Brief bio of Bro. Dr. David Reid, the oldest living Omega.
Introduction for Brother Dr. David H. Reid, Jr., recipient of Omega’s first 85-year membership recognition
November 3, 2012
When Bro. David H. Reid, Jr. (Upsilon, 1927) celebrated his 100th birthday on May 17, 2009, he was feted with a grand centennial birthday celebration. Among the many accolades received was a special purple and gold birthday card from the brotherhood, plus a Centennial Proclamation from Brother Warren G Lee, Jr., 38th Grand Basileus.
Brother David H. Reid, Jr., was born on May 17, 1909, in Raleigh, NC. Because there was no high school in Raleigh that African-Americans could attend, his parents enrolled him in a high school program at Shaw University, located in Raleigh. He graduated in 1926. It was during his high school years that he was first introduced to the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He enrolled in Wilberforce University of Ohio in September 1926, and already greatly impressed by the Omega Brotherhood, in the fall of that year he was inducted into the Lampados (pledge) Club.
A year later, on a cold and dreary day in mid-November 1927, he and his two line brothers were taken from the campus and blindfolded, walked the distance to a house where they were led down a staircase to the basement. To their surprise, they were led down a second staircase to a sub-basement with a dirt floor. It was there that the initiation rites of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity were administered. Brother Reid arose from his knees as a new, proud member of Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi. His Omega brand, though faded, is still identifiable on his chest. When Brother Reid returned to Raleigh for Thanksgiving that year, he was so proud of his Omega pin that he slept with it.
During the initiation, it was revealed that the sub-basement was a station on the Underground Railroad. The house was owned by “Mother Young,” wife of the deceased Omega Brother Colonel Charles Young, the highest ranking black officer (Lt. Colonel) in the United States Army until his death in 1922. The Colonel Charles Young house is a national historic landmark in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Brother Reid, and other chapter brothers, tutored young men in mathematics, science and English, many of whom later became Omegas. He recollects that there were not many members of the Fraternity at Wilberforce at that time. The academic and character standards of the Fraternity were so strict that few were eligible and even fewer were chosen.
Brother Reid graduated Wilberforce in 1930, and Howard University School of Medicine in 1935. He joined Alpha Omega Chapter in 1931 until 1935, and upon graduation returned to Raleigh, and passed his medical boards with the highest score ever recorded for the examination. There being no graduate chapter in Raleigh, he spent his time mentoring undergraduate brothers from Shaw and St. Augustine, encouraging them to be the best that they could be, emphasizing the importance of character and education.
In 1939, Brother Reid returned to Washington, DC, rejoined Alpha Omega and opened his medical practice. He served Alpha Omega in many capacities, including Keeper of Finance. He was always interested in the activities of Alpha Chapter at Howard and offered his assistance in any way possible. His son, Dr. David H. Reid, III, was initiated into Omega, through Alpha Chapter, on April 4, 1964. His lifelong companion and wife, Rachael, died in 1992.
As a word of advice to the younger Omega brothers, he said, “Remember the Cardinal Principles and the meaning of each of the Pearls. Walk tall, excel in education, yet be humble in the face of God.”
Brother Reid fondly remembers numerous Alpha Omega brothers: the Oliver brothers, John and Basil; Frank Page Bolden; Father H. Albion Farrell; and James Quander, founder of Les Jeunes Hommes, the Omega interest group. These are men with whom he developed special personal friendships. Not surprising, after all, “Friendship is essential to the Soul.”
Last edited by Wolfman; 03-05-2013 at 12:49 PM.