The Divine 9: Sororities and Fraternities on HBCU Campuses
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (N.P.H.C.), a leading association representing African-American fraternities and sororities, has existed since 1930. To assist black college students who were looking for a voice, a community, and a common identity while they pursued their education, the N.P.H.C. was established at Howard University. The N.P.H.C. was instrumental in bringing black college students together as they campaigned for equal rights and fair treatment under the law, and it still does so now as young people commemorate the past, present, and ideals of their Greek organizations. These Greek groups collectively go by the name “The Divine Nine,” and the N.P.H.C. now consists of nine members.
The Divine 9 Black Greek Letter Organizations:
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (AKA)
At Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha was established in 1908 to inspire its members to strive for the best standards of academic excellence, community service, and friendship. AKA has 105,000 chapters and 290,000 sorority members, making it the oldest of the original N.P.H.C. Greek organizations. The sixteen women who founded AKA in Washington, D.C., never dreamed that their group would go on to play a significant role in collegiate culture in countries like Japan, Germany, the Virgin Islands, and hundreds of other campuses around the country.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. (AΦA)
Founded in 1906 at Cornell University in New York, Alpha Phi Alpha is a fraternity. A.A. is the first black intercollegiate Greek fraternity in the country and is more than just a Divine Nine member. Civil rights luminaries like Martin Luther King, Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois were proud members of the fraternity, and its members have campaigned for social justice and civil rights during segregation, apartheid, the AIDS epidemic, and several wars. A.A. now has 730 chapters and 290,000 members across the globe, and the Greek organization still supports causes like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Project Alpha, and Head Start.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (KAΨ)
The fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi was established in 1911 at Indiana University and became a member of N.P.H.C. in 1930. K.A. has always been an inclusive fraternity that welcomes members of all colors and nationalities, even though it was first created as a largely African-American Greek organization. The United Negro College Fund and Habitat for Humanity are only two examples of charities that members of K.A. support in keeping with the organization’s mission, “success in every sphere of human effort.” The Kappa Kane and “cane stepping” have been the fraternity’s most enduring traditions since the 1950s. K.A. is also well-known for its step performances.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (ΔΣΘ)
The sorority Delta Sigma Theta was established in 1913 at Howard University and has been actively engaged in the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements ever since. Participated in the Women’s Suffrage March on March 3, 1913, and is now a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) (N.C.N.W.). Participates in charity causes, such as World Aids Day and the Go Red For Women Campaign. Loretta Lynch and Shirley Chisholm are notable members.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. (ΩΨΦ)
Manhood, education, persistence, and upliftment have been the guiding values of Omega Psi Phi since it was established in 1911 at Howard University. The first black fraternity to be established at an H.B.C.U. is known for its members’ contributions to business, politics, the arts, athletics, and education. The fraternity, which formerly included Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, now boasts more than 750 undergraduate and graduate chapters worldwide.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity (ΦBΣ)
To promote “brotherhood, scholarship, and service” among young African-American men, Phi Beta Sigma was established at Howard University in 1914. B is credited for founding several Greek customs, like alumni chapters, groups for mentoring young people, and fraternity credit unions. Members of B actively participate in initiatives like Project S.W.W.A.C. (Sigmas Waging War Against Cancer) and the Bigger and Better Business because they care about their education and their communities. The fraternity “B” has more than 200,000 members worldwide, spread over the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority (ZΦB)
In 1920, Zeta Phi Beta, a Phi Beta Sigma sister group, was established at Howard University. Z-B has consistently supported charitable organizations such as the National Educational Foundation and Z-H.O.P.E. (Zetas Helping Other People Excell). The sorority has more than 800 chapters throughout North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. In 1948, Z-B was the first Greek organization to establish an African branch. Famous Z-B members include Zora Neale Hurston, Minnie Riperton, and Anita Hill.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority (ΣΓΡ)
At Butler University, Sigma Gamma Rho was established in 1922. The organization’s members are heavily interested in local communities’ social issues. P participates in various initiatives, such as the National Marrow Donor Program, Buckle Up America, and A.C.T. Against Aids. Deshauna Barber, Miss U.S.A. 2016, and Joyce Carol Thomas are notable members.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity (ΙΦΘ)
At Morgan State University, Iota Phi Theta was established in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. The twelve guys who founded I were unconventional students who drew inspiration from the Black Panthers and civil rights activists like Malcolm X. became deeply engaged in social concerns, activism, and service, including the Baltimore, Maryland, boycott of a segregated retail center. More than 30,000 undergraduate students are a part of the fraternity’s chapters today, and Congressman Bobby Rush & Terrence T.C. Carson were also members.
In addition to the Divine 9, there are other more groups you might join in college, and each has its own identity and background. The student must study the goals and criteria for joining a certain group. Most fraternities and sororities look for applicants with leadership potential, moral integrity, and a strong academic record.