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500 Omega Psy Phi fraternity members arrive to cheers
Omega Psy Phi members arrive at the opening ceremony. (Michael Ruane/The Washington Post)
Omega Psy Phi members arrive at the opening ceremony. (Michael Ruane/The Washington Post)

People clapped when the 500 members of the Omega Psy Phi fraternity, wearing dark suits and purple ties, showed up.

They filed onto the Washington Monument grounds at approximately 8 a.m., several holding up a sign the read “the Qs are here,” referring to the Omega symbol.

“Hold that sign up,” a bystander yelled.

A woman paused to snap a picture, saying out loud, “I have to send this to my husband.”

The men chanted, “Omega, Omega, Omega, mega, mega,” as they walked. “Omega Psy Phi. Whoa, oh, oh, oh.”

The fraternity was founded at Howard University in 1911, and has thousands of members nationwide.

“This is tremendously significant in my life and the lives of most of the African Americans here,” said fraternity member Kenneth Rodgers.”We are very proud of our Heritage, our culture and this is an opportunity for us to be on full display for the world to see.”

“After all these years, this is a tremendous opportunity for us to really to pay tribute to those who have gone before us, those ancestors that laid the foundation for a history, Paved the way for us, this generation,” he said.

Fraternity member Conrado B. Morgan said: “200 plus years, 400 plus years, slavery, Jim Crow laws, from segregation to civil rights. As I told my son when I left home this morning,  ‘I’m going out there to represent all those who went before us, and those who are going to be coming behind us.’ “

The African American Museum opens

Complete coverage from The National Mall, from the early risers to the public’s first impression of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, with all of the opening ceremony’s speeches (8!) in between.