On this day in 1914, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded at Howard University by three young African-American students—A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse and Charles I. Brown—as a medium to deliver service to the general community.
The organization’s deep convictions about brotherhood, scholarship and service is reflected in its motto, “Culture for Service and Service for Humanity.”
Over the course of its 105-year-history, Phi Beta Sigma has been comprised of an elite group of men across various industries who continue to improve the global community, including actor Malik Yoba; singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte; and NFL star Richard Sherman.
In celebration of Founders’ Day, take a look at other notable members of the fraternity below.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
Lewis has been the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District since 1987. He is also a civil rights icon and has been called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.”
The politician was the youngest speaker at 1963’s March on Washington, and he has spent more than five decades protesting injustice in the United States. Lewis has also written several acclaimed books, including a three-part graphic memoir about the brutality he faced in during the 196 5 “Bloody Sunday” confrontation that occurred during a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama titled March.
The civil rights leader has received numerous honorary degrees and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama. During his fight for racial equality, Lewis has been arrested 45 times, including five times as a congressman.
Huey P. Newton
The activist was best known for co-founding, with Bobby Seale in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, a militant organization based in Oakland, California, that was central to the Black Power Movement.
The pair formed the group to combat incidents of police brutality and racism. They most notably created a free breakfast program to feed the children in their communities. In the late 1960s, the Black Panthers had more than 2,000 members in chapters across the nation.
After Newton’s legal troubles, stints of prison time and rumored struggles with drugs, the group disbanded in 1982. In 1989, the revolutionary was shot dead during a drug dispute.
The former NBA superstar played 17 seasons in the league. He is best known for his time on the Chicago Bulls (1987-1998), playing alongside Michael Jordan, a pairing that contributed to winning six league championship titles.
Victor J. Glover
Glover, who has been a NASA astronaut since 2013, is also and a commander in the U.S. Navy. He holds four degrees: a bachelor of science in general engineering; a master of science in flight test engineering; a master of science in systems engineering; and a master of military operational art and science.
Before becoming an astronaut, Glover graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and was an F/A-18 Hornet pilot.
In August 2018, he was assigned to be part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program. He will fly on the SpaceX Crew’s first post-certification mission to the International Space Station.
George Washington Carver
Carver was born into slavery in Missouri, reportedly one year before the practice was outlawed in the United States. He was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of uses for sweet potatoes, soybeans and peanuts (he did not create peanut butter, which is often claimed).
In 1890, the scientist attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, before being encouraged to take up botany at Iowa State Agricultural College, which is now Iowa State University. A year later, he was the first African-American student to attend the college and he went on to earn a his master’s degree there.
After being recruited by Booker T. Washington in 1896, Carver headed the agriculture department at Tuskegee Institute (now University) for 47 years.
He died in 1944 at the age of 78.
Roker is the current weather anchor NBC’s Today show. During the Dec. 14, 2018, episode, he was honored for being with the network for 40 years.
The weather forecaster holds the Guinness World Record for the longest uninterrupted live weather report, which he earned on Nov. 14, 2014, after 34 hours of reporting.
He is an honorary member of Phi Beta Sigma.