It was October 12th 1962, when 14 men at Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) solidified their vision of addressing education, leadership and social and economic issues in the black community, founded Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc. This was the beginning of a thriving movement that continues today, and boasts hundreds of chapters and approximately 40,000 members worldwide.
GPhiG will hold their 50th Annual Conclave October 10-14 at the Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn. More than 5,000 members along with family and friends are expected to gather, including the organization's Founders. As one of the youngest of the college-based black organizations,13 of its 14 members remain active with the Fellowship. Groove member, Vernon "Earl The Pearl" Monroe, will be the guest speaker during the Founders Luncheon & Scholarship Presentation on Thursday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m. Monroe played for the New York Knicks and in 1990, he was inducted into the NBA's Hall of Fame.
"This is a historic moment in the annals of our organization, and to celebrate it with our Founders makes it even more historical,"
"It's truly overwhelming when you can see the results of your vision from a half a century ago still alive and active in our brothers today," said Barry Hampton, one of the Founders and past president of Groove Phi Groove. "This anniversary represents a legacy of 50 years of service and dedication to the community. We're young, but through our many chapters, we have become a major force when it comes to outreach, making a significant difference in the lives of others, and in ourselves."
This year's theme, "Celebrating The Past...While Charting the Future" is in recognition of the Fellowship's 50 years of service to the community, but also to build on the past to create a stronger future. Charging its chapters with 'thinking globally and acting locally,' GPhiG continues to implement local programs that address worldwide needs in education, health and civic services. Their signature program, Groove Leadership Academy (GLA), helps young black men develop leadership and community service skills. During the 50th, GLA will sponsor students from various Baltimore high schools to participate in forums, with some students receiving scholarships during a special banquet.
Nationally through its Groove Phi Cares program, the Fellowship has embraced the fight against breast cancer and chapters throughout the United States are taking part in Susan G. Koman “Race for the Cure” marches to eradicate breast cancer. Through its Groove Foundation, scholarships are awarded to qualified high school students who want to pursue a higher education.
Several GPhiG members have distinguished themselves as leaders in government, business, education, sports and literature. Noted members such as Henderson, who recently served as president of the Chicago Bar Association and is a partner in Henderson Adam, LLC, include Douglas Palmer, former mayor, Trenton, NJ; U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina; Donnie Shell, Pittsburgh Steelers; Sylvester "Junkyard Dog" Ritter, Green Bay Packers and pro wrestler; Kenneth Woods, executive chef for Sylvia’
Numerous activities will take place in Baltimore with members, family and friends encouraged to attend Morgan State University's homecoming on Saturday, October 16. GPhiG will emphasize its “Celebrating the Past...While Charting the Future" theme inviting the public to a voters education rally and a Prayer Breakfast.
"We are here to celebrate of strong history, but also to talk about our future," added Henderson. "We will focus on strategies to fulfill our obligation and purpose to provide opportunities that benefit the community, especially our young, African-American men."
To learn more about Groove Phi Groove and its 50th Annual Conclave, visit www.groovephigroove.org.