As with many scholars at that time, Dean Miller was an intellectual and a prolific writer as to the problems and solutions African Americans faced at the time. In the Spring of 1913, He championed a national essay contest to all Black collegiate students on the subject “The Effect of Emancipation on the Physical Condition of the Afro-American.” The contest came with a cash prize of $50. This was a huge prize since tuition and fees at Howard ran around $170 a year (in today’s dollars, the prize would be equivalent to about $1,100…a nice piece of change!).
Hundreds of entries from around the country came pouring in! The incentive was not only the money but the quality of subject matter. As Scholarship, intellectual thought and high aspiration were foundational stones of Omega, several of the Brothers on the Yard participated in the contest. Below are the entry request from two Brothers, Frank Wimberley (Charter Line) and Chauncey Harlee (Spring 1912).
Unfortunately, none of the Bros’ essays were the winner. However, this demonstrates a perpetual quest for scholarship and thought provocation that is the hallmark of our Fraternity.
As a post script to Dean Miller’s opposition to the founding of Omega, the Bros got the last laugh: his son, Isaac Newton Miller, was initiated into Omega through Alpha Chapter in 1915 (more on this Brother along with Frank and Chauncey in future editions of This is Alpha Chapter).