By Nicole D. Batey
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s Gamma Chapter recently unveiled its blue and white-accented monument on the campus of Morgan State University. The historically Black fraternity was founded in 1914 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., and in 1916, the fraternity began its Gamma chapter at MSU.
Morgan State’s President David Wilson, Ed. D, spoke, along with the Chair of the Gamma Chapter, Dr. Paul Archibald.
Members of the fraternity, many dressed in the organization’s colors of royal blue and pure white, attended the Sept. 16 ceremony, along with onlookers from other Black Greek Letter Organizations, the ROTC, and members of the Morgan community.
“It was amazing to be able to share this with others,” says Johnnie Foreman, a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
The journey to this day was 10 years in the making — and it almost didn’t happen.
The monument was slated for completion in June or July 2022, but it was delayed until September. The structure arrived Sept. 23 at 9:14 a.m., less than two hours before the unveiling ceremony.
Members of the fraternity looked on with much relief and a sense of pride as the monument was settled in place. Older members who attended MSU in the late 1960s and 1970s were emotional. Some thought that this day would never come.
“Lord knows it wasn’t quick. It took years to get to this point,” says Foreman, who attended MSU from 1968 to 1973 on a football scholarship. “Elford Jackson, an engineer and our committee chair, really understood the process and was central to helping with the design and placement of the monument — all the blueprints, dimensions, and designing of this. To see it come to fruition was a very pride-filled moment. I was beaming in my heart to be there and see that with my brother, who I went over with.”
“We actually started this back in November 2012, as we were making plans for our chapter’s centennial in 2016,” Jackson says. “However, it got away from us as we focused more on the celebration’s activities and huge gala. Years later, on a Zoom call, 70 members of the chapter voted to move forward with the project with me as their committee chair overseeing it.”
The impressive monument cements Phi Beta Sigma’s legacy on the Northeast Baltimore campus and can be seen from the Hillen Road.
“This monument is not just a list of names of contributors. This monument represents what Sigmas have done in the past, what Sigmas are doing now, and what Sigmas will be doing in the future,” Archibald says.
Jackson agreed: “Our prayer is that the young men who come through after this see this monument and have a real sense of honor about being a part of this organization. We will continue on in our tradition of brotherhood, scholarship, and service.”
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