This is Alpha Chapter #22 - 4/16/13

Profiles of who we are:

Buried Treasure

In January 1929, the Lampados Club of Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity donated a Legacy gift to Howard University of a Sundial which stands proudly in the center of campus today. This is no secret and all Brothers who ever came on HU’s campus know of The Dial and its meaning. But what you may not know is that, while this was the first gift, other lines donated gifts as well.

In the subsequent years to follow, the Lampados Clubs of 1930, 1931 and 1932 made donations to the University (if you have the Commemorative Book, it’s on page 40). The 1932 gift was rejected by the University because of its controversial subject matter (see the Commemorative Book for further explanation). The gifts from 1930 and 1931 have been lost……until now.

On December 18, 2012, I was in the coffers of Founders Library looking through the boxes donated by Bro. Otto McCarrin (Alpha Fall 1937) in the Prints & Photograph Room. In the grand scheme of things, this particular room is relatively new given the age of Founders being established about 10 years ago. I was waiting for the curator to return to retrieve another box for me when I turned around to admire the historic pictures on the wall. Immediately when I turned a picture was staring at me. It was a picture of Louis Cramton (of Cramton Auditorium fame).

I glazed at the inscription on the weathered frame only to be blown away: the inscription noted that this picture was donated by the Lampados Club of Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, May 1931.

This is probably the first time any Bro has seen this picture in, at minimum, 35 years (if anyone on the list serv has seen it before, please let me know and provide some insight as to where it was located at previously).

So why did the Bros give the University a picture of a white guy named Louis Cramton? Well, Louis Cramton was elected to Congress representing Michigan and served in the House from 1913-31. He was a major supporter of Howard University. He led the effort in gaining passage of an Act of Congress authorizing federal appropriations to the university in 1924 (he chaired the sub-committee of the House Committee on Appropriations for the Department of Interior in which Howard’s federal funding initially came from). The Bros, recognizing his contribution, presented a picture of him to the University for his contribution to Howard in 1931 (the University took that a step further naming the new auditorium after him in 1961).

In talking with the curator, Ms. ElBashir, she did not know who it was or who presented it to HU. She thought the picture looked good for the room and hung it for historic/decorative purposes when the room opened. Now another lost treasure of Alpha Chapter has been found right under our nose. If you find yourself with a few extra minutes on the Yard, go to the bottom floor of Founders, ask for the Print & Photograph Room and check out the picture.

So what other treasures are out there, Bros?! Something buried in your attic, closet or den? Take a look and share it with the Bros.

Next issue: Defining the meaning of Service (April 30, 2013)

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