“If you know anything about historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), then you know that the Divine Nine are interwoven into the fibers of those institutions. Interestingly, what you may not know is that many got their start at universities that were not even HBCUs. This is both surprising and awesome to learn. From their inception, this prestigious group of fraternities and sororities sought to create a legacy of black excellence in education and community. Collectively, the Divine Nine’s commitment to the support and advancement of black scholars is ever-present and has been integral in solidifying their place in black history.
The Organizations of The Divine Nine
The fraternities of the Divine Nine are Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, and Iota Phi Theta. The Divine Nine also includes the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho sororities. Together, these nine Greek Letter organizations comprise the National Pan Hellenic Council. The Divine Nine now has a national and international reach. The Divine Nine have a presence on most university campuses within the United States. Additionally, there are many youth development groups and post-graduate opportunities for involvement in these illustrious organizations.
A Guide To The Divine Nine
The Divine Nine represent a living history of the black collegiate experience. Here is your guide to these impressive organizations.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was the first Black Greek Letter organization. They are referred to as the “Alphas”, and their motto is “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All”. Alpha Phi Alpha was founded on the campus of Cornell University in 1906. Their Greek Letters are ΑΦΑ and their colors are black and “old gold”.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, whose Greek letters are ΚΑΨ, was founded on the campus of Indiana University in 1911. Their official colors are Crimson and Cream. These brothers are known as “Kappas” or “Nupes”. Their fraternity motto is “Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor”.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was founded at Howard University in 1911. Their motto is “Friendship is Essential to the Soul”. They are referred to as the “Ques”. With colors of purple and gold, their Greek Letters are ΩΨΦ.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, whose brothers are referred to as the Sigmas, was founded in 1914 at Howard University. Their motto is “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity” and their Greek Letters are ΦΒΣ. The official colors of the Sigmas are Royal Blue and Pure White.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, with official colors of Charcoal Brown & Gilded Gold, was founded in 1963 at Morgan State University in Maryland. Their motto is “Building a Tradition, Not Resting Upon One!” Referred to as the “Iotas”, their Greek Letters are ΙΦΘ.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was the first Black Greek Letter sorority. Founded in 1908 at Howard University, their colors are Salmon Pink and Apple Green. Their Greek Letters are ΑΚΑ. Referred to as the “AKAs”, their motto is “By Culture and By Merit”.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority also started on the campus of Howard University in 1913. Their Greek Letters are ΔΣΘ and their official colors are Crimson and Cream. They are referred to as the “Deltas”. Their motto is “Intelligence is the Torch of Wisdom”.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was founded at Howard University in 1920. Referred to as the “Zetas”, their colors are Royal Blue and Pure White. Their motto is “A community-conscious, action-oriented organization”. Their Greek Letters are ΖΦΒ.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, whose Greek Letters are ΣΓΡ, was founded in 1922 at Butler University in Indiana. Their colors are Royal Blue and Gold. Known as “Lady Sigmas”, “Sigmas” or “SGRhos”, their motto is “Greater Service, Greater Progress”.