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Omega Psi Phi
Formal Meetings of the Fraternity
At the annual or other emergency meeting of the Fraternity in Grand Conclave assembled the Grand Basileus shall be seated in the center of the platform occupying his desk. All Ex-Grand Basilel shall be seated immediately behind the Grand Basileus, while on his right shall be seated the Grand Keeper of Records and Seal and on his left shall be seated the Vice Grand Basileus and the Grand Keeper of Finances. The Grand Marshal shall occupy a seat near the Grand Basileus and shall carry out his requests quietly . The members shall be seated in the assembly hall, facing the Grand Basileus, and shall listen attentively to and take a part in, all questions that may arise and call for discussion.
They shall be expected to move about as little as possible, and quietness shall prevail during all deliberations of the Grand Conclave. The Custodian of the Peace who shall be appointed by the Grand Basileus at the beginning of the Conclave, shall be stationed at the door and shall admit only those persons who are members of the Fraternity and such other persons as have the permission of the Grand Conclave through the Grand Basileus.
Formal Meetings of the Chapters
At the regular or special meetings of the Chapters the same dignity and quietness must be observed as in the meetings of the Grand Conclave.
Seating arrangements shall, when possible, conform to the seating arrangement of the Grand Conclave─the Basileus of the Chapter occupying the seat and desk in the center, all ex-Basilel seated behind him, while the Keeper of Records and Seal and the Keeper of 'Finances occupy seats at his right and left, respectively. The Keeper of the Peace shall be stationed at the door and shall admit only those persons who are members of the Fraternity, and such other persons as have the permission of the Chapter through the Basileus.
In all cases where persons other than those members of the Fraternity are permitted to enter meetings of the Fraternity, the table containing the lights of Omega and other ritualistic emblems shall be removed from sight.
Election to Membership
The names of the candidates having been proposed they shall be .presented to the Committee on Membership, which shall ascertain their moral and educational fitness, their ability to fraternize, and such other things as may be deemed advisable. Upon favorable recommendation of this committee the candidate shall be voted upon as provided for in the Constitution and By-Laws of the Fraternity.
The Candidate being duly elected and approved by the District Representative or Grand Basileus, the Basileus shall designate a brother and instruct him to approach the candidate and ascertain whether or not the candidate desires to become a member of the Fraternity. If the candidate expresses such a desire the Fraternity pledge shall be given him for his signature and he shall be instructed to return the pledge duly executed and signed together with the initiation fee, not later than a certain hour of a day to be determined by the Chapter. This procedure effected, the candidate' s name shall be formally recorded on the records of the Chapter by the Keeper of Records and Seal. The candidate now assumes the status of a Neophyte and shall be referred to as such. Without previous knowledge of their significance, he shall be given the twenty words corresponding to the twenty pearls on the Fraternity pin and commanded to commit them to memory.
Each Neophyte shall memorize the names of our Founders who are: Edgar A. Love, Minister; Oscar J. Cooper, Physician; Frank Coleman, Professor of Physics at Howard University and Ernest E. Just (deceased), Professor of Zoology at Howard University .
The Neophyte is also required to know in detail the life of two outstanding Negroes. He is not to know the significance of the requirements until after his initiation. In concluding this phase of the Neophyte's task he is to memorize the name of one outstanding Negro in each of five fields.
All initiations shall be held under the supervision, and control of the District Representative or a brother designated by said District Representative.
The initiatory ceremony shall he divided into an outdoor or preliminary ceremony, and an indoor or formal ceremony. If the conditions make it possible the outdoor ceremony, which should include the Neophytes mentioning the names of the Founders of the Fraternity and the detailed account of the lives of two eminent Negroes who may or may not he Omega men, this part of the ceremony may be given inside as a preliminary ceremony.
An officer to be known as the Neophyte Commandant shall he appointed by the Basileus to serve throughout the initiation for which he is appointed.
The Neophyte Commandant shall have complete charge of the arrangements and execution of the initiation, and shall be held to strict accountability to the Chapter for the details of the initiation. He shall appoint a competent number of members to assist in the successful performance of his duty and these assistants shall he referred to as Chamberlains.
