About

This is a brief outline history of the Fifth District of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. It is not intended to be a complete history. The available documents are sketchy at best and in some cases nonexistent. However, I’ve done some research, using the GILL book and the Omega Men of Distinction book that I received from Brother Carl Blunt, 1st Vice Grand Basileus. This document should provide a starting point from which to develop a complete history of the district going forward. Fraternally, Bro. Edward Morant (Fifth District Representative 2008-2012)

In 1919 Delta Chapter in Nashville, Tennessee, was the first chapter to be established in what is now the 5th District, under the 7th Grand Basileus Brother Raymond G. Robinson. Delta was organized with twenty chartered members. Nashville can also be considered the birth place of what is now known as “Black History Month”. It was in Nashville at the 1920 Conclave that Carter G. Woodson delivered an inspiring address entitled, “Democracy and the Man Far Down”. The address was so eloquent and moving, that the Fraternity decided to devote a week each year to focus on disseminating accurate information on the life and history of the Negro.

Authority was given the Grand Basileus in 1922 to appoint representatives of the Grand Chapter, called District Representatives, to assist in the supervision of the chapters. Five such representatives were appointed at the time. The representatives were Charles W. White, (New England States), Carter L. Marshall (Mid Atlantic States), L.R. Hill (Central States), William J. Faulkner (Southern States) and George L. Vaughn (Western States). It is unclear which Representative supervised the states of Tennessee and Kentucky at that time. The year 1922 also saw the establishment of Theta Omega Chapter in Louisville, Kentucky during the administration of the 9th Grand Basileus, J. Alston Atkins. Brother Atkins was also a charter member of Delta Chapter. No other chapters that are currently in the 5th District were established until 1925, when Epsilon Phi in Memphis and Gamma Phi in Nashville were formed under the 11th Grand Basileus Brother George E. Vaughn.

The most significant movement toward forming the 5th District as we know it today came during Grand Basileus Z. Alexander Looby’s administration (1940 – 1945). Brother Looby served during the challenging years of World War II. Despite the dwindling number of active Brothers and potential members because of the war, Brother Looby was successful in establishing 14 new chapters. Among the chapters that were formed are Theta Iota (Jackson, TN) in 1944 and Kappa Iota (Chattanooga, TN) in 1945. The first attempt to structure the Fraternity into Districts occurred in 1937.

Brother Looby served as the first 5th District Representative from 1938 to 1941. In 1937 the Fraternity was organized with 11 Districts. At this point the state of Tennessee was in the Fifth District along with Mississippi and Arkansas. The state of Kentucky was placed in the 8th District along with Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri.

In 1945 the Fraternity made the decision to re-organize into 12 Districts. It was at this point that the 5th District in its present form, with the states of Tennessee and Kentucky was created. The first 5th District Representative after the re-organization was Brother L. W. Beasley, who served from 1945 to 1960, which remains the longest term served by any 5th District Representative. In 1984 Brother Willie A. Smith, who served as the 11th 5th District Representative was elected Grand Keeper of Records and Seal at the 74th Grand Conclave in Louisville, KY, thus making him the second 5th District Brother to become a Grand Officer.

District Meetings

Meeting City Year
1st 1949
2nd 1950
3rd Memphis, TN 1951
4th 1952
5th 1953
6th 1954
7th 1955
8th 1956
9th Jackson, TN 1957
10th Memphis, TN 1958
11th Knoxville, TN 1959
12th 1960
13th   1961
14th Louisville, KY 1962
15th 1963
16th Memphis, TN 1964
17th Knoxville, TN 1965
18th Jackson, TN 1966
19th Lexington, KY 1967
20th Nashville, TN /Delta 1968
21st Chattanooga, TN 1969
22nd Johnson City, TN 1970
23rd Louisville, KY* 1971
24th Memphis, TN 1972
25th Knoxville, TN 1973
26th Jackson, TN 1974
27th Lexington, KY 1975
28th Chattanooga, TN 1976
29th Louisville, KY 1977
30th 1978
31st Memphis, TN 1979
32nd Knoxville, TN 1980
33rd Jackson, TN 1981
34th Lexington, KY 1982
35th Nashville, TN 1983
36th 1984
37th 1985
38th 1986
39th 1987
40th Oak Ridge, TN 1988
41st Chattanooga, TN 1989
42nd Louisville, KY 1990
43rd Memphis, TN 1991
44th Knoxville, TN 1992
45th Jackson, TN 1993
46th Lexington, KY 1994
47th Nashville, TN 1995
48th Murfreesboro, TN 1996
49th Bowling Green, KY 1997
50th Clarksville, TN 1998
51st Oak Ridge, TN 1999
52nd Chattanooga, TN 2000
53rd Louisville, KY 2001
54th Memphis, TN 2002
55th Knoxville, TN 2003
56th Jackson, TN 2004
57th Lexington, KY 2005
58th Nashville, TN 2006
59th Oak Ridge, TN 2007
60th Tunica, MS 2008
61st Murfreesboro, TN 2009
62nd Chattanooga, TN 2010
63rd Louisville, KY 2011
64th Memphis, TN 2012
65th Knoxville, TN 2013

5th District Cities that Hosted Conclaves

Conclave City Year
9th Nashville 1920
28th Nashville 1940
74th Louisville 1984

5th District Grand Officers

Office Name Year Elected
Grand Basileus Z. Alexander Looby 1940
Grand KRS Willie A. Smith 1984
Grand KF Horace Chase 2010