In celebration of Black Heritage Month, Ashley Register '19 welcomes fellow Bears to learn about the history and culture behind the Divine Nine: Black Greek Letter organizations from UNC's Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Tobias Guzmán '94.
A UNC alumnus and proud member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Dr. Guzmán highlights the importance and impact of Black Greek Letter organizations on our campus community.
"...When I think about Black Greek Organizations, they are there for the academic enrichment of students, they're there for scholarship, they're there for upliftment of the Black Community, and all those cultural aspects I think really gave me the opportunity to say, 'That's what I want to do too'."
Who are The Divine Nine?
According to BlackGreek.com, there are nine historically Black Greek Letter organizations (BGLOs) that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Collectively, these organizations are referred to as "The Divine Nine." Each of these fraternities and sororities is rich in history - ties to one or more of these organizations may be found in many college-educated Black families in the United States.
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity | Founded 1906, Cornell University
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority* | Founded 1908, Howard University
- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity* | Founded 1911, Indiana University
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity* | Founded 1911, Howard University
- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority* | Founded 1913, Howard University
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity* | Founded 1914, Howard University
- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority* | Founded 1920, Howard University
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority | Founded 1922, Butler University
- Iota Phi Theta Fraternity | Founded 1963, Morgan State University
A (*) next to each fraternity or sorority indicates the organizations active at UNC. Visit the Affiliated Student Organizations page on the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center's website for more information.
In a recent interview, alumnus Rico Wint '10 shared his experience as a member of the Black Greek Letter organization Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.:
“What we [Black Americans] produce always comes out of need. That was like, ‘Well, we just have to do it this way.’ But I believe because the culture is so sweet, and I believe our people are so amazingly stout and astute, it becomes not only like, ‘Do we do it our way?’ It becomes culture. And it becomes something that's coveted and wanted. And I think you can't buy that; you can't teach that..."
Black Heritage Month at UNC
Join the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center as they host various programs, events, and highlights throughout the month of February in celebration of Black Heritage Month.
Click the buttons below to read more about UNC's commitment to honoring Black History, and to stay up to date on 2021 Black Heritage Month programming through UNC's Marcus Garvey Cultural Center.