Omega Psi Phi, the leading national fraternity for black men, continues its national convocation in Little Rock this week with sessions sure to provoke discussion.
Officers and others will meet at 2:30 p.m. today at the Central High Museum to note the coming 50th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis. Ernest Green, a member of the Little Rock Nine, will be on hand. So will Ben Crump, a Tallahassee lawyer representing the family of an African-American youth who was killed in a highly publicized case in a Florida boot camp. Their perspective will be racial progress over the last 50 years.
George Grace, a Florida telephone executive who currently leads the fraternity as grand basileus, put it simply: “We haven’t solved all the problems just yet. We need to keep them at the forefront.”
To that end, the Omegas will air a video made with another fraternity member, Bill Cosby. (A conflict forced him to cancel a planned personal appearance.) His message, Grace said, is about the need for black business development, respect for women, healthy living and a variety of other messages emphasizing personal responsibility. “Riding with a boom box up to your ear smoking marijuana is not something people struggled for 50 years to accomplish,” Grace said.
A public affairs forum is scheduled in Little Rock Wednesday. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a number of elected officials from around the country will participate in the discussion.