Black Greek Letter Organizations, also known as the Divine Nine, were founded between 1906 through 1963 during the racial segregation, discrimination, and disenfranchisement of Jim Crow. Their purpose was to provide their members the platform to excel academically, improve the conditions of black students on college campuses and universities, and improve the social conditions of African Americans in their communities. The Divine Nine is made up of Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta.
In the age of social media, Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) purpose and impact in the community has been subjected to hazing deaths, being less vocal of community issues, promoting social events, and participating in the tradition of stepping. Many have questioned the relevancy of BGLOs as not being beneficial since African Americans have a myriad of opportunities to achieve academically and gain leadership and organizational skills without joining a Black Greek Letter Organization as an undergraduate or in an alumni chapter. Black Greek Life is in the eye of the beholder and as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., we are still relevant and important to our communities, particularly for our youth.
Youth, predominantly in underprivileged communities of color, are suffering from acute traumatic stress disorder with fearing police, school-to-prison pipeline and not accessing higher education achievement due to the lack of mentorship and financial assistance. Although all the problems our youth face cannot be solved overnight, many BGLOs have strategies and programs that help youth achieve their American Dream.
Alpha Phi Alpha (http://www.apa1906.net/programs)
The “Go-to-High-School, Go-to-College” program, established in 1922, concentrates on the importance of completing secondary and collegiate education as a road to advancement.
Project Alpha is designed to provide education, motivation and skill-building on issues of responsibility, relationships, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases for young males ages 12-15 years.
Alpha Kappa Alpha (http://aka1908.com/programs)
ASCEND is designed to motivate, engage, and assist high school students in reaching their maximum potential in their journey to college or vocational employment.
Kappa Alpha Psi (http://www.kappaalphapsi1911.com/?page=guideright)
Guide Right is a program for the educational and occupational guidance of youth, primarily inspirational and informational in character. Its reach extends to high schools and colleges alike. In the latter, giving due attention to the needs of undergraduate Brothers.
The purposes of the Guide Right Service Program are to place the training, experience, and friendly interest of successful men, at the disposal of youth needing inspiration and counsel regarding their choice of a life’s career, while the community is made aware of the problems that may be encountered as these youth seek to realize lives of usefulness
Guide Right encompasses many of our youth oriented programs such as mentoring and adopting schools, college preparatory programs such as Diamonds in the Rough, and tutoring. However, the Flagship Initiative of the Guide Right Service Program is the Kappa Leadership Development League.
Omega Psi Phi (http://www.oppf.org/)
Mentoring Brothers in Action is a movement led by Big Brothers Big Sisters and the nation’s three largest African American fraternities Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Kappa Alpha Psi and to engage more African American men in fraternal, social, faith-based and professional organizations to get involved in one-to-one mentoring to change the odds for African American boys.
Talent Hunt Program provides exposure, encouragement and financial assistance to talented young people participating in the performing arts. Winners are awarded recognition and may be given college scholarships.
Delta Sigma Theta (http://www.deltasigmatheta.org/programs_main.html)
The Delta Academy was created out of an urgent sense that bold action was needed to save our young females (ages 11-14) from the perils of academic failure, low self-esteem, and crippled futures. Delta Academy provides an opportunity for local chapters to enrich and enhance the education that our young teens receive in public schools across the nation
Delta Gems was created to catch the dreams of African American at-risk, adolescent girls aged 14-18. The Delta GEMS program offers a road map for college and career planning conducts activities that provide opportunities for self-reflection and individual growth.
Phi Beta Sigma (http://sigmabetaclub.org/)
Sigma Beta Club develops wholesome value, leadership skills, and social and cultural awareness of youth at a most critical stage in the youth’s personal development. In addition to the national programs of Sigma Beta Club, it also focuses on Culture, Athletics, Social, Educational needs, and provides services to youths in their communities.
Zeta Phi Beta (http://www.zphib1920.org/auxiliaries/)
Archonettes are high school-aged young ladies who demonstrate an interest in the goals and the ideals of scholarship, sisterly love, and community service. Archonette groups are affiliated through local chapters.
Amicettes are girls 9 to 13 years of age who are willing to strive toward the high ideals of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and who demonstrate potential for leadership in service to the community. Amicettes are affiliated through local chapters.
Pearlettes are girls under 9 years old who are mentored by ladies of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. to become outstanding leaders in their community.
Sigma Gamma Rho (http://www.sgrho1922.org/)
The Sigma Youth Symposium was designed to highlight some of the prevalent concerns that negatively impact our youth: drugs, teen violence, abuse, low self-esteem, suicide, teen pregnancy, etc. Held on the second Saturday of March by each Alumnae Chapter, simultaneous Sigma Youth Symposiums address issues that affect teens today.
Iota Phi Theta (http://www.iotaphitheta.org/program-services/service-initiatives)
The I.O.T.A. (“Intelligent, Outstanding Talented Achievers”) Youth Alliance allows individual chapters of Iota Phi Theta address the needs of Black Youth in their respective communities, addressing issues important/relevant to those communities. Since its inception, I.Y.A. programs have included mentorship, manhood development, relationship building, college awareness, HBCU tours, athletics, academic supports (scholarships, academic and career advising/counseling, tutoring), and personal development.