THE HISTORY OF PHI BETA SIGMA CHAPTER
FIRST IN THE WESTERN REGION
The establishment of Phi Beta Sigma Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc, was started February 15, 1937 when Bro. William Perry directed a letter to Bro, Jessie W. Lewis, Dean of Terrell Law School, Washington, DC, requesting information for the chartering of a chapter in Los Angeles, CA. At this time, there were no chapters west of Texas. The movement gained impetus with the coming to California of Hugh Fisher Lewis, who was Vice President of the Northern District. After careful selection, Bro. Lewis, Perry, Johnson, and Hill invited eleven other men to join as charter members: Fred Baker, George Beavers, Edgar Brown, Cecil Davis, Aaron Douglass, Dee Hodge, William Nickerson, Jr., Granville Norman, E. M. Porter, Clarence Smith, and Oscar Stokes.
The officers elected to serve the new chapter were: Bro. William Perry, President; Bro. Clarence Smith, Vice-President; Bro. Dee Hodge. Secretary; Bro. Everette M. Porter, Treasurer. Brother James Weldon Johnson, celebrated poet, author, and professor of creative literature, was the National President at the time of the chartering of the chapter. He wrote a letter to Bro. Perry congratulating him for his efforts in chartering a Sigma Chapter west of Texas.
Since it’s inception, Phi Beta Sigma Chapter has been a pillar of strength in the Western Region. The Chapter has overseen the development of the Region, by chartering numerous chapters as well as providing leadership for the region. From the inception of the Western Region in 1942, 14 members of Phi Beta Sigma Chapter has served as Regional Directors, including the first Western Regional Director, Bro. Clarence Muse, the renowned actor. Phi Beta Sigma Chapter has also seen 14 of its members be inducted into the National Distinguished Service Chapter (DSC), the most prestigious Chapter within the Fraternity. The Chapter has had more members inducted into the DSC than any other Chapter in Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. . Phi Beta Sigma Chapter spearheaded the effort to bring the National Conclave to Los Angeles in 1948 and again in 1966.
In 2001, Phi Beta Sigma Chapter hosted one of the most successful Regional Conferences in the history of the Western Region at the Sheraton Hotel in Universal City, CA. In 2005, Phi Beta Sigma Chapter served as the host Chapter for the Conclave, the National Convention for the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. It is the first Conclave in Los Angeles since 1966 and one of the most successful Conclaves in the history of the Fraternity.