The Beta Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. History
The Beta Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was founded in Omaha, Nebraska on December 28, 1949.
The founders were Brother John Butler, B.S. of Wilberforce, Ohio and Executive Secretary of the YMCA, Omaha Branch and Brother Frank Wilkerson, a graduate student and an employee of the Omaha Urban League.
Brother Wilkerson had transferred from Paris, Texas to Omaha, Nebraska to complete a Masters degree in Social Work. Joining these two brothers was Brother George W. Woods of Forrest City, Arkansas, a graduate of A.M. & N. college; now the University of Arkansas. It was at a social gathering when Brother George W. Woods was introduced to Brother John Butler; who extended an invitation to a social at the YMCA. It was at the YMCA that Brother John and Brother George met Brother Frank Wilkerson.
The friendship of Brothers Frank Wilkerson, John Butler and George Woods has lasted over 50 years and has brought new families into the fold of Omega Psi Phi. We have developed real friendship with other fraternity brothers and their families. All soon discovered an abiding brotherhood in Omega Psi Phi.
In 1948, the three brothers applied for a charter but were denied. They were permitted to have smokers (orientation sessions) and training sessions for persons whom they thought could meet the standards of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. The first smoker was held at the home of Brother Frank Wilkerson. There were 11 persons in attendance, three applied for membership.
The first initiation of was held at the YMCA in Des Moines, Iowa. After that initiation, they applied for a charter and thus was born the Beta Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The first meeting of the chapter was held at 1509 Spencer Street, and Brother Harvey McDaniel of the Denver Chapter chaired the meeting. Item one of the agenda was the election of officers and they were the original three: Brothers Wilkerson, Butler and Woods. Other officers and members were Brothers Perry, Gibson, Lewis, Thomas, Jackson, Servo and Scarbough. The two ministers were Brothers General Woods and Leroy Woods.
The Beta Upsilon Chapter was on its way to becoming a positive and uplifting organization in the community of Omaha. There were encounters of racism as we denied public access to meeting places. such as; the Paxton Hotel, University of Omaha, the public library and public schools. In addition the City of Bellevue refused to rent or sell living quarters to a brother because of his color. Yet, the Men of Omega Psi Phi persevered.