Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students. The founders, Honorable A. Langston Taylor, Honorable Leonard F. Morse, and Honorable Charles I. Brown, wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service. Crucial to the Baltimore metropolitan area during this time, the undergraduate charter known as Gamma Chapter was Chartered at Morgan College under the leadership of Dr. John E. T. Camper, Dr. Bernard Harris, Dr. William S. Savage, and Dr. Ivorite L. Scruggs. The Charter was formed on November 10, 1916 by the aforementioned who were graduates from Howard University and men of Sigma having been initiated at Alpha Chapter.
Since 1914, the founders of the organization deeply wished to create an organization that viewed itself as "a part of" the general community rather than "apart from" the general community. They believed that each potential member should be judged by his own merits rather than his family background or affluence...without regard of race, nationality, skin tone or texture of hair. They wished and wanted their fraternity to exist as part of even a greater brotherhood which would be devoted to the "inclusive we" rather than the "exclusive we".
From its inception, the Founders also conceived Phi Beta Sigma as a mechanism to deliver services to the general community. Rather than gaining skills to be utilized exclusively for themselves and their immediate families, the founders of Phi Beta Sigma held a deep conviction that they should return their newly acquired skills to the communities from which they had come. This deep conviction was mirrored in the Fraternity's motto, "Culture For Service and Service For Humanity".
In the autumn of 1922, a group of Sigma men residing in Baltimore, but with no formal Chapter affiliation, were called together to consider setting up a graduate chapter of the Fraternity. Up until this time, all the activities of Sigma had been confined to the undergraduate chapter – Gamma Chapter. At the meeting, it was decided to contact all Brothers in the City and invite them to attend a call meeting- afterwards a permanent organization would be formed known as Zeta Sigma Chapter. Some of the Key brothers in attendance of the meeting were, Frank A. Saunders, Dr. George S. Allen, Dr. John (JET) E. T. Camper, Dr. Bernard Harris, John W. Woodhouse (ZS-President), James R. Howard (ZS-Vice President), George A. Owens (ZS-Secretary), and William Anderson (ZS-Treasurer).
Today, over 100 years later, Phi Beta Sigma has blossomed into an international organization of leaders. No longer a single entity, the Fraternity has now established the Phi Beta Sigma Educational Foundation, the Phi Beta Sigma Housing Foundation, the Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union, and the Phi Beta Sigma Charitable Outreach Foundation. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., founded in 1920 with the assistance of Phi Beta Sigma, is the sister organization. No other fraternity and sorority is constitutionally bound as Sigma and Zeta. We both enjoy and foster a mutually supportive relationship.
Brother Louis Monk