Black fraternities and sororities have a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Nine Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO) make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), also known as the Divine Nine. 

There are five fraternities and four sororities that comprise the NPHC. The legacy of BGLOs extends far beyond their role as social clubs. They also encompass their impact on Black history, education, and communities. 

The First Black Fraternity 

The Black Greek Letter Organizations first came to life when Black students were excluded from white fraternities and sororities. Alpha Phi Alpha, the first Black fraternity, was established in 1906 at Cornell University. 

Charles Cardoza Poindexter, a graduate student at Cornell, formed a literacy and social studies club that would later become Alpha Phi Alpha. From here, he laid the foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha. 

He then accepted a job at Hampton University before the official founding date of the fraternity. On December 4, 1906, the seven original founding members, collectively known as the Seven Jewels, made history. Finally, they created Alpha Phi Alpha. 

Greek life provides people with a unique opportunity to join a community and build bonds that last a lifetime. The founders of Alpha Phi Alpha understood that the pathway forward was together, through unity. Additionally, the Divine Nine helped promote academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement among Black students.

The Pivotal Role of Black Fraternities and Sororities in the Social Justice Movement

Black Greek Letter Organizations have been at the forefront of many Civil Rights and social justice movements. They’ve used their voice and influence to bring attention to the issues of racial inequality. Moreover, Black fraternities and sororities have long participated in protests and demonstrations. Most famously, students were involved in the March on Washington in 1963. They have also been highly involved in efforts to register Black voters and increase the Black community’s representation. 

For Black Americans, education has historically been crucial for maintaining freedom. But segregation laws didn’t stop Black students. BGLOs were involved in educating the Black community about their rights and the importance of civic engagement. They also worked to mobilize communities to take action on important issues. Even more, BGLOs have used their resources, networks, and leadership to advance the cause of racial equality and justice.

The Divine Nine

The Divine Nine have played a significant role in advancing Black education. Black students receive scholarships, mentorship, and support. Finally, they promote higher education to uplift the Black community. 

So, what fraternities and sororities make up the Divine Nine? Here is a list of the nine Black Greek Letter Organizations and their founding dates. Students can consider pledging for the following BGLOs:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha, 1906
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1908
  • Kappa Alpha Psi, 1911
  • Omega Psi Phi, 1911
  • Delta Sigma Theta, 1913
  • Phi Beta Sigma, 1914
  • Zeta Phi Beta, 1920
  • Sigma Gamma Rho, 1922
  • Iota Phi Theta, 1963

These nine organizations offer opportunities for members to network, develop leadership skills and engage in community service. To find out more information on The Divine Nine, click here.

Continue the Legacy

The legacy of BGLOs is one of excellence, leadership, and community. They have played a pivotal role in shaping Black history, promoting education, and advocating for social justice. Not only this, but BGLOs continue to serve as a source of support, inspiration, and empowerment for Black communities.
Pledging to a BGLO is a lifetime commitment. Here at GreekXperience, we understand the importance of service and upholding legacy. Join us today and learn how to carry on a tradition of over one hundred years.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *