MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Black Greek Letter Organizations have been a key cornerstone in African American communities for more than a century.
Their impact on social and civil issues can still be felt even in today’s climate.
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There’s more than stepping and repping when it comes to Black Greek Letter Organizations, also known as the Divine Nine.
“It’s the giveback,” said Andre Williams of Alpha Phi Alpha. “We foster a culture that always made sure our people were taken care of from the days of slavery even to now.”
There is the service and commitment to educating communities that are often time overlooked.
The birth of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and lota Phi Theta Fraternity all came from social injustice movements during pivotal times in America.
Iota’s foundation came in the thick of the Civil Rights Movement of 1963.
Influential people like Jesse Jackson, Vice President Kamala Harris and even former president Bill Clinton each hold membership in one of the Divine Nine organizations.
Members said even today there is still a need for their existence.
“During this pandemic, it’s really been important for us to help those that need food with food drives and mentoring young men,” said Vernon Williams of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Education and civil engagement are also important.
Each organization having a hand in getting a record number of people registered in November’s presidential election.
“Recently we did a service project called ‘Stop Barking, Start Voting,’” said Joe Simmons of Omega Psi Phi. “We wanted to educate the community on how to make a difference this past election we wanted to ensure their voices were heard.”
All members said there is always interest from people in joining each of the organizations that hold a sense of strong community building.
Cox Media Group