Little Rock, AR
Chapter Web Site:
PO Box 164238
Little Rock, AR 72216
Major Banks Jr
About Pi Omicron
In the early 1920’s Omega was still in its infancy. According to the Dreer History Book, under the leadership of J. Alston Atkins in 1922 “he recommended that five men be appointed to look after the brothers geographically according to districts” (Dreer pg. 38). Rapid growth occurred and by 1928, nine districts were put in place.
Sixteen years after the fraternity was founded, the first Omega chapter in Arkansas was formed. In 1927 Tau Phi chapter was chartered in Pine Bluff Arkansas. Since most of the brothers were educators at Arkansas A.M.&N. College in Pine Bluff and Philander Smith College in Little Rock the meeting were held alternately in each city. This arrangement worked well until 1942 when Pi Sigma chapter was chartered at Philander-Smith College in Little Rock Ar. Under the direction of Brother Elza Hunter charter member of Phi Psi ‘33 at Langston College, the Omega brothers of Central Arkansas began to explore the idea of creating a graduate chapter in Little Rock. The work for Pi Omicron chapter was completed on December 17, 1946 when Fifth District Representative A.A. Branch (1941-1945) and L.W. Beasly (1945-1960) presented the charter. The charter members of Pi Omicron were Theophilus Alexander, Oliver P. Aycox W.H. Bass, John Clayborn, Joseph H. Elston, John Gibson, Tythe R. Gravelly, Walter Hazzard, Cealia J. Hegwood, James Hudson, Elza Hunter, G.R. Lewis, F.E. Lloyd, Christopher C. Mercer, Earl Moore, T.A. Patterson, Leandrew Schuler, and Robert D. White.
In 1947 Arkansas was moved from the Fifth District to the Eight District with Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado and Minnesota. That same year Brother Elza Hunter was elected the 7th Eight District Representative and served from 1947 until 1951. Arkansas along with Pi Omicron was moved to its current location in the 9th District in 1957. .According to the Oracle magazine of March 1947 it shows C.J. Hegwood as the first Basilius of Pi Omicron. Upon receiving its charter Pi Omicron immediately became a force in the Negro Community. Charter member Christopher C. Mercer (Tau Sigma ’45) played an instrumental role in the desegration of Little Rock Central High School. Brother Mercer was an attorney for the Little Rock Nine and was also given the task of driving them to school each day. Brother Mercer was also one the “Six Pioneers” that integrated the University of Arkansas Law School, and he was the first African-American in the south to hold the position of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Sixth District.
Throughout the late fifties and early sixties Pi Omicron continued to champion the cause of civil rights and equality. Members participated in Sit-in’s, protest marches and demonstrations. Pi Omicron also did the work of Omega by completing all of its mandated programs. Brother Allison Duncan (Tau Sigma ’62) was the chairperson for talent hunt competition for over twenty-five years. Pi Omicron also supported black businesses by hosting their annual Omega Ball at the National Baptist Hotel in Hot Springs Ar. from the mid fifties until the late sixties. The National Baptist Hotel was one of the few hotels owned by blacks in Arkansas and is now on the National Historic Register.
As the sixties transitioned into the seventies Pi Omicron was instrumental in the chartering of Omega chapters on white campuses in Arkansas. Xi Beta chapter on the campus of Henderson State University was chartered in 1971, Beta Delta chapter in 1972 on the campus of State College of Arkansas (now University of Central Arkansas), Pi Kappa chapter 1974 on the campus of University of Arkansas Little Rock, and Gamma Eta 1975 chapter on the main campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The chapters that Pi Omicron helped nurture are today all active strong chapters.
In the early days of Pi Omicron meetings were held at various locations throughout the city, the historic Mosaic Temple, Bethel A.M.E. Church Little Rock, the E.O.A. building and the homes of brothers of the chapter. The brothers discussed the need for a permanent meeting place. In 1984 Pi Omicron purchased property at 2512 State St, which is now the fraternity house and meeting place. The brothers were assessed $396.00 a year until the house was paid off in 1994. This caused the number of brothers to drop from 55-60 to 13-25. Today the number of brothers has rebounded to 80. Pi Omicron formed Omega’s of Greater Little Rock in 1994 to manage the property.
