NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, one of the country's largest African American men's organizations, commemorates its Founders Day and Centennial celebration today, January 9, 2014. Celebratory events will commence around the country and will include a national day of service, public appearances to announce the organization's renewed commitment to social change and wreath-laying ceremonies at the gravesites of the three founders.
Phi Beta Sigma will cap off this weekend's activities with the Centennial Founders' Day Gala at The Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington, D.C. on January 11. Themed, "Stony the Road, We Trod," the gala will feature activist/actor Harry Belafonte as the keynote speaker and will include a special videotaped message by Former President Bill Clinton. The honorees will include: Congressman John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton, distinguished minister, author, and leader of the Civil Rights Movement C.T. Vivian, Congressman Edolphus Towns, Original Freedom Fighter Hank Thomas, and activist Elizabeth Williams-Omilami. Actor Malik Yoba will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.
The 2014 centennial celebrations will culminate with a week-long celebration, July 16-20, 2014, in Washington, DC, where thousands of members of the organization will gather to pay homage to the three young scholars who founded the organization on January 9, 1914.
"The celebration of Phi Beta Sigma's centennial is not just for the Sigmas. It is for all Americans," says Jonathan A. Mason, international president, Phi Beta Sigma. "The seeds planted by our founders in 1914 have established deep roots in American Society. Men like George Washington Carver, Alain Leroy Locke, James Forman, James Weldon Johnson, Arthur W. Mitchell, John Lewis, Demetrius C. Newton and Al Sharpton are men whose works have changed the world!
Truly, Sigma's modern generation stands on the shoulders of giants. We are committed to doing our part to uphold the rich legacy of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated."
Phi Beta Sigma's Centennial celebratory events commencing this week, January 9-11, 2014, will include the following:
- January 9 - Simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies at the gravesites of the three founders in Memphis, TN, Jacksonville, FL and Manhattan, KS (A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown, respectively)
- January 9 – International President Jonathan A. Mason will join fellow Sigmas on the campus of Howard University for a monument groundbreaking ceremony where the historic Centennial Monument will be erected.
- January 9-11, - Sigmas will participate in unified days of service around the globe in the communities and on the campuses where they live.
- January 11 - Centennial Founders' Day Gala – Sigmas around the country will attend galas in seven different regions around the country. The Eastern Region's gala in Washington, DC will feature the legendary actor and activist Harry Belafonte as its keynote speaker. Honorees include: Civil Rights icons Congressman John Lewis, C.T. Vivian and Al Sharpton, Congressman Edolphus Towns, Freedom Fighter Hank Thomas, Human Rights Activist Elisabeth Williams-Omilami and Clayola Brown, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
Founded by three young scholars to provide black college students and professionals social and service outlets in their communities during a racially segregated America, Phi Beta Sigma today has a membership that spans ten decades, four continents, and includes members of all races, religions, ethnicities and nationalities. More than 150,000 men have become members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity over the past 100 years, represented in over 700 chapters. For more than 60 years, the organization has made manhood training for young boys a fraternity priority through its Sigma Beta Club founded in 1950. Its mission is to bring a responsibility mindset to instill a college going culture among young black males. To date, there are over 120 Sigma Beta Clubs nationwide. Furthermore, over the past 40 years, Phi Beta Sigma has focused on the health and wellness of its communities through national partnerships with the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society and Centers for Disease Control.
SOURCE Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.