The Divine Nine: Exploring the History and Significance of African American Fraternities and Sororities

The Divine Nine are a group of historically African-American collegiate Greek-letter fraternities and sororities. The nine organizations – five fraternities (Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Iota Phi Theta) and four sororities (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho) – have served as an integral part of the college experience for generations of African American students across the United States. 

These groups have grown from small student clubs in the early 20th century to powerful national forces that continue to shape campus life today. They were founded at a time when racial segregation was still rampant on college campuses across America. Despite this adversity, these groups persevered and provided support networks to their members while actively advocating for social justice issues such as civil rights.

The Divine Nine

The organization began with six founding organizations in 1920s: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (December 4th 1906), Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (January 5th 1911), Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (November 17th 1911), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (January 13th 1913), Zeta PHI Beta Sorority( January 16th 1920 ) ,and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority( November 12 th 1922). From these original six organizations came what is now referred to as “The Divine Nine” or “D9” . 


In 1975 the National Pan-Hellenic Council Inc., or popularly known as NPHC was established. This council serves as a governing body which oversees matters concerning all nine member organizations In addition they also provide resources related to finance management & operations; risk assessment & program evaluations; public relations & marketing; educational programs & initiatives; leadership development opportunities; general conventions; alumni activities; district conferences; graduate chapter recognition day events; international youth mentoring programs etc.


NPHC provides assistance for each individual organization’s independent fundraising initiatives like Walkathon and are geared towards increasing membership involvement within D9 community projects.


Today these nine organizations have formed phenomenal support systems among themselves allowing them collectively address pressing issues faced by African Americans throughout history including but not limited to voter disenfranchisement, police brutality, education disparities, health care access gaps, etc. They remain committed towards providing authentic experiences so members can take pride in their cultural heritage while continuously striving forward toward future successes through service learning activities that promote civic engagement philanthropy scholarship and so much more!

Have you checked out the Jali Podcast yet?

Sign Up Today!

Melyssa's Newsletter

Don’t miss out on the latest news, exclusive content, and updates from Melyssa herself. Sign up for her official newsletter today and be the first to know about upcoming events, new releases, and behind-the-scenes insights into her work.