The Chamberlains shall be in complete charge of the Neophyte during the initiation, at all times obeying the orders of the Neophyte Commandant. There shall be a Chamberlain for each Neophyte wherever this is possible. Each Chamberlain shall be inspected by the Neophyte Commandant to see that he has nothing that will injure the Neophyte; he shall be charged to this end, by the Neophyte Commandant before he assumes charge of his Neophyte.
The following names are suggested from which the Neophyte shall choose:
Otto L. Bonhanan of Omega─Poet, Baritone, Composer.
Geoffrey Lislet─Member of the French Academy during the 18th century.
Benjamin Banneker─Selected as a Surveyor to Help Lay Out Washington , D.C.
Carl Diton─Pianist, Eminent American Composer, Baritone, Organist, a Son of Omega.
Alexander Dumas─The Greatest Novelist of All Times.
Antar─Epic Poet of Arabia , General.
Moshoeshoe─A Nation Builder, who welded into one nation in Africa about sixty tribes that spoke sixty different languages, so that they became one people.
Terrance─Roman Playwright. .
Amenemhat I and III─Pharoahs of Egypt .
Simon the Canaanite─The Eleventh Disciple of Jesus.
John B. Russworm─The First Negro to Graduate from an American College .
George Washington Carver─Agricultural and Synthetic Chemist of Tusegee.
Alexander Pushkin─Epic Poet of Russia .
Paul Cuffee─Shipbuilder and Sea Trader; the First Actual Colonizer.
Bishop Richard Allen─Founder of the A.M.E. Church .
Bishop Daniel A. Payne─The Champion of an Educated Ministry for the A.M.E. Church and the Founder of Wilberforce University .
Hiram R. Revells─Our First Senator, from Mississippi .
David Walker─Author of "The Appeal," the most widely discussed book written by a Negro before the Civil War.
Mohammed Askie─Emperor of Timbuctu who welded together an empire more extensive than all Europe and ruled it successfully for thirty-six years.
Preliminary or Outdoor Ceremony
It is expedient that the solemnity of the initiation ceremony should begin with the preliminary ceremony. Each step taken, each act done should be solemnly impressed upon the Neophyte. This is not meant to de tract the least scintilla of amusement from the preliminary ceremony.
Each Neophyte shall be assigned a special place and time of meeting and shall he expected to report on time and await the summons from his Chamberlain. Whenever it is practicable the procedure outlined in the following paragraph shall be carried out at this point, otherwise as indicated below.
Neophytes must be absolutely quiet while being assembled and when the Neophytes have all been accounted for, at a signal from the Neophyte Commandant, each Neophyte shall be hoodwinked beyond recognition by his Chamberlain, who shall at the same time securely bind the Neophyte’s hands behind his back and place upon him a number by which he shall be known to the members of the Chapter during the initiation ceremony. With great seriousness the Chamberlain shall now give to his Neophyte one of the twenty words of the pin and caution him that this is the sacred pass word. The Neophytes shall now be cautioned under penalty of losing one of the members of their body to preserve perfect silence, and not by word or sign or symbol or writing to disclose their identity one to another to communicate the sacred pass words which have been given them.
Preparations completed, upon signal from the Neophyte Commandant, each Chamberlain shall proceed with his Neophyte in a column or file marching around and about aimlessly in order that the Neophyte blindfolded and pinioned shall lose all sense of direction and location. During this procession the Neophyte Commandant shall recite the 90th Psalm, which sets forth God's providence, complain of human frailties, Divine chastisement, brevity of life, and prays for knowledge and sensible experience of God's providence. The procession halted, the Neophyte shall now be taken through the preliminary or outdoor ceremony which shall be left to the discretion of the Neophyte Commandant of the Chapter.
