Saluting Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. | HBCU Standouts

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated (ΦΒΣ) was founded on January 9, 1914 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by three African-American men A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse, and Charles I. Brown. We salute their Founders  and thousands of HBCU Sigma men whose “cause speeds on its way.”

Phi Beta Sigma Founders

James Weldon JohnsonSALUTING SIGMA STANDOUT – JAMES WELDON JOHNSON | Initiated into the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., poet, professor, songwriter and diplomat, James Weldon Johnson graduated from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1894. Co-author of the Negro National Anthem “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” Weldon is also well-known for God’s Trombones and The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.

Robert Russa MortonSALUTING SIGMA STANDOUT – ROBERT RUSSA MOTON | Initiated into the Gamma Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., educational leader Robert Russa Moton graduated from Hampton University in 1890. As the second president of Tuskegee University, the school affirmed its commitment to aeronautical training under his headship. This eventually led to the training of African-American pilots at Tuskegee, along with the Tuskegee Airmen, whose initial training base is named Moton Field in his honor.

George Washington CarverSALUTING SIGMA STANDOUT – GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER | Initiated into the Gamma Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., famous scientist and inventor Dr. George Washington Carver dedicated his life to his research at Tuskegee University. Buried next to founder Booker T. Washington on the Tuskegee campus, Carver’s epitaph fittingly reads: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.”

Alain LockeSALUTING SIGMA STANDOUT – ALAIN LEROY LOCKE | Initiated into the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., “Father of the Harlem Renaissance” Dr. Alain LeRoy Locke graduated from Howard University in 1906. A patron of the arts, Locke was also notably the first black Rhodes Scholar.

Kwame NkrumahSALUTING SIGMA STANDOUT – KWAME NKRUMAH | Initiated into the Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Kwame Nkrumah, who graduated from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania in 1939, shepherded the Gold Coast in its struggle for independence from Great Britain.  A pan-Africanist, Nkrumah became the first president of the newly independent nation of Ghana. He is also notably credited by some black fraternal historians with introducing the cane to stepping.

John LewisSALUTING SIGMA STANDOUT – CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS | Initiated into the Lambda Sigma of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Congressman John Lewis joined the frontlines of the Nashville Movement when he was a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary (now American Baptist College). A graduate of Fisk University, Lewis, having been the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), is the only living “Big Six” leader of the modern American Civil Rights Movement.