This article relies too much on references to primary sources. This article needs additional citations for verification. The fraternity chi Sigma Iota Newsletter Spring-Summer 2014 founded by 12 men — Albert Hicks, Lonnie Spruill Jr.
Charles Briscoe, Frank Coakley, John Slade, Barron Willis, Webster Lewis, Charles Brown, Louis Hudnell, Charles Gregory, Elias Dorsey Jr. Michael Williams — during the Civil Rights Movement. Unlike most of their fraternity peers, the founders were all non-traditional students. Many of them were three to five years older, worked and attended classes full time, had served in the military, and had families with small children. These experiences gave the founders a different perspective than the typical fraternity member. Brothers participated in various protests and sit-ins throughout Baltimore to fight racial segregation. The earliest was a protest organized with a civic interest group, composed mostly of Morgan State College students, against the theater at Northwood Shopping Center in Baltimore, Maryland, located diagonally across the street from Morgan State College.
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This protest started February 15, 1963, and over the course of the six days, the total number of picketers involved reached 1500, and over 400 individuals were arrested. The protest took place in the context of a longer history of protests against the theater’s white-only policy. Annual demonstrations against the theater had been held since 1955, including a sit-in at Northwood and picketing downtown. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the fraternity supported the Big Brothers of America.
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In 1974, the then Grand Polaris, Thomas Dean, appeared in a local television commercial on behalf of Big Brothers of America. The first steps toward moving the fraternity from a regional to a national scope were taken with the creation of Upsilon Chapter at Southern Illinois University in 1974. While its NIC membership was and is beneficial, Iota continued contact with the NPHC, which at the time had no expansion policy with which to accept new members. At its 1993 national convention, the NPHC adopted a constitutional amendment which provided for expansion, and several years later, a NPHC expansion committee developed criteria for potential new member organizations and a procedure by which they might apply. In 1996, Iota Phi Theta submitted a formal application to the NPHC expansion committee for review, after which it was delivered to the NPHC Executive Board. After deliberation, the board unanimously approved Iota Phi Theta’s membership application. Effective November 12, 1996, Iota Phi Theta was accepted as a full member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, with all its rights, privileges, and responsibilities.
In 1992, the fraternity established the National Iota Foundation, Inc. September 19, 2013 marked the fraternity’s 50th anniversary. Since its founding date, Iota Phi Theta has continued to grow and has become the fifth-largest and fastest growing predominantly black fraternal organization in the United States. Iota Phi Theta is led by a Grand Council with a Grand Polaris at its head. Iota Phi Theta has a publication and several affiliated programs.
The Centaur magazine is the official publication of the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. First published as a newsletter, the Centaur is now published biannually. Please remedy this by editing this article to remove any non-free copyrighted content and attributing free content correctly, or flagging the content for deletion. In spring 2016, the fraternity created an initiative designed to address and end all forms of abuse. IOTAS Saving, Healing, Improving, Empowering Lives Daily”. African Americans and other communities of color.
In January 2015, the fraternity partnered with the ARC to provide assistance to communities through the United States in the areas of blood drives, disaster relief operations and other areas in which they believe cooperation and support will be mutually beneficial. Since 2012, the fraternity has supported St. Jude primarily through the annual St. Teams composed of members of the brothers, Sweethearts, and their families and supporters raise funds throughout the year and run or walk during the event.
Established in Spring 2016, this program raises awareness of preventable health problems and encourages early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Chapters sponsor health awareness seminars, workshops, and ‘hands-on’ support for fraternity members, other African American males, and men of color. Impact Others Through Awareness by Implementing Public Health Initiatives Throughout the World. I-PhiT is a volunteer-based organization founded in 2011 by its President and CEO, Iota brother David Odige. I-PhiT and Iota Phi Theta have joined to address national and international public health issues through education, community involvement, and awareness.