Pi Omicron continues to be a leader in the community in Little Rock. In 2006 during the 74th Grand Conclave in Little Rock, Ar., Pi Omicron was recognized by the 37th Grand Basileus George Grace for 60 years of continuous service. In addition to meeting all required mandated programs Pi Omicron is also involved with the three miles of men for the Susan G. Koman race for the cure, adopted Washington Elementary School as our mentoring project, sponsor a back to school backpack and supply giveaway to begin each school year, and assist with Con-Ivie senior adult home.
Due to a lack of written records, much of the history of Pi Omicron has been lost to time. I could not have completed this project without the assistant from a lot of good brothers. I would like to personally thank Brothers Al Duncan, Charles William, Larry Dunklin, Elvin Price, Brothers of 9th District Yahoo Group and Brothers of the Pi Omicron.
Pi Omicron History Highlights
Pi Omicron chartered December 17, 1946
Graduate Chapter of the year 1993
Retention Chapter of the year 2003
Host Chapter for the 74th Grand Conclave in Little Rock, Ar. 2006
Host Chapter for the 9th District Meeting 1973..1987…1995…2002…2012
Pi Omicron members who have served as District Representative
Bro. Elza Hunter the 7th Eight District Representative 1947-1951 Phi Psi ’33 Charter line
Bro. James Wise the 15th Ninth District Representative….1993-1999 Theta ‘50
Bro. Don Davis the 19th Ninth District Representative2002-2004….Pi Kappa ’76
Notable Pi Omicron Brothers:
Bro. Elza Hunter Phi Psi ’33 Grand Marshall 30th Grand Conclave Little Rock, Ar.
Bro. Christopher Mercer Tau Sigma ‘45…Former Aide-de-Camp and attorney for the Little Rock Nine (Omega Chapter)
Brother Thomas Baskins Tau Sigma ’47….35th 9th District Marshall
Brother Dr. Joseph A. Hale Tau Sigma ’48…Former Chairperson for the Department of Arts and Sciences at Arkansas Baptist College and inspiration for Alpha Delta Pi Chapter
Bro. Morris Holmes Pi Sigma ‘59….Former Superintendent Little Rock School District
Bro. Dr. Phillip Rayford….Kappa Psi ’56…….Chairman of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Associate Dean of Minority Affairs (Omega Chapter)
Bro. Rapheal Lewis Pi Sigma ‘59……Former Dean of Political Science Philander-Smith College
Brother Willie Brewer Pi Sigma ’66…49th 9th District Marshall
Bro. Jimmy Smith, Sr. Tau Sigma ’66…. District Marshall 57th 9th District Meeting Little Rock, Ar.
Bro. Leroy Brownlee Xi Rho….Former chairman Arkansas Board of Parole
Bro. Dr. Derek Lewis Beta Delta ’77…..Grand Marshall 74th Grand Conclave Little Rock, Ar.
Bro. Harold Bailey Beta Delta ’80…..District Marshall 75th 9th District Meeting Little Rock, Ar.
Brother Michael Pi Omicron ’82 “Big Pete” Peterson…Member Henderson State University Hall of Fame
Bro. Larry Dunklin Pi Omicron ’84….. Former 9th District Counselor
Bro. Dr. Elvin T. Price Pi Iota ‘04….Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences U.A.M.S
Bro. Leon Johnson Pi Omicron ’06…Current Pulaski County Circuit Judge and Former 9th District Counselor.
Fifty Years Brothers of Pi Omicron:
Bro. Thomas Baskins Tau Sigma ’47..District Marshall 35th Ninth District Meeting Little Rock, Ar.
Bro. Joseph Hale ‘Tau Sigma ’48…
Bro. James Powell Pi Sigma ‘55
Bro. Henry Thomas Phi Psi ‘50
Bro. Leon Adams Rho Psi ‘55
Bro. Ralapheal Lewis Pi Sigma ‘59
Bro. Allison Duncan Tau Sigma ‘62