Sigma Pi Phi

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Sigma Pi Phi
ΣΠΦ
BouleLogo.gif
Founded 1904
Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Type Social
Scope International
Motto
Colors Pantone 3015 (BLUE)
Symbol Unknown
Chapters 126
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Homepage http://www.sigmapiphi.org/home/

Sigma Pi Phi is the first African-American Greek-lettered organization. Sigma Pi Phi was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 15, 1904. The fraternity quickly established chapters (referred to as "member boulés") in Chicago, IL and then Baltimore, MD.[1] The founders included two doctors, a dentist and a physician.[2] When Sigma Pi Phi was founded, black professionals were not offered participation in the professional and cultural associations organized by the white community.[3] Sigma Pi Phi has over 5,000 members and 126 chapters throughout the United States and the West Indies.[4]

Founders[edit]

Membership[edit]

Membership to Sigma Pi Phi is highly exclusive, number only about 5,000.[5] The organization is known as "the Boulé," which means "a council of noblemen."[6] Founded as an organization for professionals, Sigma Pi Phi never established college chapters, and eliminated undergraduate membership during its infant stages.[7] However, Sigma Pi Phi has historically had a congenial relationship with college Black Greek-Letter Organizations, as many members of Sigma Pi Phi are members of both. Sigma Pi Phi founder Henry McKee Minton and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were both members of Alpha Phi Alpha, while Arthur Ashe was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. Vernon Jordan and L. Douglas Wilder are members of Omega Psi Phi. James Weldon Johnson was a member of Phi Beta Sigma, as is civil rights leader and member of Congress John Lewis (D-GA). University of Massachusetts-Boston Chancellor, Dr. J. Keith Motley and Hibernia Southcoast Capital CEO (Retired), Joseph Williams are members of Iota Phi Theta. Members of Sigma Pi Phi have provided leadership and service during the Great Depression, World War I, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and addressed social issues such as urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues affecting people of African descent.

Hank Aaron's Plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Famous members[edit]

Members of Sigma Pi Phi include co-founder of the NAACP[8] W. E. B. Du Bois, Civil Rights Leader, Rev. Martin Luther King, Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, former United Nations Ambassador Ralph Bunche, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder, American Express President Kenneth Chenault, Bobby Scott, Ken Blackwell, Ron Brown, Vernon Jordan, Arthur Ashe, Mel Watt,[9] Hank Aaron[10] and John Baxter Taylor, Jr., the first African-American Gold Medalist.[11] Numerous other American leaders are among the men who have adopted the fraternity’s purpose of "creating a forum wherein they could pursue social and intellectual activities in the company of peers."[3] Sigma Pi Phi is also open to members of all races, as can be demonstrated by its well known Jewish member Jack Greenberg who succeeded Thurgood Marshall as General Counsel of the NAACP.[12] Lawrence Otis Graham talks about the organization, and his membership, in his book Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class'(1999).[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.betalambdaboule.org/mserver/History_1.aspx
  2. ^ http://www.usip.edu/alumnifriends/profiles/
  3. ^ a b http://www.unityfirst.com/pressreleaseboule.htm
  4. ^ Olechowski, Carol (April 25, 2002). "Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Supports Scholarships for UAlbany Students" (Press release). University at Albany, SUNY. 
  5. ^ http://www.skipmason.com/hm/hm19.htm
  6. ^ http://www.betalambdaboule.org/MServer/History_1.aspx
  7. ^ http://www.skipmason.com/hm/hm30.htm
  8. ^ http://www.naacp.org/about/history/timeline/
  9. ^ Watt, Mel (February 28, 2006). Honoring Black History Month. Congressional Record. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  10. ^ Lavelle, Lydia E. (2002), Senator Leroy R. Johnson '57 - Our "Georgia Peach", North Carolina Central University 
  11. ^ http://articles.philly.com/2011-02-24/entertainment/28623660_1_black-history-month-american-triumph-typhoid-fever
  12. ^ http://archive.is/20120731080321/http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_11_59/ai_n6158341
  13. ^ Lawrence Otis Graham (January 6, 1999). Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class (First Edition ed.). Harper. ISBN 0060183527. 

External links[edit]