SYMPOSIUM: 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT: LOOKING BACK & MOVING FORWARD: ARTICLE: OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY AND THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS Skip over navigation
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Copyright 2016 Wake Forest University School of Law. All Rights Reserved.
Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy

SYMPOSIUM: 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT: LOOKING BACK & MOVING FORWARD: ARTICLE: OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY AND THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

February, 2016

Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy

6 Wake Forest J. L. & Pol'y 213

Author

WENDY MARIE LAYBOURN + & GREGORY S. PARKS ++

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION he narrative of African Americans' quest for racial equality and social justice in the twentieth century is typically construed in the context of main-line civil rights organizations--NAACP, SCLC, SNCC, and the like. However, for decades, black fraternal networks helped lay the groundwork for the major civil rights campaigns that culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 1 Much of this history emerged from the efforts of the predecessors to black Greek-letter collegiate organizations--black secret societies. Black secret societies were created in response to the racialization and racism experienced by blacks in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 2 Blacks were subjected to legal, political, financial, and social exclusion, and this marginalization was institutionalized, which allowed for its perpetuation. 3 As a result, black secret societies formed, not only as an act of self- and race-consciousness, but also to combat these oppressions. 4

Through black secret societies, members entered into a bond of brotherhood and built a community among themselves and around the goals of racial uplift. Whereas black benevolent societies and churches also provided support, a key element that differentiated black secret societies was their organizing body. 5 With an organizational structure that included local, regional, and national bodies, black secret societies provided an infrastructure for long-lasting organizations and impact, along with offering leadership training. 6 This structure also solidified its power, which yielded a strong political voice. 7 In addition to political voice, black secret societies' power in numbers and solidarity enabled uplift through ...
 
 
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