Friday, March 10, 2006

Ground Zero

I was away for several weeks handling corporate matters but I am back. Thanks to Brother Christian I have a foundation to extend my research. Here is where we are as of March 10 2006
1. The book in the prior post may have some significance as it relates to Founder and Brother Brown but that is in doubt right now.
2. We don't have any real information about Brother Brown...including his parents names, his date of birth, place of birth, or cause and location of death.
3. The most current and well researched train of thought is that Brother Brown is from the east coast and most likely had no connection to Topeka Kansas other than as post graduate choice for employment.
4. We are going to start with information provided by Brother Brown himself. (Since he had no real reason to pass along bad information we can consider his statements to the registrar at Howard University to be fact.
5. This is the last official address for Brother Brown that Howard has 4820 Broad Street Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. ...This is where we will start.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I believe this book has information regarding Brother and Founder Charles I Brown's father John M. Brown. I might be wrong but the context clues strongly suggest that a central figure in this book is indeed the father of Brother Brown.

I have tracked Professor Cox to California and hope to speak with him this evening.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Blue No More

It was a tough day on the beat..Lots of dead ends but just as things seemed bleak I had the opportunity to speak with the daughter of brother and founder Leonard F. Morse. The absolutely wonderful Dr. Mary Helen Morse Robinson of Columbus Ohio. This 79-year old retiree will speak on the record for us next week. May god also bless her!

Home Away From Home

I spoke with the owner of a brownstone at 1813 Titan Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to fraternity records this was at once the home of brother Brown. The owner said the duplex has been in his family a while but there are no occupacy records. I have a Kappa ( don't ask) taking pictures of the property to post here...stay tuned ( Here are some Google Earth Pics )

A Blue Moment in Time !

At 11:47 tonight I stumbled across a Leonard Francis Morse Jr in Washington State while doing research on the web. My first instinct was "nah it could not be the son." But the dates and age were perfect matches. I called the number and indeed I had a conversation with the living son of our glorious founder ....absolutly incredible! He told me he has an "older" sister in Columbus a Dr. Mary Helen Robinson. I am set to interview him on Monday ( maybe for a peice in the Cresent) This brother is in his 90's and was a aware as a man a third of his age. May god bless him.

The Saga Continues !

Our journey on the road to finding founder and brother Charles I. Brown has started of on grand footing. We believe we have found a mention of his mother and father in the 1900 census. This is speculation because I have not been able to confirm the information in the official bio. I am starting to have doubts about his year of birth. One bit of clarification: I am now 80% certain brother Brown did not die "a casualty of World War One" A check of the historical index reveals that all hostilities had ended in Europe by the Twenties. Any fighting would not have been in relation to the "Great War" Since we have reason to believe that communication with brother Brown was made as late as 1924 we can state with some certainty that he did not perish due to World War One. I spoke with the National office today and was told the Fraternity does not have an active archive...What a shame. Maybe this site can become a digital version. We will see..GOMAB!


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Who is Charles I Brown?

According to the 1914 Howard University Yearbook, Founder Charles I. Brown is documented as Finished Howard Academy, 1910, Class Chaplain 1913; Chaplain Classical Club 1912, 1913; President Classical Club 1914; Vice-President Phi Beta Sigma, 1914. Will do post- graduate work in Latin. In addition, Founder Brown was chosen “The Most To Be Admired” for the Class of 1914.

Founder Brown is said to have been born in Topeka, Kansas in 1890. Census records show that his father was Rev. John M. Brown and that his mother was Maggie M. Brown. However, records at Howard University from 1910 have Founder Brown living at 1813 Titan Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was very cordial and very popular with the student body and Howard University Administration. He is credited with choosing the 9 charter members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Founder Brown founded the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, on April 9, 1917, and through oral interviews was a teacher at the Kansas Industrial School for Negroes in Topeka, Kansas.

Census records and oral interviews have showed us that Founder Brown was alive in the Topeka, Kansas area until 1931. Some believe that he was a casualty of the First World War; others believe that he moved overseas.

In the spring of 1949, Founder Leonard F. Morse wrote “We live in daily hope that
we shall one day learn the fate of our beloved Brother and Founder”.

In the 1914 Howard University Yearbook, under the Personals and Applied Quotations
Section, Founder Brown left us with this quotation “No legacy is so rich as honesty”.

Founder Brown graduated from Howard University on June 3, 1914. The last correspondence that the fraternity received from him was a letter to Founder Taylor
in 1924, in which Founder Brown indicated that he was teaching in Kansas.

This again is the offical bio for brother and founder Charles I Brown. It is direct from the fraternity website. Various websites list pretty much the same information since the this information is offical fraternity history this is where we will start our search for brother Brown.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Founders

Most Honorable Founder Charles I. Brown, Most Honorable Founder Leonard F. Morse, Most Honorable Founder A. Langston Taylor. These are the men who are credited with founding Phi Beta Sigma.

The photos used in the illustrations in this post probably are property of the respective families. The illustrations themselves appear to be the property of the national body and were taken from the fraternity website.

Phi Beta Sigma

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students. The founders, Honorable A. Langston Taylor, Honorable Leonard F. Morse, and Honorable Charles I. Brown, wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service.

The founders deeply wished to create an organization that viewed itself as "a part of" the general community rather than "apart from" the general community. They believed that each potential member should be judged by his own merits rather than his family background or affluence...without regard of race, nationality, skin tone or texture of hair. They wished and wanted their fraternity to exist as part of even a greater brotherhood which would be devoted to the "inclusive we" rather than the "exclusive we".

This is the offical version taken directly from the fraternity website. Considering the source we feel it is vetted beyond oral tradition. In future posts we will seek confirmation from legacy members. The photo is property of Alpha Chapter and by extension the national body.