Many of you know that famous Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes was a member of Omega Psi Phi, but you probably never knew how much he loved the Omega pledge process. We have found a quote from the writer on what the Omega Psi Phi process was like back in the day.
In the winter of 1925 after traveling the world, working as a personal assistant to Carter G. Woodson, and successfully publishing his highly acclaimed book, “The Weary Blues”, Hughes enrolled in Lincoln University, a historically black university in Chester County, Pennsylvania. There he joined Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.’s Beta Chapter.
In The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Volume 13, Hughes opens up about how much he loved hazing at his school.
“Hazing was terrific. Incoming freshmen were given the paddling of their lives practically every night from the opening of classes until the holidays. They were called dogs, made to roll pencils with their noses, to clean the sophmores’ rooms, to ‘assume the angle’ for paddling, and to write insulting letters to their girl friends. At Thanksgiving, just before the annual big game, in the dead of night, all freshmen were seized and their heads shaved bald.”
He also opens up about the Omega pledge process:
“Fraternity initiations occasionally sent agonized howls into the darkness around the countryside, whole woods and fields being available for the ordeal of brotherhood. The manhood rites of an African tribe could hardly have required more strength of the aspirants. When I was initiated, because I was a poet with my first book published and my name in the papers, each of my brothers to be was inclined to think every other brother would let me off easy. The result-each and every brother laid on with such a heavy hand, applying so many licks to be sure the poet would be well initiated, that I could scarcely walk for a week.
“A New Negro, huh?” Wham!
“The boy poet, heh?” Wham!”
After Hughes earned a B.A. degree from Lincoln University in 1929, he moved back to New York where he lived primarily until his death. He is one of the most cited poets of his time.
Click on the arrows below to see quotes from Bro. Hughes that still ring true today.