Chapter Web Site:
Rho Beta Beta
P. O. Box 652
Houston, TX 77001
Bro. Scott Harrell
1st Vice Basileus:
About Rho Beta Beta
“A Legacy in the Making”
The History of Rho Beta Beta Chapter (Revised 2012)
By: Bro. Tony Williams
Former Ninth District Director of Public Relations & Editor To The
The year was 1982. It was during the 62nd Grand Conclave in Miami, Florida, that the members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., in conclave assemble, would give charter approval for what would become one of the most prominent graduate chapters in the Ninth District - Rho Beta Beta.
To set the stage for this milestone event, this “Legacy in the Making,” we will have to backtrack to the early eighties. During that time, Houston was among several Sunbelt cities that offered young African-American professionals opportunities for endless employment and personal growth. Thousands of Americans migrated south to Houston to capitalize on the exploding job market. Major oil companies; NASA and the space industry, the Texas Medical Center, and other newly created technical businesses were seeking qualified individuals to fill the hundreds of white-collar positions in the workplace. Because of this massive migration, Houston’s population would propel itself into becoming the fourth largest city in the country.
From every major city in America, Omega’s sons were among the many who came to Houston seeking prosperity. Fresh out-of-college these young Omega Men, in celebration of their youth, sought to establish a fraternal bond with other young graduate brothers. They often engaged in fellowship meetings at each other’s homes, and attended various social functions. As their bond with each other grew stronger, many of these men thought the time was right to establish a new graduate chapter in Houston.
Like the Founding Fathers, who struggled to establish this great Fraternity, the petition to charter a new graduate chapter would not be an easy task. Twenty-seven brothers, stepped-out on faith to expand their Fraternity’s horizons. By attracting other Omega Men who possessed high aspirations and enthusiasm, they endeavored “To See It Through.” It was because of their perseverance and endurance, their commitment and dedication to complete this noble task, that these 27 men would begin laying the foundation for our chapter’s legacy for the next 30 years; “A Legacy in the Making.”
With the guidance of the Supreme Basileus, and the leadership of Grand Basileus Brother Benjamin Livingston and Ninth District Representative Brother Clarence Wilson, along with the assistance and support of Brother Shelly Steward IV (Nu Phi Chapter), Rho Beta Beta Chapter was chartered on October 23, 1982.
The newly formed graduate chapter stood ready to provide fraternal service to the Houston community by implementing its Four Cardinal Principals: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift. Embarking on the Fraternity’s Motto Friendship Is Essential To The Soul,” the chapter quickly grew in membership.
Under the leadership of the newly elected Basileus, Brother Leon Flowers (deceased), the chapter wasted no time in becoming actively involved in both fraternal and community activities. In 1984, the chapter was recognized for winning the fraternity’s National Talent Hunt Contest. Also in 1985, Reverend Brother Cecil Herndon was the first chapter member to be elected as the Ninth District Chaplain. Over the years, several chapter members would later follow-in his footsteps serving in other elected and appointed national and district positions; “A Legacy in the Making.”
After three (3) years of its inception, the chapter’s leadership understood that new blood would be a vital key in nourishing the growth of the chapter. It was now time to seek potential Omega Men, with similar ideals, who would be an asset to the Fraternity.
In 1985, Rho Beta Beta initiated its first-line, the “Five Sons of Diogenes,” leading the way for more than 140 new brothers to be initiated into the chapter. To date “The Little Rock 14” is the chapter’s largest line. Our neophyte brothers, “The 8 Sons of Apocalypse,” have the distinction of being initiated in 2007, the year of our 25th Chapter Anniversary. In 2011, the 100th Anniversary of Omega’s birth, Rho Beta Beta initiated 13 new members (centennial line), the “Thirteen Soldiers of Gideon.”
Each of the 19 lines was charged with the responsibility of demonstrating their enthusiasm and willingness to give their best to Omega. By doing so, this would further escalate the chapter’s prominence in the Fraternity. For those of us who were initiated through Rho Beta Beta Chapter, this is our opportunity to become thoroughly immersed and a part of “A Legacy in the Making.”
