Xi Chapter (Ξ) of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporate was charted May 8, 1921 on the campus of the University of Minnesota. It was the 14th chapter founded under the leadership of 8th Grand Basileus Harold H. Thomas, chartered only ten years after the founding of the fraternity in 1911. Xi chapter’s charter members were:
Albert Morello Butler
George William King
Hutchins Franklin Inge
Theodore R. Inge
Fredrick Douglass Inge
Booker W. Harris
Earl Fleetwood Kyle
Roy Ottoway Wilkins
Robert W. Harris
Xi’s most notable member, Roy Ottoway Wilkins served as the chapter’s first Basileus. Wilkins broke major ground while on the U of M campus. He was the first black student to become a reporter for the Minnesota Daily, the student-run newspaper. He also was the first black student to participate in the school’s prestigious annual Pillsbury Oratorical Contest, winning third place. Wilkins also won the coveted Phi Beta Kappa key denoting his prowess as a scholar. He later distinguished himself as the head of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and leading black civil rights organization for 22 years.
Xi chapter was the first black organization to be featured in The Minnesota Gopher Yearbook. A picture of the distinguished members was proudly displayed in the 1923 edition of the Minnesota annuals.
Xi chapter was a formidable force on the University of Minnesota’s campus during the 1920s. The chapter’s roster swelled to over 20 brothers; a collection that included the most noteworthy black men on campus. These men included the Inge brothers, Hutchins, Fredrick and Theodore ('21-Ξ). All were stellar students and each became doctors. They also spread the Omega seed throughout the country helping charter chapters in New Jersey and their home state of Virginia.
John Watson Chenault ('23-Ξ) and Walter Jerome Minor ('23-Ξ) both distinguished themself as two of the first black graduates from the University of Minnesota’s medical school. Both later became doctors, for Chenault being name the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at the John A. Andrews Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama and Minor the Director of Surgery at the Huston Negro Hospital in Houston, Texas.
Earl Wilkins ('23-Ξ), the younger brother of chapter charter member Roy Wilkins, achieved great acclaim like his older brother. Earl won the Ludden Real Estate Freshman-Sophomore Oratorical Contest and followed in his brother’s footsteps by earning a spot on the editorial board of The Minnesota Daily in 1925. He also represented Xi chapter at the annual Minnesota Gridiron Banquet, the yearly event designed to address university student issues. Wilkins was the first black student to be invited to attend this event.
Throughout the early years, men of supreme caliber continued to be added to Xi Chapter’s roster. Claude D. Black ('29-Ξ), Keeper of Records at the time, continued the tradition started by the Wilkins brothers of writing editorials for The Minnesota Daily. One of Xi’s early shining stars was James Arthur Weiseger ('27-Ξ). An outstanding performer in athletics at the university, Weiseger was a star in track and field. He was a record holder in the 880 event for several years and also was named the first black team captain of any sport at the University of Minnesota. He served as Keeper of Records and Seal & Basileus of Xi chapter.
Upon his graduation from the U of M with a Bachelor in Business Administration, on March 19th Weiseger moved to the nation’s capital to open his own business. In 1933, Weiseger was thrust into a higher capacity to serve Omega when Brother Walter Herbert Mazyck, Grand Keeper of Records and Seal suddenly entered Omega chapter. James Arthur Weiseger was appointed by the Supreme Council as the 8th Grand Keeper of Records and Seal to immediately succeed brother Mazyck on August 27th and later elected on his own record to serve the remaining year of Mazyck's unexpired term at the 21st Grand Conclave in Durham, North Carolina in December of 1933.
Weiseger had big shoes to fill as Mazyck had built up the confidence of his peers by more than ten years of faithful work as the Grand Keeper of Record and Seal, but the young Xi chapter brother was up for the task. His efficient management skills were quite evident while performing an effective administrative job in improving the accounting and financial records of the fraternity. Weiseger also served on the first Committee on the History of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Dreer 1940 and appointed the writer to many of the earliest sources of the history book. He was unanimously elected on his record for a full term of two years at the St. Louis Grand Conclave in December 1934. He served in the capacity of Grand Keeper of Records and Seal until December 1936 when he relinquished his office to focus on his private business. He served a second term as Grand Keeper of Records and Seal from 1946 to 1948.
