educator, writer, speaker, devoted family man, amateur philosopher, chess enthusiast, basketball junkie, connoisseur of fine hip hop, and purveyor of wit and wisdom
Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship Incorporated is one of the (if not THE) largest non-Greek social fellowships in the country. The purposes of Groove Phi Groove are to promote academic awareness and achievement, to promote ethical standards, creative leadership, and unity among Black men, and to discover effective ways to alleviate social problems in our communities.
The fellowship was founded on this day, October 12, back in 1962 by fourteen daring and forward thinking Black men from Morgan State College (now Morgan State University). In the midst of all the social change happening in America during the 1960s, these brothers sought to create a social fraternal organization that stood apart from the Black Greek-lettered fraternities already in existence.
Here are some words taken from the fellowship’s website on the meaning behind Groove Phi Groove’s name:
What does the word GROOVE mean? During the 1960s, the word “groove” was popular among young blacks. Webster’s Dictionary defines the verb “groove” as “to perform deftly or smoothly.” As a noun, “groove” is defined as a “fixed routine in the affairs of life.” Hence, to go against the “groove” means to work against the current establishment, and “grooving” is associated with “socializing or fellowshipping.” These combined definitions form the essence of Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc.
What does the word PHI mean? In “Secrets of the Great Pyramid” by Peter Tompkins, the Khemit people of ancient Egypt created “phi” as a symbol of the creative function of the male reproductive system and, more loosely, as “reproduction in endless series,” which is a symbolic representation of “the fire of life.” Our Fellowship has incorporated this symbol of fertility into its name to stand for our continual growth and development. Our “phi” symbol should not be confused with the Greek one. They look the same but have very different meanings.
The idea was to shed light on the fact that traditional Black Greek fraternities ignorantly based their names and rituals on a Greek culture that did nothing but take from the people of ancient Egypt. (For more information on this piece of ancient history, I highly recommend a book called Stolen Legacy written by George G. M. James.)
Today, Groove Phi Groove has undergraduate chapters on college campuses nationwide as well as graduate chapters in several of the country’s major cities. Most of the work that the fellowship supports focuses on raising money for college scholarships through The Groove Fund, as well as mentoring and developing young Black high school males through the Groove Leadership Academy. Individual chapters also run community service projects that support a wide variety of causes.
Today (October 12) is the 50th Anniversary of Groove Phi Groove, and I’m here celebrating at the national Conclave in Baltimore, Maryland. For tomorrow’s Morgan State University homecoming, Groove Fellowmen from all over the world will descend upon the campus to celebrate at the location that gave birth to the fellowship.
Below are a few photos, old and new, of Fellowmen groovin’ throughout time. (The first pic is of me standing with Groove Fellowmen and NBA legendary hall of famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe).