The Importance of January 9, 1859 and January 9, 1914

What do Carrie Chapman Catt and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity have in common? Catt was born on January 9, 1859. On January 9, 1914, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., three African American students, A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse, and Charles I. Brown, founded Phi Beta Sigma.

I have written several posts about Carrie Chapman Catt, who when she was still Carrie Lane, became a member of the Iowa Gamma chapter of Pi Beta Phi at Iowa State University. One of my favorite pictures of her is one which was taken several years after her graduation from Iowa State. She taught school and served as a principal in Mason City, Iowa. In the picture taken during those years, she is wearing her arrow badge. Here are a few links to the previous posts (

Carrie C. Lane is first on the chapter roll for the Spring 1880 term.

Carrie C. Lane is first on the chapter roll for the Spring 1880 term.

Last year, Phi Beta Sigma celebrated its centennial. One of the events which took place during that year happened in St. Louis at the Griot Museum of Black History.  The Fraternity’s International President, Jonathan Mason, placed a Phi Beta Sigma pin on the museum’s wax likeness of George Washington Carver.

gwcarverstamp-1 In 1918, Carver was a charter member of the fraternity’s Gamma Sigma Alumni chapter at the Tuskegee Institute. President Harry S Truman signed a joint resolution approved December 28, 1945 (Public Law 290, 79th Congress); in the resolution, Congress designated January 5, 1946 as George Washington Carver Day. Although I’m four days late for Carver Day, I can assure you that the Becque household ate peanut butter in his honor.

Carver once said, “It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.” I believe these are great words by which to live.

© Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

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