Formal or Indoor Ceremony
The room of the Chapter House used for meetings should be set apart for the administering of the Oath and the Charge of the District Representative. Therein shall be placed a table covered with a white cloth, upon which table shall be placed four candles arranged in quadrangular form; within this quadrangle of light shall be placed the helmet, escutcheon, crossed swords, and glove of mail as they appear on the seal of the Fraternity. All other furniture shall be removed, and this room kept in utter darkness except for such light as may be ordered by the District Representative for the performance of his duty. Absolute silence shall be observed within this room throughout any part of the ceremony carried out therein.
Whenever possible, the various tests of the indoor ceremony shall be carried out in separate rooms, and for these separate equipment shall be named as the tests are taken up. When uncontrollable circumstances restrict as to space, the tests may be carried out in one room─the brothers being on hand to assist in the thorough exemplification of one test then in preparing the room for the other tests in succession. Under no circumstances shall more than one test be under taken in the same room at the same time.
Neophytes shall be taken through the several test individually, and no Chamberlain shall leave his Neophyte unless excused by the Neophyte Commandant, who shall appoint another brother to assume charge of the Neophyte until the excused Chamberlain return to his post.
The outdoor or preliminary ceremony complete, the Neophytes are again marched around and about and finally taken to the Chapter House through a designated entrance, at which entrance shall be placed a sentinel who shall be charged with allowing none to pass or re-pass other than those who have permission of the Basileus. When the Neophytes have all been assembled at this designated entrance, the Neophyte Commandant shall approach the door and give four distinct and audible raps; these shall be answered by a like number of raps from within; this shall be followed by an additional rap from the Neophyte Commandant and a similar rap from the sentinel within, after he has given notice of the alarm at the door to the Basileus and brothers and the Basileus has summoned the brothers to accompany him in ascertaining the cause of the alarm. The Basileus and brothers having reached the entrance, the sentinel shall partially open the door and the following dialogue shall be carried on in low but nevertheless audible tone:
Sentinel: Who be ye that dareth to intrude upon the sanctity, peace, and quietude of Omega!
Neophyte Commandant: … number of sincere admirers and friends of Omega who have long hoped for and sought for an opportunity of aligning themselves with the forces of Omega.
Sentinel: Is this of their own desire and uninfluenced by mercenary and ulterior motives!
Neophyte Commandant: It is.
Sentinel: Are they of good report?
Neophyte Commandant: They are.
Sentinel: Do they believe in the Negro!
Neophyte Commandant: They do.
Sentinel: What further token have you of their sincerity?
Neophyte Commandant: Their implicit confidence in Omega as evidenced in the trust they have reposed in us, they having placed themselves in our hands this night as we wended our way an our mission for Omega.
Sentinel: Have you made clear to them the awful penalties awaiting those who enter the sacred fold of Omega and dare to look behind?
Neophyte Commandant: I have, they with one accord are ready and willing to prove by further tests their unwavering faith and belief in the tenets of Omega.
Sentinel: You will not await the pleasure of Omega before whom I shall lay your petition.
After a moment's pause the Basileus shall distinctly say: Swing ye open, O wondrous Gates of Omega: Admit these, our friends, but let them take heed upon what they enter; let them give listening ears, to all that may be said and done, and seal within their bosoms the sacredness of the Temple of Omega.
The Neophytes shall now be admitted and assembled, still blindfolded and pinioned, into one room, the Preamble of the Fraternity Constitution shall be read to them and the list of members of the Chapter with whom they are to fraternize. The Basileus shall now ascertain from each Neophyte by number whether or not he is still desirous of becoming a member of the Fraternity. Upon receiving an answer in the affirmative, the Basileus shall thereupon summon the Chaplain to his side to lead in prayer to Elohim.
The office of prayer affected, the Basileus shall order the indoor ceremony begun, saying to the Chamberlains: Brothers, take these friends, and in a manner peculiar to Omega find out beyond reasonable doubt whether they measure up to the ideals of our beloved Fraternity. When you are satisfied with their proficiency, and have sufficient proof of their fidelity you will bring them to me as pure gold from the crucible of trials that sorely beset their path. Friends, I commend to you courage and commit you to the trust and care of my brothers. Pass on ….
The members shall now proceed to exemplify the tests, administering them to the Neophytes individually.
