“Brother L. M. McCoy, President of Rust College, enthusiastic Omega Man is responsible for the organization of Epsilon Phi Graduate Chapter in Memphis TN. The officers are L. A. West, Basileus, 729 Mississippi Ave.; G. L. Williams, Keeper ofEpsilon Phi Chapter Founders Records & Seal 896 Mississippi Ave.; George W. Lee, Keeper Of Finance. The chapter members include Brothers: Wayman Wilkerson, Dr. J. B. Martin., R. R. Church, James Touchestons and Dr. L. M. McCoy” (Omega Bulletin, Vol 4, May 1925)
At a point between the devastating end of World War I and the impending doom and beginning of the Great Depression in these United States, seven Omega Men of varying professional occupations met together and began to reminisce about their past, but exciting, Omega undergraduate experiences.
Time and time again these seven men met together and spent hours remembering the activities of each one’s Chapter and the parent National Organization. They had enthusiastic recall of the four National Founders of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.: Professor Frank Coleman, Dr.. Oscar J. Cooper, Dr. Ernest E. Just and Rev. Edgar A. Love. The seven gave various interpretations of the Four cardinal Principles: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift. The reflected seriously on the Twenty Pearls who were their constant friends. Then, in 1925, a profound discussion of the Fraternity’s Motto: FRIENDSHIP IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SOUL led to the following Omega Men organizing a Graduate Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in the city of Memphis, State of Tennessee: Attorney Dr. Z. Alexander Looby, Brother Nathaniel Doud Williams, Colonel “Lieutenant” George W. Lee, Brother H. C. Hamilton, Brother Morris Jenkins and Brother Lonnie Walker.”
During the years the Chapter sponsored several uplifting programs and participated in activities designed to bring culture and entertainment to the community. The Chapter met on the first Tuesday’s of the month at various location. The meeting day was dictated by the availability of securing a location. The membership fluctuated, from eight members to a high of 125 dues paying members. Initiatives were put in place to claim recent undergraduate Brothers. Events were held to facilitate camaraderie among present members. Some failed, some went by the wayside and were resurrected. Controversy came and went. The Chapter survived, thrived and grew. When the Omega Life Membership program began, the Chapter’s KRS, Brother L. A. Westley began the process of directing Brothers dues to pay for the membership. Epsilon Phi has Life Members with two and three digit numbers.
On September 6, 1994, Epsilon Phi became the owners of property at 152 E. McKellar, Memphis TN. This property became known as the “Frat House.” This achievement did not happen overnight. One notable attempt to raise funds was to produce a concert. Several Brothers secured the event with personal funds. However, because of unforeseen circumstances the event was not successful. The Chapter did not fail the Brothers and instituted a rebate program to refund their money. Along the way the Chapter established a building sinking fund to finance the purchase of a permanent meeting place. The biggest boost came with the 1St Annual Mardi Gras Ball in 1981. The Mardi Gras Ball provided revenue to fund our Social Action programs while at the same time increasing the building fund.
The first attempt to purchase a house was in April 1991 and involved the old Leanord’s Barbeque Restaurant at 5339 Elvis Presley. Brothers came forth and purchased shares at $2,5000.00 per share. However the deal was not finalized. Epsilon Phi’s next attempt at purchasing a Frat House begun in the summer of 1994. The first fraternity meeting in the new building was held September 6, 1994. The formation of the Purple and Gold clubs helped facilitate the necessary revenue to purchase the House. There were three signers to the original contract. They were Brothers: Floyd Harrison, Commodore Primous, and Bobby Simmons. Epsilon Phi Chapter retired the note.