THE DIVINE NINE
TRADITION - EXCELLENCE - SERVICE
THE HISTORY OF THE
1. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - 1906 Cornell University
2. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. - 1908 Howard University
3. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - 1911 Indiana University
4. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - 1911 Howard University
5. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - 1913 Howard University
6. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. - 1914 Howard University
7. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. - 1920 Howard University
8. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. - 1922 Butler University
9. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. - 1963 Morgan State University
The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated (NPHC) is
currently composed of nine (9) International Greek letter
Sororities and Fraternities:
MISSION OF NPHC, INC.
“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.” - 1930
GROWTH OF NPHC
Post World War I
• Undergraduate chapters of NPHC affiliate organizations began
to spread to major research universities admitting Blacks and
to major historically Black colleges in the South.
Post World War II
• Many cultural traditions which differed markedly from
historically white college traditions became refined and
embedded within the African American tradition and culture
(e.g., "lining" and public skits on campus as a part of
Post Civil Rights Act 1964
• Many colleges and universities which had previously
denied admittance to African Americans or which had
small enrollments grew in their enrollment of African
Americans and established chapters on their campuses.
Not motivated by a “separatist”
NPHC organizations are “service based organizations,” as
opposed to organizations that may be strictly social in nature.
NPHC, Inc. does not advocate a disassociation from NIC, NPC, or
NALFO organizations on college campuses.
WHY THE TRADITION
NPHC orgs offer insight and a unique
perspective into this understanding and the
development of Black socioeconomic and
Racial isolation on predominantly white
campuses and social barriers of class on
all campuses created a need for African
Americans to align themselves with other
individuals sharing common goals and
Mark S. Tillman
Since its founding on December 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first
intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, has
supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African-Americans and people of
color around the world. Alpha Phi Alpha was founded by seven college men,
known as the “Jewels”, who recognized the need for a strong bond of
Brotherhood among African descendants in this country.
The Fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students
who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. The
Fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha's principles
of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.
ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY, INC.
Carolyn House Stewart
In 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority became America's first Greek-letter
organization established by Black college women. Her roots date back to Howard
University, Washington, D.C., where the idea for formation was conceived by
Ethel Hedgeman Lyle of St. Louis, Missouri. She viewed the Sorority as an
instrument for enriching the social and intellectual aspects of college life by
providing mental stimulation through interaction with friends and associates.
Through the years, however, Alpha Kappa Alpha's function has become more
complex. After her incorporation as a perpetual body in 1913, Alpha Kappa Alpha
gradually branched out and became the channel through which selected college-
trained women improved the socioeconomic conditions in their city, state, nation,
and the world.
ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY,
William “Randy” Bates, Jr., Esq.
Kappa Alpha Psi is the crystallization of a dream. A vision that enabled them on
the night of January 5, 1911, at the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington,
Indiana, to sow the seed of a fraternal tree whose fruit is available to, and now
enjoyed by, college men everywhere, regardless of their color, religion or
It is a fact of which KAPPA ALPHA PSI is justly proud that the Constitution has
never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of
a man from membership merely because of his color, creed, or national origin.
The Constitution of KAPPA ALPHA PSI is predicated upon, and dedicated to, the
principles of achievement through a truly democratic Fraternity.
KAPPA ALPHA PSI FRATERNITY,
Dr. Andrew Ray
On Friday evening, November 17, 1911, three Howard University
undergraduate students, with the assistance of their faculty adviser, gave birth
to the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. This event occurred in the office of biology
Professor Ernest E. Just, the faculty adviser, in the Science Hall (now known
as Thirkield Hall). The three liberal arts students were Edgar A. Love, Oscar
J. Cooper and Frank Coleman. From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning
"friendship is essential to the soul," the name Omega Psi Phi was derived. The
phrase was selected as the motto. Manhood, scholarship, perseverance and
uplift were adopted as cardinal principles. A decision was made regarding the
design for the pin and emblem, and thus ended the first meeting of the Omega
Psi Phi Fraternity .
OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC.
DR. PAULETTE C. WALKER
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 by twenty-two
collegiate women at Howard University. These students wanted to use their
collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance
to persons in need. The first public act performed by the Delta Founders
involved their participation in the Women's Suffrage March in Washington D.C.,
March 1913. Delta Sigma Theta was incorporated in 1930.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose
is to provide services and programs to promote human welfare.
DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY, INC.
Jonathan Mason Sr.
From its inception, the founders deeply wished to create an organization that
viewed itself as "a part of" the general community rather than "apart from" the
The Founders also conceived Phi Beta Sigma as a mechanism to deliver
services to the general community. Rather than gaining skills to be utilized
exclusively for themselves and their immediate families, the founders of Phi
Beta Sigma held a deep conviction that they should return their newly
acquired skills to the communities from which they had come. This deep
conviction was mirrored in the Fraternity's motto, "Culture For Service and
Service For Humanity".
PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY, INC.
Mary Breaux Wright
International Grand Basileus
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was founded on the simple belief that sorority elitism and
socializing should not overshadow the real mission for progressive organizations -
to address societal mores, ills, prejudices, poverty, and health concerns of the day.
The Five Pearls, dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for black women and
sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts of Scholarship,
Service, Sisterly Love and Finer Womanhood. It was the ideal of the Founders that
the Sorority would reach college women in all parts of the country who were sorority
minded and desired to follow the founding principles of the organization. Founder
Viola Tyler was oft quoted to say "[In the ideal collegiate situation] there is a
Zeta in a girl regardless of race, creed, or color, who has high standards and
principles, a good scholarly average and an active interest in all things that
she undertakes to accomplish."
ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY, INC.
Bonita M. Herring
International Grand Basileus
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority's aim is to enhance the quality of life within the
community. Public service, leadership development and education of youth are
the hallmark of the organization's programs and activities. Sigma Gamma Rho
addresses concerns that impact society educationally, civically, and economically.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922 in
Indianapolis, Indiana by seven school teachers. Soaring To Greater Heights Of
Attainment Around The World, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., as a leading
national service organization, has met the challenges of the day and continues to
grow through Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service .
SIGMA GAMMA RHO SORORITY,
International Grand Polaris
On September 19, 1963, at Morgan State College (now Morgan State
University), 12 students founded what is now the nation's fifth largest,
predominately African-American social service fraternity: The Iota Phi Theta
The founders of Iota Phi Theta had a slightly different perspective than the
norm for college students. It was “Non-Traditional” perspective from which they
established the Fraternity's purpose, "The development and perpetuation of
Scholarship, Leadership, Citizenship, Fidelity, and Brotherhood among Men."
Additionally, they conceived the Fraternity's motto, "Building a Tradition, Not
Resting Upon One!"
IOTA PHI THETA FRATERNITY,
THE TRUTH ABOUT GREEK LIFE
There are pros and cons to going Greek, so look around to
see if becoming a member fits your ideal college experience.
If you've ever seen a movie about college, “School Daze” or
“Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama” (It's a real
movie), some of the popular images of Greek life are true;
some are pretty far off the mark!
Although each fraternity and sorority is different, they
emphasize academic achievement, community service, and
career development. By participating in a Greek organization
you will develop - leadership, organizing, fundraising, and
(buzzword alert) TEAMWORK -- all things that come in handy
when it's time to find a job.