Following in Brother Flower’s path, 16 brothers (to date) were elected to lead the chapter. Each of their administrations gainfully built upon the successes and the obstacles of the prior administration. As a result of their leadership Rho Beta Beta was named “Ninth District Chapter of the Year,” the highest award bestowed to a chapter by the district; “A Legacy in the Making.”
Shinning the spotlight on Omega’s for the entire city to see were our former Basilie; Brothers: Leon Flowers, Nelson Anthony, Lonzo Bryant, Anthony Cromartie, Kervis Thornton, Vernon Hunt, Herman Burroughs, Arnathan Bishop, Dyrren Davis, Albert Benifield, Jr., and Vernon Steven Weakley Basilie taken the leadership role after 2007 includes: Quinn Meads, Tony Williams, David Mason, Kevin Jackson, and Greg Williams.
During their administrations, the members of Rho Beta Beta Chapter were expected to exemplify the true Spirit of Omega through the Fraternity’s mandated programs. Some of the accomplishments under their leadership included: Las Vegas Nite, political awareness forums and voter education/registration drives, the Ernie Reese Annual Golf Tournament, OmegaFest, the Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive, A Gospel Concert (featuring recording gospel artist Chester Baldwin), our Annual Boat Rides, several community health fairs, several youth mentorship programs, Family & Friends Day, the UNCF Walk-Thon, our Annual Back-to-School Program, our affiliation with the National Pan-Hellenic Council Houston Chapter, the creation of the Coalition of Omega Chapters, the creation of Space City Ques, Inc.(the chapter’s non-profit entity), and several other social programs and activities benefiting both our fraternity and the citizens of Houston.
In lieu of all of these major milestones and accomplishments, Scholarship was one of the driving forces that stimulated Rho Beta Beta to rise to the top. To date, the chapter has awarded over $100,000 in scholarship funds to local high school seniors attending four-year colleges.
What would life be without some politics? Many of our chapter members have been elected and appointed to key positions in our fraternity. Brother Nelson Anthony, a former chapter basileus, was elected as our 1st Vice District Representative. He also was appointed to serve as the District Social Action Chairman and South Texas State Representative.
Brother Tony Williams has served as our 9th District Keeper of Records and Seal, and as the Ninth District Public Relations Director. He was also appointed to serve on the Board to the Oracle, and as the Editor of the Omega Bulletin. In addition, Bro. Williams I was appointed to serve as the South Texas State Representative and chaired the Social Action Committee. Some 20 years later he would follow in Brother Nelson’s footsteps and severed as the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council Houston.
Brother Dyrren Davis, another former chapter basilues, serves on the board of the Fraternity’s Life Member Foundation. He also served as president of the Lone State Ques, and currently serves on the International Health Initiatives Committee. Bro. Kervis Thornton also served as president of the Lone State Ques. Our outgoing chapter basileus, Brother Vernon Weakley, currently serves as the chairman of the Fraternity’s History Committee, and is the District Reclamation Chairman. He also served as the chairman of the International Retention Committee. Bro. Lee Willis, a former Second Vice Grand Basilues, was appointed chairman of the District Scholarship committee. Other district appointments include Brother Charles Stewart and Brother Lonzo Bryant. They both served as chairmen of the Regional Intake Team Committee. Brother Michael Stewart has served as Treasurer for the Houston Area Coalition of Omegas, and is currently serving in the capacity of Vice President of the organization. Bro. Stewart is also in line to be the next president of the Lone Star States Ques, in 2013.
As a part of our history, we have been blessed to fellowship with 17 brothers who have entered Omega Chapter. Those brothers are: Harold Brown, Ron Burrell, Robert “Big Rob” Conner, Leon Flowers, Ted “Teddy” Fulton, Benjamin Grant, Melvin “Doc” Hammond, Ronald McNair, James “Penn” Pennington, Michael Phillips, Ernie Reese, Randy Tatum, Thornton Smith, Menion Williams, Roderick Horace, Glover Hankins, and Lonzo Bryant. Although their names have been stricken from “OUR ROLLS,” they will always be a part of Rho Beta Beta Chapter, “A Legacy in the Making.”
“We are who we say we are.” What will the next 30 years hold for this great chapter? As we lean “Forward,” let’s continue to make it “Our Legacy.”