In the early growth and development of the fraternity, Morgan State University staff member Audrey Brooks assisted the Brothers and became a vital resource to Iota Phi Theta, providing protection and support for the fledgling organization. In recognition of her support, the fraternity granted Ms. Brooks the title of “Eternal Sweetheart”. Brooks continued to support of Iota Phi Theta through her life and was a frequent guest at Iota conclaves and workshops until her passing in 2003.
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September 2014 to reorganize the Iota Phi Theta Sweetheart Auxiliary, which the fraternity then dissolved in January 2015. In October 2015, ISI and the fraternity signed an agreement which officially formalized the historical relationship between the organizations. African-American Marine pilot to achieve the rank of Lt. Honorable Founder of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. President and CEO of The World Conference of Mayors, Inc.
23 Negroes See Northwood Film: No Incidents At Theater During integration Move”. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities in America. The fraternity has 244 active chapters across the United States and Canada and has initiated more than 300,000 members. Sigma Chi is divided into six operational entities: the Sigma Chi Fraternity, the Sigma Chi Foundation, the Sigma Chi Canadian Foundation, the Risk Management Foundation, Constantine Capital Inc.
Like all fraternities, Sigma Chi has its own colors, insignia, and rituals. According to the fraternity’s constitution, “the purpose of this fraternity shall be to cultivate and maintain the high ideals of friendship, justice, and learning upon which Sigma Chi was founded”. Sigma Chi was founded in 1855 by Benjamin Piatt Runkle, Thomas Cowan Bell, William Lewis Lockwood, Isaac M. In the fall of 1854 the literary society was to elect its Poet and a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon was nominated for the position. In February 1855 Runkle and his companions planned a dinner for their brothers in an attempt to seal the rift. Whitelaw Reid, one of the other brothers who supported the Delta Kappa Epsilon member as poet, was the only one to arrive. Reid brought a Delta Kappa Epsilon alumnus named Minor Millikin from a nearby town.
The six men decided to form their own fraternity along with William Lewis Lockwood, a student from New York who had not joined a fraternity. On June 28, 1855, the organization was founded under the name Sigma Phi Fraternity. Lockwood used his business training to help organize the fraternity in its early years. Much of Sigma Chi’s heraldry was inspired by the legendary story of the Emperor Constantine from the Battle of Milvian Bridge against Maxentius. Runkle helped design the badge of Sigma Chi based on the story of Constantine and the vision of the Cross. Benjamin Piatt Runkle circa 1857, then an undergraduate student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He was twenty-three years old when Sigma Chi was founded, second oldest of the founders.
He graduated from Miami University in 1857 and began teaching. He was the only founder who had not been a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. He was considered the “businessman” of the founders and managed the first chapter’s funds and general operations, becoming the first treasurer of Sigma Chi. After graduating from Miami University in 1858 he moved back to New York and began work as a lawyer. Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania as Isaac Alfred Jordan.
Cooper was the oldest founder and was elected the first consul of Sigma Chi. After graduating from Miami University in 1857 he became a Presbyterian minister. Scobey was considered The Spirit of Sigma Chi for being friendly with everybody and not just a select group of people. After graduating from Miami University in 1858 he went on to graduate again in 1861 with a law degree. By the age of thirteen Caldwell had completed all academics which could be offered at his local academy.
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He was then sent to Miami University with advanced credits. Caldwell was just fourteen at the time of the founding making him the youngest of the founders. John Dixon, a brother from the Psi Chapter at the University of Virginia who fought for the Confederacy, kept a record of all Sigma Chis within his vicinity on the flyleaf of his diary during the American Civil War. It was ascertained that a number of the fraternity were in the army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston during the Atlanta campaign in 1864.
It was conceded that the South was forever disunited from the general government, and it was assumed that all chapters throughout the South would cease to exist. Dixon and Yerger contacted all brothers listed in the diary who could come to the meeting. They met at night in a deserted log cabin a few miles southwest of Atlanta. The cabin was in a state of frightful dilapidation.