During Weiseger's time as Grand Keeper of Records and Seal, the fraternity saw the greatest expansion in its history. Weiseger was giving the responsibility and honor, because of his combined tenure from 1933-1936 and 1946-1948 of issuing the Fraternity's charter to three-fourths of the chapters which was approximately 120 chapters. He was also recognized for his outstanding contributions and service to the Fraternity by being the recipient of "The Omega Man of the Year Award" in 1946
Even during some of the most trying times in history due to difficulties caused by The Great Depression, Xi Chapter continued to be a vital organ to Omega. On May 28th 1937 Xi served as host chapter for the District Meeting held on the University of Minnesota campus. The weekend was filled with business and social events diligently planned by the young enthused Xi brothers. The theme of the meeting was “Omega Faces West”; a subordinate theme was “Why a District Conference?” Richard Curtis Allen ('33-Ξ), Basileus of Xi Chapter, presided over the meeting. Xi brothers Lathrop Rogers ('37-Ξ) delivered the keynote speech on “Omega Faces West” and John Wesley Brooks ('33-Ξ) was the keynote speaker for “Why a District Conference?” On Friday evening Xi chapter hosted a closed smoker and Saturday evening after a long business session Xi Chapter gave its annual spring party at Ramsay Hall in Saint Paul which was hailed as a gala affair. The conference closed out on Sunday with a largely attended open meeting at the Hallie Quinn Brown Community House in Saint Paul.
The 1940s was a time of change and growth in Xi chapter. The districts of the fraternity were restructured moving Xi from the eighth district to its current home in the tenth district. As the United States entered World War II many Xi brothers were shipped off to battle however the morale and focus of the chapter never wavered.
Older Xi chapter brothers continued to blaze a trail in different parts of the country. In 1941 Charter member Dr. Hutchins Inge ('21-Ξ) became the first black person appointed by the Clinical Physician of the Board of Health of Newark, New Jersey to the staff of Isreal Hospital. Brother Inge later became the first black person elected to serve in the New Jersey State Senate in 1966.
On May 30th 1947 Xi Chapter hosted the annual 10th District Meeting with brother Ralph S. Ward ('39-Ξ) serving as District Marshall. The chapter played a grand host to the brothers of the district as Omegas came from far and wide to converge on the Twin Cities. The chapter roster boasted over 40 brothers with 18 members in the Lampdos Club. Meetings and workshops were productive as always with the district meeting capped off by a stellar party.
Xi Chapter Brothers 1947
Xi Chapter Lampodos Club 1948
Xi chapter continued to flourish during the 1950s. The brothers on the yard conducted annual programs such as the Memorial Service, often held at Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul on March 12th. Xi chapter’s Achievement Week and many social events we frequently housed at the Hallie Quinn Brown Community House in Saint Paul. Xi once again played host to the 10th District for its annual meeting on April 29th, 1955. Dr. Albert Morello Butler ('21-Ξ), the first black dentist in the state of Minnesota and charter member of Xi Chapter was elected 10th District Representative serving from 1951-1954.
Orrington C. Hall Jr. ('37-Ξ) and Byron Scott Riffe ('37-Ξ), organized both American Legion Posts in the Twin Cities in the 1950s. Hall held the highest positions of any black person in the Veterans Administration in the State of Minnesota while Riffe was the first black person to be appointed Executive Director to the Governor of Minnesota.
The latter part of the decade was hard on the chapter as membership declined. Xi chapter remained, however, viable and active with only 6 members in the chapter. This is consistent with Omega’s view that its focus is not in quantity of membership but quality of men. This idea has served as the core of Xi Chapter’s commitment to serving the community and the university.
The early 1960s were an extremely turbulent time for the country and Xi chapter mirrored that. Chapter charter member Roy Wilkins ('21-Ξ) distinguished himself as head of the NAACP and was one of the chief organizers and speakers at the 1963 March on Washington. These difficult times of blacks struggling for civil rights were further complicated by an already small and shrinking enrollment of black students at the University of Minnesota. As a result the chapter went through a period of inactivity. It was not until the late-1960s were Xi chapter brother reemerged in a major way at the University of Minnesota. Xi brothers stepped to the forefront on both the athletic and political playing fields at the University. As Brother Albert Nuness ('68-Ξ) was team captain and leading the Gophers basketball team, along with brothers Eric Lewis Hill ('68-Ξ) and Oliver D. Shannon ('69-Ξ), on the hardwood the Gophers football squad was littered with Xi brothers such as Leon Adolphus Trawick ('68-Ξ), Maurice "Mo" Forte ('68-Ξ), Alvin Ray Hawes ('68-Ξ), Raymond Berkly Stephen ('68-Ξ), Ezell McWestly Jones ('68-Ξ), Walter Ashby Bowser ('68-Ξ), John David Thompson('68-Ξ), Terry Hunter Addison ('68-Ξ), Richard Oliver Crawford ('68-Ξ) and Mike Owen Curtis ('68-Ξ).
