Before the Civil Rights act of 1964, Black students were routinely limited in their options for colleges and fraternities. In 1906, the first of the Divine Nine appeared: Alpha Phi Alpha, of Cornell University. On December fourth, those seven college students in New York took action. Their goal was to create a stronger bond between Black Americans in their school. It rippled out throughout the rest of the world. 

On May 10th of 1930, Alpha Phi Alpha and eight other organizations united. They became the Divine Nine. This took a huge step forward with the founding of the National Pan-Hellenic council. Doing so ensured that these institutions would continue to exist. Regardless of what the members chose to do concerning their involvement. 

The NPHC is the governing body composed of the 9 historically Black Greek letter fraternities and sororities. Most of their individual histories began before 1922. The latest was in 1963 (Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Morgan State University). They have always served as a hub of education on Black history for students both on and off campus. 

Importance of the Divine Nine Greek Fraternities

Organizations associated with the Divine Nine have always made meaningful contributions to African-American and Black culture. Traditions are effectively upheld. This creates a rich history that speaks to us powerfully from a time when things were tense and divided. 

They function in schools today to provide inclusive communities for Black students as they navigate college life. The NPHC has always been proud to celebrate Black excellence. They’re happy to report that many of its members are among the most successful alumni at their respective schools. 

The Rest Is Divine Nine History: A Continental Influence

The mission statement on the purpose of the NPHC was decreed in 1930, as they officially came together. It was as follows. “Unanimity of thought and action as far as possible in the conduct of Greek-letter collegiate fraternities and sororities, and to consider problems of mutual interest to its member organizations.” 

The Divine Nine consistently involve themselves in meaningful endeavors. From developing strong character traits and leadership skills among members, to community outreach. This includes combatting racism all across the globe. There are over 600 chapters for Phi Beta Sigma throughout the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. 

Most of the sororities or fraternities have well over 100,000 participating members, and many of them have well over 200,000. All together, they are roughly four million strong. To create recognition with a true salute, universities across the country have chosen to establish gathering spaces. They are referred to as ‘plots.’ They’re there to symbolically and physically represent each of the organizations within the NPHC. Many of them were built not with the school’s money. These organizations exist as a result of several generous donors. And will continue to pop up on campuses for years to come.

Recognizing the Impact

It’s important to remember the cultural significance of the contributions these students make to the world at large. Essentially all of the Black collegiate sororities and fraternities make regular donations. Some of the organizations they donate to are ones like the NAACP and the United Negro College Fund. They provide civil rights support and educational funding. That’s on top of their routine contributions to their individual communities.

Members feel a life-long commitment to the organizations or chapters, and, in many cases, continue meeting for years to come. Seeking to participate in movements on and off campus, they are geared towards entrepreneurial advancement. Participation in local political processes, and the bestowing of strong role models upon the young Back community. This serves as an integral part of creating engagement and inclusion in the population of our young people. 

Want to Learn More

If you want to learn more about these frats and sororities, check out GreekXperience. You can search for any of the Greek letter organizations that have been a historic piece of the Divine Nine. As a result, you’ll find plenty of info to help you with navigating college life. This, along with great articles to educate you on how to join a sorority. You’ll find everything you need here. Give it a shot today and see what’s in store for your college experience!


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