Its rude walls and rafters were covered with soot and cobwebs, and the floor showed evidences of having been the resting place of sundry heaps of sheep. The only badge in the chapter was one Dixon had made from a silver half-dollar. The last meeting was held New Year’s Day 1865. The men at that meeting passed a resolution to pay a “tribute of respect” to the four brothers from the chapter who had died during the war.
In May 1939 the Constantine Chapter Memorial was erected by Sigma Chi in memory of the Constantine Chapter and its members. The memorial is located on U. White became president of Purdue University. He required each applicant for admission to sign a pledge “not to join or belong to any so-called Greek society or other college secret society” while attending the school. In the fall of 1881, Thomas P.
Hawley applied for admission to the university. Having already been initiated into Sigma Chi, Hawley refused to sign the pledge and was denied admission. Hawley took Purdue to court, but the judge ruled in favor of the faculty’s decision. He also ruled, however, that the faculty had no right to deny Hawley from his classes based on the fraternity issue. Postcard of Sigma Chi House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, c.
During the first half of the 20th century the General Fraternity expanded in many places. In 1899 the Fraternity adopted the flag design created by Henry V. In 1901 the Grand Chapter approved the Fraternity’s pledge pin. In 1903 at the Grand Chapter in Detroit the Board of Grand Trustees was established. Coming into the beginning of the 20th century, Sigma Chi had installed a total of 74 chapters with 58 still active. Having only established a centralized form of government in 1922, Sigma Chi was installing new chapters at a rate of about one chapter per year.
The Sigma Chi Foundation was created on November 9, 1939 when the Sigma Chi Endowment Foundation was incorporated in Colorado. This educational endowment was first discussed in 1898 by alumni who wanted to assist undergraduates financially so they could finish their undergraduate studies. The world wars of the 20th century took the lives of 103 Sigs in World War I and 738 in World War II. A great resurgence in undergraduate activity followed World War II due to an increase in chapter memberships. This increase was caused by the men returning from military service who went back to school as well as the usual addition of new brothers.
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During World War II it became apparent to the General Fraternity officers that a few alumni as well as a few undergraduate chapters believed some of the prerequisites for membership in Sigma Chi were outdated and should be changed or eliminated. This led to the first discussions about membership within the fraternity that continued until early in 1970. Until this time, membership requirements had specified that a potential member must be a “bona fide white male student”. Daniel William Cooper was the last founder to die. Cooper’s death led up to the Fraternity gaining one of its most priceless objects, Cooper’s Sigma Phi badge.
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The badge of Sigma Chi is a white cross with white and black enamel. Two gold chains connect the two upper arms. Crossed keys are in the upper arm, an eagle’s head lies in the left arm, and a scroll lies in its right arm. In the bottom arm lie two clasped hands and seven stars. The seal of Sigma Chi is circular. On the outer edge is “Sigma Chi Fraternity” and at the bottom are the numbers “1855”. In the middle lie seven stars and a seven-branched candlestick.
The crest of Sigma Chi is a blue Norman Shield with a white cross in its center. On top of the Norman Shield is a scroll and a crest of an eagle’s head holding a key. Below it, the fraternity’s public motto, “In Hoc Signo Vinces” is placed on a scroll. It can be translated as, “In this sign, you will conquer. Officers in undergraduate chapters mostly have titles derived from Imperial Rome. Those titles are the primary officers common to all chapters. Alumni chapter positions and duties may also vary from chapter to chapter.
Alumni chapters use the more common office titles such as: president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. The international organization uses similar Roman titles, typically with the prefix of “Grand”. The Grand Consul is the international president of Sigma Chi. Grand Chapter is the supreme legislative body of Sigma Chi and convenes on odd numbered years. It is composed of one delegate from each active undergraduate chapter and alumni chapter, the Grand Consul and Past Grand Consuls, each being entitled to one vote. The Grand Chapter elects the officers of the Fraternity as well as alter or amend the Constitution, Statutes, and Executive Committee Regulations. The Grand Council meets every year when no Grand Chapter is held.