What do Kamala Harris and Phylicia Rashad have in common? They are a part of the Divine Nine;’ Historically Black sororities and fraternities that make up the Pan-Hellenic council incorporation in the twentieth century. These sororities and fraternities include: ‘Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc! Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc! Omega Psi Phi Fraternity,Inc! Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc !, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc! Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc,! Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc, ! Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc! .The Black Greek Letter Organizations came about because Black students were often ostracized or banned from joining white clubs and organizations on campus. Founders of these sororities and fraternities recognized the importance of education in the Black community as it became a crucial tool used to combat racial inequality. These organizations became not only a safe space for Black students on campus, but encouraged leadership, and created an extensive network amongst themselves and their local communities.
Members of the Divine Nine often developed skills such as selflessness which make them excellent leaders. Each sorority and fraternity has service as a pillar, or motto, and members strive to achieve this through community activism. They become activists through their philanthropic work, often volunteering time and money to local communities in need. Another leadership skill developed while being a part of a Divine Nine is teamwork. Working alongside fellow members on projects and organizing community events prompts team building. Volunteering and engaging foster a sense of community not only amongst the members but with the local community; members make themselves known as reliable leaders in this way. Members often become mentors to other children in their local community to build a sense of academic integrity for the upcoming generations. Students who can put others before themselves, work well with their peers and participate in organizing activities to create lifelong leadership skills future employers’ desire.
Black Greek Letter Organizations involvement with one’s sororities and fraternities does not stop once you graduate, it is a lifelong community. Through this philosophy Divine Nine organizations have built-in networking. Initially members in the early twentieth century utilized this tool to help other members get jobs as it has hard for African Americans were often discriminated against baring access to jobs. Today being a part of these organizations helps you get recognition from other members and mentors within the same field willing to give a helping hand. This is a great resource to tap into and could have the potential to launch your career after graduation. Once members graduate, support continues to flow from other members, helping to connect them to employment and business opportunities.
Some notable members who have made significant contributions to the Black community include: Carter G. Woodson, the scholar dedicated to celebrating Black history, eventually gave way to Black History Month, a member of Omega Psi Phi, Inc. Business innovators such as Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). Lisa Price founder of Carol’s Daughter hair products, a member of Sigma Gamma Ro, Inc. MSNBC national correspondent and journalist Joy Ann Reid, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Writer and folklorist of the Harlem Renaissance Zora Neal Hurston, a member of Zeta Phi Beta, Inc.
If you want to learn more about historically Black Greek Letter Organizations, check out UConn local chapter of historical Black sororities and fraternities on campus;’ Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and in the works is Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA).