If you are a young Black man or woman wanting to join Greek life, you might have heard of the Divine Nine. You may also not have heard of the Divine Nine but are wondering if there are any historically black social service fraternities or sororities you can join. In commemoration of Black History Month, it’s worth covering the relevant information about these Greek life organizations. That way, you can appreciate African American history and culture more and gain a deeper gratitude for black culture and heritage.
What is the Divine Nine? The Divine Nine, also formally known as the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), is a council consisting of nine historically Black sororities and fraternities.
Therefore, if you are looking for a place to feel at home on your university campus, you might find that joining one of the Divine Nine chapters is the way to go. However, you’ll likely also want to know which chapters are a part of the Divine Nine and the council’s goals. Before diving into that, you’ll also want a picture of the history of how it was formed. Keep reading to learn all about the Divine Nine.
A Brief History of the Divine Nine
If you’re looking to join one of these Black Greek letter organizations, you’ll likely want to know a bit about the history of how the NPHC was formed. The National Pan-Hellenic Council was officially founded at Howard University on May 10, 1930, in Washington, D.C.
However, it all began with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity’s founding in 1906 by seven Cornell University students. These seven students wanted to create an organization to combat their isolation at a predominantly white Ivy League university. More importantly, they also used their resources to fight against Jim Crow Laws and customs. Additionally, they helped mobilize large-scale voter registration movements and motivated youth to stay in school.
Furthermore, in the 1960s, the NPHC groups became key supporters of the civil rights organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). These are just a few mentioned contributions these groups have ushered towards racial integration and racial equality in the United States.
Overall, the council has over 1.5 million members worldwide and growing.
What Organizations Comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council?
Of course, if you are looking to join the Divine Nine, you’ll want to know which organizations compromise the council. The nine fraternities and sororities that comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council are:
- Alpha Kappa Alpha
- Alpha Phi Alpha
- Kappa Alpha Psi
- Omega Psi Phi
- Delta Sigma Theta
- Zeta Phi Beta
- Phi Beta Sigma
- Iota Phi Theta
- Sigma Gamma Rho.
For exact dates on when each organization was founded, click here.
Each chapter determines its own program agenda and strategic direction. Noteworthy is that if you plan to join Greek life and traditional Greek housing important to you, this type of housing is usually rare with NPHC chapters.
What Are the Goals of the Divine Nine?
What’s great about the Divine Nine is the goals it has for its members. Ultimately, the goal is to promote member unity and address mutual interest issues to those a part of these chapters. The National Pan-Hellenic Council also has national programs that member organizations are encouraged to support, like Kappa Alpha Psi’s Habitat for Humanity and Alpha Phi Alpha’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation.
Unlike most other sororities and fraternities, the Divine Nine maintains graduate chapters. Therefore, you can continue the public service work that you start during your undergraduate years. When joining the Divine Nine, you’ll also find strong cooperation between graduate and undergraduate chapters meant to build community. Ultimately, the vision is to continue to promote African American educational progress, political unity, and cultural uplift.
What Are Some Famous Members of the Divine Nine?
Members of the Divine Nine include historical and current individuals who have shaped our society today. Those great leaders include anti-slavery leader Fredrick Douglas, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, scientist and inventor Dr. George Washington Carver, exceptionally talented sports players like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, elite jazz artists like Duke Ellington, and comedians like Steve Harvey, Cedric ‘The Entertainer’ Kyles, and Terrance Carson.
And those are just the members of the fraternities.
Leaders and advocates in Divine Nine sorority organizations are equally numbered and significant contributors to our society and history. Actresses and artists such as Jada Pickett Smith, Wanda Sykes, Angela Basset, Aretha Franklin, and Alicia Keys, civil right leaders such as Mary McLeod Bethune, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Pat Spencer, and Autherine Lucy Foster, and leaders in business, law, and science such as Mary T. Washington Wylie, Dr. Rachel Hill Townsend, Honorable Ann Claire Williams, and Eleanor Roosevelt all comprise these rich and historied organizations.
Now you know everything you need to know about the Divine Nine. Ultimately, if you are looking to joining a Black Greek letter organization, you’ve got options. Finding a place on campus where you feel safe and can fit in is crucial to making your four years, and sometimes more, even better than they’ll already be. While traditional Greek housing might not be in the cards, having a place where you can be a part of something larger than yourself to advocate for and potentially lead progress in the African American community is invaluable.