While the athletic Xi brothers excelled on the playing fields, Xi brother like Robert George Randall ('68-Ξ), Francisco Alberto Lloyd ('68-Ξ), Michael Von Dotson ('68-Ξ), Warren Milledge Tucker Jr. ('68-Ξ), Bruce Stanley Norman ('68-Ξ) and Horace Huntley ('68-Ξ) demanded change to the discrimination and inequality that plagued the university for black students. With these courageous brothers leading the way along with 70 other black students, the University of Minnesota’s campus was forever changed on January 14, 1969. The black student’s frustration reached a boiling point that culminated with these students taking over Morrill Hall, the campus administration building. They presented a list of demands, including full scholarships for black high school students, the establishment of guidance and counseling for black students and the request for more black faculty which they issued a 24 hour deadline. What became known as “The Morrill Hall Takeover” garnered national attention and as a result led to the forming of the African American Studied Department and the hiring of black faculty at the University.
Brother Horace Huntley (68’-Ξ) leads the Morrill Hall takeover on Jan. 14, 1969
The 1970's & Beyond
With the black enrollment at the University of Minnesota steadily dwindling in the 70s and 80s, Xi chapter felt the effects. Membership was low and these times were marred by droughts of brothers on the yard. The chapter went through periods of inactivity, becoming dormant and subsequently inactive.
Through the diligent work of Epsilon Rho, the graduate chapter in the twin cities, it served as a great vessel to shine the light of Omega throughout the state of Minnesota and helped Xi eventually reactivate.
Throughout the 80s, 90s and 2000s athletics continued to provide Xi with noble brothers. Brothers Duane Oscar Gregory ('80-Ξ), Jermel Delon Carr ('94-Ξ), Javon Tyrone Jackson ('95-Ξ), Justin Jerome Valentine ('07-Ξ), Curtis Hughes III ('08-Ξ), Brandon Devon Kirksey ('10-Ξ), Donald Lynn Wilhite II ('10-Ξ) and Marcus Guy Jones ('12-Ξ) led the Golden Gophers on the football gridiron, many of the brother becoming team captains.
Brother like Robert “BJ” Browne ('98-Ξ) and Jokondo Jokondo ('10-Ξ) held positions at the district level, with Browne becoming Director of Public Relations for the 10th District and Jokondo holding the Second Vice District Representative position. In addition Xi Brothers Willie James Edwards ('93-Ξ), Carlton DeMarco Lee('93-Ξ), Terrence Lamar Lang ('93-Ξ), Reuben Shalamar Jones ('93-Ξ), and Sadaris Rafael Cheatem ('93-Ξ) spearheaded the charting of Rho Mu Mu Chapter in Chicago, Illinois on September 6, 2011 with Brother Edwards serving as the chapters first Keeper of Records and Seal and immediate Past Basileus. Brother Reuben Jones was the first Keeper of Finance and Brother Terrence Lang Vice Basileus.
Led by Xi brothers Kolawole "Femi" Olufemi ('04-Ξ), Timothy Kpetay Sayon ('05-Ξ), Haythem Taieb Lafhaj ('05-Ξ), Anthony Olutope Odufuye ('05-Ξ), and Wilfried Sahiet Zehourou ('05-Ξ), Xi chapter captured 1st place at the 10th District Convention Marchdown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in April 2007.
Since founding in 1921, Xi chapter has produced influential men that have changed the landscape of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the United States in civil rights, politics, athletics, education, business, science and the arts. Xi chapter strives to maintain the highest level of enthusiasm and commitment to uphold the fraternities Four Cardinal Principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift. Xi Chapter continues to be one of the leading chapters in the 10th District and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
LONG LIVE XI CHAPTER!
Not shown among the charter members in the picture was Robert W. Harris, as he had graduated by the time the picture was taken. Montague James Richardson ('22-Ξ) was included in the picture.
Xi Chapter brothers picture in the 1927 edition of The Minnesota Gopher Yearbook.
Brother Earl Wilkins ('25-Ξ), pictured in the yearbook for winning the Ludden Real Estate Freshman-Sophomore Oratorical Contest.
Brother Weiseger ('27-Ξ) pictured in the center with the 1930 Gopher’s Track Team. Weiseger was the team captain.
James Arthur Weiseger. Grand Keeper of Records and Seal 1933 – 1936 & 1946 - 1948.
The Minnesota Daily article from May 29th, 1937 of Xi Chapter hosting the first Eighth District Meeting at the University of Minnesota.
Program from the 1947 10th District Meeting hosted by Xi Chapter at the University of Minnesota.
Top L to R Brothers Al Nuness, Ezell Jones; Bottom L to R Brothers Walt Bowser, Alvin Ray Hawes
Program from the 1955 10th District Meeting hosted by Xi Chapter April 29th - 30th at Coffman Memorial Union on the campus of the University of Minnesota.