Philadelphia honors the legacy of Founder Dr. Oscar J. Cooper
by OPPF Editorial Staff - March 19, 2020
The Philadelphia City Council has approved renaming a street in honor of Founder Dr. Oscar James Cooper.
The resolution was approved on Feb. 13 and would transform the street, which is located on the 1600 to 1700 block of West Jefferson Street to ‘Dr. Oscar J. Cooper Way’ and honors the legacy of one of undergraduate students who founded the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Howard University in 1911.
“His legacy as one of the Fraternity’s four founders – representing hard work andservice to his brothers and the community lives on today,” according to the resolution that received overwhelming approval. Cooper is also being recognized to honor for his contributions in the Philadelphia medical community which spanned for more than 50 years.
“We are certainly pleased, honored and proud with the actions of the Philadelphia City Council and especially the tireless and unselfish work of the members of Mu Omega for making this possible,” said Dr. David Marion, 41st Grand Basileus of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Mu Omega Chapter members, along with Sheila Simpson-Lewis the niece of Dr. Cooper, attended a city council to show their support for the resolution.
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1888, Cooper attended M Street High School and received an undergraduate degree in biology from Howard University in 1913 and then his medical degree from Howard’s School of Medicine in 1917.
As an undergraduate student at Howard in 1911, Cooper, along with his classmates Frank Coleman, Edgar A. Love, and their faculty advisor, Ernest E. Just founded the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He served as the fraternity’s second grand basileus.
The fraternity quickly flourished and grew beyond Howard University to other college campuses throughout the northeast and southern portions of the United States.
After graduating from medical school, Cooper moved north to Philadelphia, starting his own medical practice out of his home at 1621 West Jefferson Street.
Cooper later became a charter member Mu Chapter in 1920, an historic graduate chapter, located in Philadelphia. From 1920 to 1922 he served as the chapter’s first basileus. In 1923 Mu Chapter was rechartered with a new designation as Mu Omega Chapter.
Throughout his life, Cooper received numerous awards and recognitions for his work in the medical profession and society. He passed away in 1972.