphis

2012. The National Founders’ Day event honored the life and legacy of our esteemed Founder, the Honorable Brother Abram Langston Taylor. The four day gathering proved to be one the most memorable celebrations in the 98-year history of Phi Beta Sigma, and took place in conjunction with the Winter 2012 General Board Meeting and the Sigma Emerging Leaders Forum sponsored by the Sigma International Leadership Academy. The Centennial Celebration Committee is being headed by Hon. Brother Carter D. Womack, 27th & 29th International President, Hon. Brother William E. Stanley, 28th International President and Hon. Brother Peter M. Adams, 30th International President. The Memphis celebration began with a Breakfast on Friday, January 6th at Howe Institute (currently known as LeMoyne-Owens College), the school where Founder Taylor first attended.

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n

At noon on Friday, the streets of downtown Memphis were barricaded, as Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity leadership and members, donning commemorative blue scarves, marched from The Peabody Hotel to the historical site on Beale Street, where Founder Taylor reported that he received the vision for his beloved brotherhood. Dignitaries representing the City of Memphis Historical Society, local media outlets, and fellow Black Greeklettered organization members were present to witness the unveiling of the historical marker and dedication. The Skyway Ballroom of The Peabody Hotel served as the beautiful setting for the Grand Public Reception, as the City of Memphis welcomed everyone to “A. L. Taylor Land”. Among those extending greetings were representatives from the Mayor’s office, the Memphis City Council, the Bureau of Convention and Tourism, and Black Greek-lettered organization representatives, including Frater William Banks, Jr., Esquire, Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Congressman Honorable Brother John Lewis delivered emotional and inspiring remarks which moved the audience. The rise of Saturday’s sun brought together a great assembly of Sigma Men, gathered for the Fraternity’s Rededication Ceremony, which was led by Hon. Demetrius C. Newton, Esq., 24th & Senior International President. The brothers recessed from the ceremony to The Brotherhood Breakfast, where they were joined by the sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, members of the Sigma Beta Club and special guests. At 11:15 pm on Saturday, buses gathered to transport Sigma leadership and members to the Founders Day Program, held at the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, where Sigma Brother Reverend Orelius Clyde Collins, Jr. is Senior Pastor. The weekend’s events were culminated with the Centennial Two-Year Countdown Celebration Blue Tie Gala.

Winter 2012 The Crescent

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Opens with $19.1 Million Dollar Showing!

W

e put out the call to action, and you responded! The leadership of Phi Beta Sigma applauds all chapters and members who supported the opening of a major documentary in America’s history. We know that many responded in spite of bad weather, and so we THANK YOU, because we showed Hollywood that WE WILL support movies which tell OUR stories. “Red Tails” is an extraordinary tale of courage, bravery, and strength, inspired by the equally extraordinary story of the Tuskegee Airmen. During the United States’ involvement in World War II, an aerial combat unit consisting of all African Americans was formed at the Tuskegee Institute. The movie centers on the unit’s efforts to prove that African Americans did possess the courage, discipline, and intelligence to be fighter pilots, despite the popular attitude of the times that blacks did not have the skills and abilities to be pilots. Despite the fact that these men heeded the call to serve their country, the Tuskegee Airmen were still subject to injustices and prejudice imposed upon persons of color by the very nation they were fighting to protect. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity proudly salutes those men, living and deceased, that were apart of such a courageous movement, and recognizes some of its own members who served in this historic combat unit. African American

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men are well represented in the making of this film. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire”) directed the film, and the screenplay was written by “Boondocks” creators Aaron McGruder and John Ridley. Noted producer and director Tyler Perry provided monetary support to the film’s executive producer George Lucas, to assure its completion and distribution. Phi Beta Sigma Brother Terrence Howard heads the ensemble of African American actors making up the unit. Other headliners include Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tristan Wilds, Nate Parker, Ne-Yo, and Method Man. Please keep spreading the word about this amazing story! “Red Tails” is a story for all.


The Crescent phi beta sigma fraternity, inc. 145 Kennedy Street, NW Washington, DC 20011

Back Cover Ad (Sigma Exchange?)

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The Crescent Magazine Winter 2012  
The Crescent Magazine Winter 2012  

The Crescent is the official publication and voice of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. The journal, released twice yearly, provides the frate...