Op-Ed

The Boulé

“Be it resolved that a society be organized for the purpose of binding men of like qualities into a close, sacred, fraternal union, that they may know the best of one another, and that each in this life may to his full ability aid the other and by concerted action bring about those things that seem best for all that cannot be accomplished by individual effort.” From The Preamble to the Sigma Pi Phi Constitution

This week, approximately 2,500 members of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and their families will descend on New Providence at its first-ever international convention, also referred to as the Grand Boulé. The Grand Boulé will be held at the world-renowned Atlantis resort and casino on Paradise Island from August 18 to August 23, 2022.

This international convention is expected to contribute between $3 million and $4 million to the Bahamian economy during its week-long international gathering.

This week, we will consider this — What is the Boulé, and what has it accomplished since its formation?

Brief history of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

At the dawn of the 20th century, Black American men of distinction had long functioned in various leadership posts, especially in churches, lodges and other benevolent associations.

On May 15, 1904, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity was established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by six outstanding professional men of color: a pharmacist, a dentist, and four doctors, who had distinguished themselves in their community, but who were excluded from mainstream segregated American society.

In 1904, they created an organization that would provide a vehicle for men of standing and similar tastes to come together to know the best of one another.

Some among them served at the pinnacle of their professions in colleges and universities and in high government posts. They all recognized that together they could accomplish things that could not be done individually.

The Boulé, which in Ancient Greece was a “Council of Chiefs”, is the oldest continuously existing Greek-letter fraternity originally founded by, and primarily for, eminent American Black professional men and later similar professional men of African descent throughout the African diaspora.

Its primary objective was to provide fellowship amongst like-minded men and to get to know the best of one another.

Boulé members are called Archons and their spouses, Archousai.

Since its formation, Archons have included luminaries such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., former Atlanta Mayor and United States (US) Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, former head of the Urban League and advisor to presidents Vernon Jordan, Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton administration Ron Brown, tennis legend Arthur Ashe and baseball great Hank Aaron.

There are three Boulé members who served in President Obama’s Cabinet, including former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and eight in the US Congress, including the late Elijah Cummings and John Lewis.

Current members include, inter alia, US Congressmen Jim Clyburn, Kweisi Mfume and Bobby Scott, and Senator Raphael Warnock. The current secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, is also a Boulé member.

There are currently 142 member chapters in Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

The first international Boulé was formed in Liberia. However, that Boulé was disbanded after its members were killed during the civil war in that country.

Between 1994 and 2012, The Bahamas’ Delta Lambda Boulé was the only Boulé situated outside the US.

On May 3, 2012, another international Boulé, Epsilon Xi, was formed in London, England.

Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity is presently led by Grand Sire Archon (International President) Dwayne Murray.

History of Delta
Lambda Boulé

It was February 5, 1994, 90 years after Sigma Pi Phi’s formation, that a group of Bahamian men took the bold step of forming Delta Lambda Boulé.

The Bahamian founding members included chartered accountants William Wallace, Philip Galanis, and L. Edgar Moxey; engineers, the late George Cox and W. Carver Grant; physicians Judson Eneas, and Patrick Roberts (both deceased), and Dr. Barry Russell; insurance executives Alpheus Finlayson and Philip Russell (deceased); hotelier Robert “Sandy” Sands; businessmen Roston Miller and Cornell Mortimer; architect Patrick Rahming; engineer W. Carver Grant; and Archdeacon William Thompson (deceased).

The current members of Delta Lambda Boulé are Drs. Timothy Barrett, Harold Munnings, Barry Russell, Michael N’Tari Darville, Ricardo Crawford, Wesley Francis, E. Marcus Cooper and Beverton Moxey; chartered accountants Philip Galanis, Philip Stubbs, L. Edgar Moxey, Paul Andy Gomez, Sir Franklyn Wilson, Raymond Winder, Antoine Bastian, Frank Smith, and Lamon Stubbs; businessmen Robert “Sandy” Sands, Alpheus Finlayson, Tyrone McKenzie, Anthony Robinson, Livingston Marshall, Brian Jones, Charles Sealy, Keith Davies and Godfrey Eneas; bankers James Smith and Gregory Stuart; architects Patrick Rahming and Michael Diggiss; attorneys Prime Minister Philip Davis, Sidney Collie, Chief Justice Ian Winder and Jerome Fitzgerald; educator Dr. Rodney Smith; and former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes.

Much has happened since the founding of Delta Lambda Boulé, including the hosting of a public address by esteemed neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, the hosting of an educational seminar with The Harlem Children’s Zone founder Geoffrey Canada, and a private lecture by Jamaican Pan-Africanist Dudley Thompson (deceased).

Delta Lambda Boulé has also been integrally involved with the Gentlemen’s Club, for which it received an award from Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity at its international convention in Detroit in 2006.

Delta Lambda Boulé has been actively involved in The Bahamas and has followed in the tradition of the progressive movement in the US, which included W.E.B. Dubois, whose grandfather was born and resided in Long Cay, Bahamas, and James Weldon Johnson, the author of the Negro national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, whose parents emigrated from The Bahamas.

Delta Lambda Boulé is presently led by Sire Archon (President) Timothy Barrett.

The Gentlemen’s Club

In October 1991, Marcheta Eneas, along with Dr. Barry and Missy Russell, convened a group of professional men and women in her home and organized the first Bahamas Beautillion Committee (the committee), the male complement of a cotillion.

In today’s society, cotillions are a familiar method of fundraising to present scholarships to deserving young ladies.

The news of the increasing crime statistics and the negative press on men in The Bahamas illustrated the need for positive programs to further develop the young men of our society.

To meet that need, the committee met and planned the production of the First Bahamas Beautillion Ball.

After it was chartered as a member Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity on February 5, 1994, the Delta Lambda Boulé promptly adopted The Gentlemen’s Club as its social action program.

In 2008, the Nassau Chapter of the Links, Inc. joined the Bahamas Beautillion Committee as co-sponsors of the Gentlemen’s Club art and talent competition.

To date, approximately 6,000 Bahamian high school males have passed through the Gentlemen’s Club since its inception.

Graduating from the program makes a young man eligible for one of the more than $5 million in scholarships that have been awarded to University of The Bahamas, Fisk University, Morehouse College, and Saint John’s University in Minnesota.

Many of the graduates of the Gentlemen’s Club have attended various other universities and colleges in the US, the United Kingdom, Canada, as well as the University of the West Indies. These young men have since gone on to become distinguished citizens in our community.

Three graduates of the Gentlemen’s Club are current Archons of Delta Lambda Boulé – Brian Jones, Dr. Beverton Moxey and Lamon Stubbs.

Today, the Gentlemen’s Club is now led by former “Gent”, Lamon Stubbs, and his Archousa, Krysty.

Conclusion

The next two weeks will mark an important milestone for Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Delta Lambda Boulé as thousands of international members and their families visit our shores for this historical event.

Next week, we will review some of the important and inspiring activities that our members will attend and the globally and personally significant contributions that will be made to both the international attendees and members of the Delta Lambda Boulé during the Grand Boulé in Nassau, Bahamas.

• Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Bahamas, Advisors and Chartered Accountants. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com

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