Archousa Sylvia Taylor, Archon James Taylor of Gamma Xi, Archon Fort, Archon Scott of Gamma Omicron with a group that visited the junior U.S. Senator Marco Rubio at the White House on June 26 while attending the Grand Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity in Washington.
BY JACQUELINE AND EARL COTMAN, Contributors
WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Extraordinary Men Called To Lead” was the general theme of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the Boule’s biennial meetings held last month in our nation’s capital. More than 2,200 participants were present to make the gathering the largest ever in the Grand Boule’s 112-year history.
United States Cabinet members were honored, including Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security and third generation Archon, Alexis Herman, former Secretary of Labor, former Attorney General Archon Eric Holder, Secretary of Transportation Archon Anthony Foxx and former Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Louis Sullivan. They also spoke briefly on their positions.
Smithsonian Institute Archivist John Hope Franklin, Jr., the son of the late Archon and Harvard graduated and historian, introduced posthumously Archon Robert C. Weaver, who is considered to be the first black person to serve as a cabinet member. Weaver was credited with helping to integrate the Military during WWII.
Others not present but among those honored were General Colin Powell, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Patricia Roberts Harris, posthumously.
The host Boules of Northern Virginia planned 67 events and activities throughout the week, a record number. A scholarship fundraiser headlined by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds oversold within days of its announcement.
The Archousai, the name given to the wives of the Archons, have privileges of participation in civic, educational, social and inspirational events. Their presences were appreciated at the Literary Luncheon with one author being the granddaughter of legendary entertainer Nat King Cole. She spoke emotionally about finding out that her birth mom was his daughter.
In attendance from St. Petersburg’s Gamma Omicron Member Boule were Sire Archon Kenyon Fort, Archousa Nathalia; former Sire Archon Cedric Thornton, Archousa Joyce and former Sire Archon Earl Cotman, Archousa Jacqueline. Archon Kevin Scott experienced being a part of a group accepting an invitation to the White House to meet with Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Archon George Banks and Archousa Odessa had to alter travel plans and were not able to attend.
Also, everyone was delighted to see Archousa Sylvia Johnson Taylor, the wife of newly elected Sire Archon of Sarasota’s Gamma XI Member Boule, James Taylor.
The conference held many content rich lectures, a boat ride on the Potomac River, an opening night reception at The National Portrait Gallery, a memorial service for deceased Archons and Archousai, a visit to Archousa Sheila Johnson’s wine and horse country estate in the heart of historic Middleburg and many other events.
The young adults, whose parents were participants, had their own conferences involving guest speakers, community service, and social networking activities.
The St. Petersburg member Boule Gamma Omicron was especially proud to celebrate its 30th Anniversary of sponsoring social and civic events in Tampa Bay. It was said upon chartering in June 1986 by Archon Butler Henderson of New York that they were the youngest group of men ever assembled within the fraternity. The fraternity was established as an honorary membership of learned men in Philadelphia in 1904.