They are as follows:
1. Discretion. 2. Faith. 3. Obedience. 4. Endurance. 5. Courage.
Discretion: The Chamber lain shall now escort his Neophyte into a room with due solemnity and dignity (The brothers in this room shall be furnished wit h a paper containing the pass words furnished each Neophyte by number.) On reaching the room the Neophyte shall be seated at a table and spoken to encouragingly by the members; he shall be asked to write his name and other things the Neophyte Commandant might suggest. Having done this, the Neophyte shall be asked to write the fictitious pass word which was communicated to him. If he obeys, the moment .he finishes writing the last letter of the word the Chamberlain shall throw him to the floor, denouncing him, and expressing great surprise and indignation that the Neophyte has broken this, his very first obligation.
Threats of the actual bodily harm shall now come from the members while above all voices shall be heard that of the Neophyte Commandant who shall say ill harsh tones: Brothers, we shall brand him so that every loyal Son of Omega may know him as a man bereft of honor!
A rush is now made for the Neophyte while one of the members shall make an earnest, prayful and sincere plea for forgiveness of the Neophyte, whereupon the Neophyte Commandant shall give the following talk on the meaning of discretion and the Neophyte shall be forgiven and with caution passed on to the next test. Heat a piece of iron; hold it close to candidate's body, then slap on a piece of ice.
My friend, you have been guilty of lack of discretion. To the uninitiated and to those who spend but superficial thought upon the significance of the meaning of the term "Discretion," it might imply something of timidity or lack of decision; it might seem a sign of lack of courage. To the expressions it implies nothing of timidity and denotes true courage and common sense.
The crux of the whole matter is that life itself should be a series of attempts to accomplish specific projects. If these projects are honorable, and no true Omega man will engage in any but all honourable project, the none may well devote the best that is in him of mind, soul and body to its final accomplishment.
Discretion requires that in the accomplishment of our project no innocent man, be he brother or not, shall be wronged by our activities.
Discretion implies a knowledge of and recognition of limitations as well as capabilities. Discretion demands that you keep constantly in mind those things which may help you, that you may practice them, and those which may hurt you ill order that you may with honor avoid them.
You have failed to avoid that which would hurt you. You, in violation of your promise and of the instructions given you, have written the mystic word and deserve the penalty which our law provides.
But we as Sons of Omega, have learned to temper justice with mercy, and on condition that you commit no further indiscretion we forgive you.
Continue on and be discreet.
If the Neophyte does not write as requested or demanded the Neophyte Commandant shall say the following: Friend, I must commend you, for in the midst of threats and bodily violence you have been discreet, you have kept your word, you have shown that with you promises are sacred and binding, you have passed the first test required of all Omega men.
As an example of a man of discretion, which means saying the right thing in the right way, at the right time and place, I remind you of Booker Taliaferro Washington ; he could plead for the uplift of his people even in the presence of his enemies.
He showed them their weaknesses, yet they gave him a helping hand. He won the North and he won the South. As you may well know, Tuskegee Institute is the monument erected to his honor and glory.
Discretion, however, is but for the first step towards understanding the mysteries of Omega, so I must prepare you for the next unfoldments. Cling to me, I will be your guide.
Commandant leads the Neophyte out.
Faith: Neophyte Commandant: Friend, having gone thru the first test, you come to the second, which is a test of your faith.
The Scriptures say, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Without faith it is also impossible to please man. Business is built upon faith; schools are built upon faith; churches are built upon faith; homes are built upon faith.
The stories of David and Jonathan and of Damon and Pythias reveal the faith of friend in friend.
I shall now tell you a story of the Negro appearing in Brother Carter G. Woodson's History of the Negro Church, which sets forth the kind of faith you must show tonight and the kind of faith Omega expects of her sons to have ill another.
In the year 1809 there lived in the South a Negro slave by the name of Burrows, who believed that he was called to pr each. As he had the gift of eloquence and great spiritual powers, many encouraged him to exercise his gifts. He never gave his word unless he meant to keep it. In short, his word was his bond.
