National Pan-Hellenic Council

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National Pan-Hellenic Council
NicknameDivine Nine
FoundedMay 10, 1930; 93 years ago (1930-05-10)
Founded atHoward University
TypeTrade association
WebsiteNPHC National website

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is a collaborative umbrella council composed of nine historically African American fraternities and sororities, commonly called the Divine Nine, and also referred to as Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs). The NPHC was formed as a permanent organization on May 10, 1930, on the campus of Howard University, in Washington, D.C., with Matthew W. Bullock as the active Chairman and B. Beatrix Scott as Vice-Chairman. NPHC was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois in 1937.[1]

The council promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other media for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.[citation needed]

Each constituent member organization determines its own strategic direction and program agenda. Today, the primary purpose and focus of member organizations remains camaraderie and academic excellence for its members and service to the communities they serve. Each promotes community awareness and action through educational, economic, and cultural service activities.[citation needed]


The National Pan-Hellenic Council was established in an era when Greek letter collegiate organizations founded by white Americans did not want to be affiliated with Greek letter collegiate organizations founded by African Americans.[2]

The organization's stated purpose and mission in 1930:

Marcia Fudge speaking at the 2017 National Pan-Hellenic Council Forum.

Unanimity of thought and action as far as possible in the conduct of Greek letter collegiate fraternities and sororities, and to consider problems of mutual interest to its member organizations.[3]

The founding members of the NPHC were Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, and Zeta Phi Beta. The council's membership expanded as Alpha Phi Alpha (1931), Phi Beta Sigma (1931), Sigma Gamma Rho (1937), and Iota Phi Theta (1996) later joined. In his book on BGLOs, The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities in America (2001), Lawrence Ross coined the phrase "The Divine Nine" when referring to the coalition.[4] As required by various campus recognition policies, neither the NPHC, nor its member national or chapter organizations discriminate on the basis of race or religion.

In 1992, the first permanent national office for NPHC was established in Bloomington, Indiana on the campus of Indiana University through the joint cooperation of Indiana University and the National Board of Directors of NPHC. Prior to its establishment, for over a 62-year period, the national office would sojourn from one officer to the next.[3]

Affiliate organizations[edit]

The members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council are shown below in order of founding:[3]

Name Greek Letters Type Founding Date Founding University Headquarters Chapters Total Initiates Joined NPHC Notes
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ Fraternity (1906-12-04)December 4, 1906 Cornell University Baltimore, Maryland 706 [5] 200,000[5] 1931 First intercollegiate African American fraternity.
Only NPHC organization to be founded at an Ivy League university.
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚΑ Sorority (1908-01-15)January 15, 1908 Howard University Chicago, Illinois 1,005 [6] 290,000 [6] 1930 First intercollegiate African American sorority.
First NPHC sorority to be nationally incorporated.
Kappa Alpha Psi ΚΑΨ Fraternity (1911-01-05)January 5, 1911 Indiana University Bloomington Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 720 160,000 1930 Founded as Kappa Alpha Nu.
First NPHC organization to be nationally incorporated.
Omega Psi Phi ΩΨΦ Fraternity (1911-11-17)November 17, 1911 Howard University Decatur, Georgia 750 1930 First fraternity to be founded at a historically black university.
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ Sorority (1913-01-13)January 13, 1913 Howard University Washington, D.C. 940+ [7]
(including alumnae chapters)
Phi Beta Sigma ΦΒΣ Fraternity (1914-01-09)January 9, 1914 Howard University Washington, D.C. 740 185,000 1931 Constitutionally bound with Zeta Phi Beta.
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ Sorority (1920-01-16)January 16, 1920 Howard University Washington, D.C. 800 1930 Constitutionally bound with Phi Beta Sigma.
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ Sorority (1922-11-12)November 12, 1922 Butler University Cary, North Carolina 700 85,000+ 1937 Only NPHC sorority founded at a predominately white institution.
Iota Phi Theta ΙΦΘ Fraternity (1963-09-19)September 19, 1963 Morgan State University Baltimore, Maryland 300 30,000 [8] 1996 Only NPHC organization founded in second half of the 20th century.

Traditional Greek housing[edit]

Traditional Greek housing amongst NPHC organizations is rare. Unlike most National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) organizations that have many traditional Greek houses primarily for undergraduate members on or near their college campuses, NPHC organizations have only a few. Most of the few existing NPHC organization houses are untraditional and unaffiliated with a college. In recent years, a growing number of undergraduate chapters of NPHC organizations have advocated for convenient traditional Greek housing for recruitment, meetings, stroll/step practices, socializing, and storing chapter paraphernalia but the lack of proper funding and coordination amongst members continues to be a major issue. In substitute of it, some undergraduate chapters have settled for small outdoor Greek plots to help substantiate their presence on campus.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mission – National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated". 2016-02-16. Archived from the original on 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2022-09-25.
  2. ^ Gillon, Kathleen E.; Beatty, Cameron C.; Salinas, Cristobal (2019). "Race and Racism in Fraternity and Sorority Life: A Historical Overview". New Directions for Student Services. 2019 (165): 9–16. doi:10.1002/ss.20289.
  3. ^ a b c "About the National Pan-Hellenic Council". Archived from the original on 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  4. ^ *Ross, Jr, Lawrence (2001). The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities in America. New York: Kensington. pp. 37–38. ISBN 0-7582-0325-X.
  5. ^ a b "Home". Alpha Phi Alpha. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  6. ^ a b "Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  7. ^ Delta Sigma Theta website. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  8. ^ "Iota Phi Theta® Fraternity Inc. | Founded 1963 - Chapter Locator". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  9. ^ "NPHC Greek houses absent on Fraternity and Sorority Row". 11 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Black fraternities and sororities get new home in Ram Village". The Daily Tar Heel. August 21, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  11. ^ "MGC and NPHC houses still not on campus maps". 11 October 2018.
  12. ^ "U of M Students Look to Raise Funds for African-American Greek Organizations". Memphis Flyer. August 16, 2019. Retrieved 2023-07-22.
  13. ^ "Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Membership".
  14. ^ White vs Black Greek Life: “There’s a Greek letter … for everyone”
  15. ^ "EDITORIAL: Greek life has lost its identity at IU". January 13, 2019.
  16. ^ "Greek plots return to Morgan's campus | the Spokesman". 11 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Exploring Black Greek Life". March 15, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, Tamara L., Gregory S. Parks, and Clarenda M. Phillips (2005). African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2344-8.
  • Parks, Gregory Scott (2008). Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the 21st Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2491-9.
  • Skocpol, Theda, Ariane Liazos, and Marshall Ganz (2006). What a Mighty Power We Can Be: African American Fraternal Groups and the Struggle for Racial Equality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12299-1.

External links[edit]