Women find empowerment in many forms. In college for the African American woman many find it in the sisterhood of the “Divine Nine” Sororities.
In the early 1900’s black fraternities and sororities were created to provide brotherhood and sisterhood for African-Americans attending college. Blacks were not welcome in the other established Greek Letter Societies so they created their own.
The Pan Hellenic Council also known as the “Divine Nine” was founded May 10, 1930 on the campus of Howard University. But before the council was created the Greek organizations individually were created. The Divine Nine consist of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity founded in 1906, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, founded in 1908, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity founded in 1911, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity founded in 1911, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority founded in 1913, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity founded in 1914, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority founded in 1920, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority founded in 1922, and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity founded in 1963.
The ladies of the “Divine Nine” have produced many leaders and provide a great service of serving this nation and the world. They have all had their share of controversy but their commitment to service and excellence has outweighed them all.
The first sorority to make up the “Divine Nine” are the ladies in salmon pink and apple green Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The organization recently became the first black Greek organization to trademark the famous call “Skeee Weee” and have a membership of over 170,000 active members. Famous members include Loretta Divine, Toni Morrison, Wanda Sykes, Star Jones, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and Phylicia Rashad.
The ladies in crimson and cream are known as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. One of the founders first acts involved their participation in the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington D.C., March 1913. The sisterhood currently has a membership of over 200,000 predominately African-American, college-educated women. The Sorority currently has 900-plus chapters located in the United States, Tokyo, Japan, Okinawa, Japan, Germany, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Seoul, Korea, and St. Thomas and St Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Famous Delta’s include K Michelle, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Kym Whitley, Mara Brock Akil and the civil rights icon Dorothy Height.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority are the ladies in royal blue and white. According to the official web site, The purpose of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is to foster the ideas of service, charity, scholarship, civil and cultural endeavors, sisterhood and finer womanhood. These ideals are reflected in the sorority’s national program for which its members and auxiliary. Famous Members: Sheryl Underwood, WNBA Camille Cooper, the late Esther Rolle, Sarah Vaughan, Syleena Johnson, Dionne Warwick, Towanda Braxton.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana by seven school teachers. The group became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929. According to the official web site, “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.” Famous members include Hattie McDaniel, MC Lyte, Kelly Price, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Mother Love and Victoria Rowell. Their colors are royal blue and gold.
We asked some L.A. Watts Times readers why they pledged and what it meant to them?