The Talent Hunt program of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is one of several national programs designed to identify and support the youth of our nation and world. Brother J. Alston Atkins of Winston Salem, NC, and Brother Dewey Duckett of Rock Hill, SC created the original idea. While the idea was conceived in 1945, the first District Talent Hunt program was held in the Sixth District in Charlotte, NC, on April 19, 1946. The need for such a program was born out of the unequal opportunity afforded to some American youths to develop and give full expression to their talents.

The success of the Talent Hunt program, especially in the Sixth District, from the standpoint of community interest and the scholarship assistant made available to the winners as a result of overwhelming public support, led to its adoption as one of the fraternity’s mandated programs. The Talent Hunt, as an international program, made its grand debut in 1953 when the Fraternity featured the winners of the local and district contest on a public program at the Grand Conclave in Cincinnati, OH.

The original statement of the Talent Hunt idea included this expression: “Creative and outstanding capacities in any honorable activity should be eligible for consideration.” In presenting the first public program, the displays of talent were limited to the field of music. Since that time, the Talent Hunt program has been expanded to include other forms of expressive arts.

The Talent Hunt idea has become one of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s international projects, with all graduate chapters mandated to conduct an Annual Talent Hunt Program. On the local and district levels, the project is competitive. At the international level, the program is a demonstration. The international program showcases district winners, who by their talent, diligence, ability, and potential appear as guests of the fraternity. At this stage of our growth, the Talent Hunt is proceeding on the international level along three lines:

1) At each session of the Grand Conclave and International Leadership Conference, a Talent Hunt demonstration is presented to the public.

2) In addition, Omega is also interested in what it calls a “Fundamental Search for Talent.” Here the Fraternity hopes to develop the process and resources through which it can help discover and provide assistance, as may be needed, to young people who have shown and possess talents of outstanding and exceptional quality. The field of interest will not be limited to music but all areas of the performing arts.

3) In our projected planning, we hope to further encourage the contestants on our Talent Hunt programs by recommending them to our chapters and other organizations throughout the United States and other countries for presentations in their respective communities. The Talent Hunt Program of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Talent Hunt has touched thousands of students, many of whom have gone on to make outstanding contributions to their communities and to our world. Many have earned scholarships, awards, and recognition through exposure from this program.

Contestants have appeared on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, at the Apollo Theater, Radio City Music Hall, Philadelphia Academy of Music, Philadelphia Civic Center, New York City, Washington, DC Centers for the Performing Arts, the Eastman Theater, etc.

The Talent Hunt Program has been extremely rewarding to the brotherhood of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and to many talented youths. We will continue to search for and support our gifted youth!