Fraternities & Sororities
Joining a black fraternity or sorority can enable you to learn valuable leadership skills, make life-long friends, and networking affiliations. With some fraternity and sorority houses dating back over a century, black fraternities and sororities members are judges, lawyers, doctors, engineers, educators, members of Congress, and CEOs. Six of the nine Black fraternities and sororities were founded on HBCU campuses during a historically significant time when students were looking for a means of expressing community, civic, and political activism in an organized means to address racism and sexism at the turn of the twentieth century. While some of the organizations were based on the more traditional, social aspects of belonging to such groups, for the most part, members are socially conscious, community-oriented individuals who pledge a commitment to their organization's tenets. These fraternities and sororities include:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity. Six of the nine were founded on HBCU campuses.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
Founded 1906, Cornell University
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Founded 1908, Howard University
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
Founded 1911, Indiana University
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Founded 1911, Howard University
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Founded 1913, Howard University
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity
Founded 1914, Howard University
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
Founded 1920, Howard University
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority
Founded 1922, Butler University
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity
Founded 1963, Morgan State University
The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collaborative organization of historically African American and international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. Although the nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine." The member/partner organizations have not formally adopted nor recommended the use of this term to describe their collaborative grouping. The NPHC was formed as a permanent organization on May 10, 1930, on the campus of Howard University, in Washington, D.C. NPHC was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois in 1937 and headquartered in Decatur, Georgia.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated (ΑΦΑ) is the first historically African American intercollegiate Greek-lettered fraternity. It was initially a literary and social studies club organized in the 1905–1906 school year at Cornell University but later evolved into a fraternity with a founding date of December 4, 1906, at Cornell. It employs an icon from Ancient Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza, as its symbol. Its aims are "Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love For All Mankind," and its motto is "First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All." The preamble states the purpose of Alpha Phi Alpha: To promote a more perfect union among college men; to aid in and insist upon the personal progress of its members; to further brotherly love and a fraternal spirit within the organization; to discountenance evil; to destroy all prejudices; to preserve the sanctity of the home, the personification of virtue and the chastity of woman.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated (ΚΑΨ) is a historically African-American intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity. Since the fraternity's founding on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington. The fraternity was founded as Kappa Alpha Nu on the night of January 5, 1911, by ten African-American college students. The decision upon the name Kappa Alpha Nu may have been to honor the Alpha Kappa Nu club which began in 1903 on the Indiana University campus but had too few registrants to effect continued operation. The organization known today as Kappa Alpha Psi was nationally incorporated under the name of Kappa Alpha Nu on May 15, 1911. The name of the organization was changed to its current name in 1915, shortly after its creation. During this time there were very few African-American students at the majority white campus at Bloomington, Indiana and they were a small minority due to the era of the Jim Crow laws.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated (ΩΨΦ) is an intercollegiate, historically African American Greek-letter fraternity. The organization has over 750 undergraduate and graduate chapters. The fraternity was founded on November 17, 1911 by three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar J. Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi is the first predominantly African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university. Since its founding in 1911, Omega Psi Phi's stated purpose has been "to attract and build a strong and effective force of Handsome men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift".
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (ΑΚΑ) is the first historically African American Greek-lettered sorority for college-educated women. The organization was founded on five basic tenets: To cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of 'Service to All Mankind'. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at the historically black Howard University in Washington, D.C., by a group of sixteen students led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. Forming a sorority broke barriers for African-American women in areas where they had little power or authority due to a lack of opportunities for minorities and women in the early 20th century. Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (ΔΣΘ) is a historically African American Greek-lettered sorority. The organization was founded by college-educated women dedicated to public service with an emphasis on programs that target the African American community. Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913, by twenty-two women at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated (ΖΦΒ) is an international, historically African American Greek-lettered sorority. In 1920, five women from Howard University envisioned a sorority that would raise the consciousness of their people, encourage the highest standards of scholastic achievement, and foster a greater sense of unity among its members. These women believed that sorority elitism and socializing overshadowed the real mission for progressive organizations. Since its founding Zeta Phi Beta has historically focused on addressing social causes. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c) and is the third largest predominately African-American sorority.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated (ΦΒΣ) is an intercollegiate, historically African-American Greek letter fraternity. It was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students with nine other Howard students as charter members. The fraternity's founders, Abram Langston Taylor, Leonard Frances Morse, and Charles Ignatius Brown, wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would exemplify the ideals of Brotherhood, Scholarship and Service while taking an inclusive perspective to serve the community as opposed to having an exclusive purpose. The fraternity exceeded the prevailing models of Black Greek-Letter fraternal organizations by being the first to establish alumni chapters, youth mentoring clubs, a federal credit union, chapters in Africa and a collegiate chapter outside of the United States. It is the only fraternity to hold a constitutional bond with a historically African-American sorority, Zeta Phi Beta (ΖΦΒ), which was founded on January 16, 1920 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., through the efforts of members of Phi Beta Sigma.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated (ΣΓΡ) is a historically African American Greek lettered sorority. ΣΓΡ was founded on November 12, 1922, at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana by seven young educators. It was incorporated within the state of Indiana in December 1922 and became a national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to the Alpha chapter. The sorority is a non-profit whose aim is to enhance the quality of life within the community. Public service, leadership development and the education of youth are the hallmark of the organization's programs and activities. Founded in the midst of segregation, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is the only sorority of the four historically African-American sororities which comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) established at a predominantly white campus.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated (ΙΦΘ) is a historically African-American, intercollegiate Greek letter fraternity. It was founded on September 19, 1963, at Morgan State University (then Morgan State College) in Baltimore, Maryland. The fraternity was founded by 12 men (giving the organization the distinction of having more founders than any other NPHC fraternity) — Albert Hicks, Lonnie Spruill Jr., Charles Briscoe, Frank Coakley, John Slade, Barron Willis, Webster Lewis, Charles Brown, Louis Hudnell, Charles Gregory, Elias Dorsey Jr. and Michael Williams — during the Civil Rights Movement.