Two of his friends, free Negroes, who lived in the South had so much faith in his ability and in his promises that they went to Burrows' master and bound themselves over to him for a period of six month s, in order that Burrows might go north and preach, and in so doing obtain funds with which to purchase their freedom.
Had Burrows not returned within six months, the two free Negroes were to he slaves forever or until they could by extra work accumulate funds with which to purchase their freedom.
Burrows, however, returned before the expiration of the six months the two friends never were uneasy about Burrows' return. They believed that only death would keep him from coming back.
This is the kind of faith you are to have in your brothers and this is the kind of faith you are to inspire them to have in you.
Faith: The room shall be darkened, superfluous furniture removed, and the Neophyte conducted therein. Such questions are here asked him and answers exacted as shall give theoretical proof of his faith in those he calls friends. He shall hereup on be offered a pill (containing Methylene Blue) and told to swallow it. If he disobeys, the pill shall be forced down his throat under threat of severing his head from his body. This done, one of the members within hearing of the Neophyte shall exclaim: Alas brother, you have made a terrible mistake; the pill you gave our friend is from the box which contains poison. By this pill his career is cut short, and he is thereby ushered prematurely into eternity. Here all members shall go into a panic calling for help, doctor, and sending word to his relatives and arranging for details of his funeral and assuring him of their friendship even to the grave. He shall then be made to swallow quinine, being told that it is an antidote to the poison given him.
Obedience: Neophyte Commandant: Friend, you have passed the test of Discretion and the test of Faith but before you can become a brother, you must meet another test.
The Negro who well exhibits how you must face this test is the late Colonel Charles Young, of the United States Army and a Son of Omega.
Colonel Young at the time of the World War was the best strategist in our army. For this reason he should have been chosen to lend the Ninety-Second Division; but with the South in the saddle, It seemed that America did not desire to have a Negro general; for such Colonel Young would have become had he been sent to France . To prove his physical fitness, he rode his favorite horse from his home town in Ohio , to Washington , D.C.
However, he received orders to go to Africa, while Ballou, of Georgia , was put at the head of the Negro Division.
Colonel Young knew that he could not .a second time stand the hard environment of Africa; be could have lived in France , but America sent him to Africa .
Colonel Young made no reply. He went to Africa and died.
The Neophyte shall be conducted in to a darkened room into which there shall previously be placed a couch, a dagger or knife, and a dummy breast.
The Neophyte is given the dagger to examine and hold in his right hand in a position for stabbing. A member shall lie up on the couch with his left breast bared of clothing, and the Neophyte shall be told to feel and interpret what is felt. He shall be made to realize what is felt is human flesh upon the region of the heart, and told to get his distance, for his is the duty of driving to the hilt, the dagger in his hand, into the breast he has just recognized.
The members shall then quietly step aside, and the dummy breast substituted. The Neophyte shall now be commanded to stab. If he fails to stab, the hand clutching the dagger shall be made to execute the command. Piercing groans and cries of murder shall be made by the members, while same shall improvise means of getting the murderer from the grasp of the law. Under this guise the Neophyte shall be conducted to the next test.
Endurance Test: Let the Neophyte be stripped to the waist. Then have him stand so that his legs and outstretched arms will tend to form the letter X. While he holds this position, the brothers should tickle the Neophyte with a brush or a feather. Use anything that will cause a strange feeling. While this is going on the Neophyte must keep his hands and arms elevated. He must not change his position. While the Neophyte holds this position, paint on his breast with iodine the capital letters that begin the name of our Fraternity.
Also while he holds this position, tell him the story of Frederick Douglass as told by John W.
Cromwell in his "The Negro in American History" or some other book that emphasizes the hardships of Douglass. Tell him how his mother walked twelve miles back, doing this for many days. Tell of his being beaten many times.
If the Neophyte lowers his hand, caution him to keep them up or take the consequences. At the end of the story the Neophyte Commander shall make the following statement: Friend, the Apostle Paul said to the young man he was training, Timothy, endure hardness as a good soldier. Several can be given this fourth test at the same time.
Courage: Neophyte Comm
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