John Epps, Omega Psi Phi
In 1923, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was made international and its first chapter was chartered at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. The chapter was founded by former Phi chapter Basileus Walter R. Dunston, who was assisted by George W. Brown. The chapter became one of the five founding members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Epps was a 33-degree Mason and a life member of NAACP. He also served as chaplain for Interdenominational Alliance. He was also a member of Omega Psi Phi and received the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor.
Omega Psi Phi is a community leader and has helped to fund the first Rust College faculty chair in Holly Springs, Miss. It has also donated millions of dollars to worthy causes. There are more than 700 chapters in the United States, Bermuda and the Virgin Islands.
John Dublin Epps was born on March 13, 1881, in Kingstree, South Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Claflin College, and his law degree at Howard University. He was a lawyer in Oklahoma for almost twenty years before he retired to become a pastor. His role as a pastor included organizing the Church of the Advent in Austin, and St. Stephen’s in Lufkin. He was also the Dean of the Colored Conference. After retirement, Epps served as Sunday School superintendent at St. John’s in Houston.
Omega Psi Phi expanded to the Thirteenth District. Peter L. Mitchell was the first representative in the Thirteenth District. He appointed two standing committees, the Finance Committee and Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Both were led by men from color and included Brother Hubert A. Chipman (the first black to hold the position).
In November 1911, the founding members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity met in Nashville and decided on a pin and emblem design. The meeting ended with a vote, and the organization was officially established. Today, the fraternity is well-known for its support of people of color.
Founded in 1917, Omega Psi Phi had an international chapter. This chapter was the first to be established on Okinawa’s main island. In January 2008, a chapter at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada was charted. The first initiation in that region was attended by brothers from Texas, Washington State, and Buffalo, NY. Another brother, Benjamin “Pops” Wilson, traveled from Germany for the initiation.