National Pan-Hellenic Council

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), colloquially known as the “Divine Nine” (D9), is a collaborative umbrella council composed of historically African American fraternities and sororities. The member/partner organizations have not formally adopted nor recommended the use of this term to describe their collaborative grouping. 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 and is headquartered in Decatur, Georgia.

National Pan-Hellenic Council
NHPC D9 Logo.jpg
NicknameDivine Nine
FoundedMay 10, 1929; 92 years ago (1929-05-10)
Founded atHoward University
TypeCoalition of members
HeadquartersDecatur, Georgia

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.

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.


The National Pan-Hellenic Council was established in an era when Greek letter organizations founded by African Americans were banned from being affiliated with Greek letter organizations founded by whites.[1]

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.[2]

The founding members of the NPHC were Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Kappa Alpha, 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) joined this coalition of Black Greek letter organizations (BGLOs). 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.[3] 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.[2]

Member organizationsEdit

The members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council are shown below in order of founding:[2]

Organization Name Greek Symbol Type Founded Headquarters Chapters Members NPHC Notes
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ Fraternity (1906-12-04) December 4, 1906 (age 114)
Cornell University
Baltimore, Maryland 706 [4] 200,000[4] 1931 First intercollegiate African American fraternity.
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚΑ Sorority (1908-01-15) January 15, 1908 (age 113)
Howard University
Chicago, Illinois 1,005 [5] 290,000 [5] 1930 First intercollegiate African American sorority.
Kappa Alpha Psi ΚΑΨ Fraternity (1911-01-05) January 5, 1911 (age 110)
Indiana University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 720 160,000 1930 Founded as Kappa Alpha Nu.
First NPHC organization to be legally incorporated.
Omega Psi Phi ΩΨΦ Fraternity (1911-11-17) November 17, 1911 (age 109)
Howard University
Decatur, Georgia 750 1930 First fraternity to be founded at an HBCU.
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ Sorority (1913-01-13) January 13, 1913 (age 108)
Howard University
Washington, D.C. 940+ [6]
(including alumnae chapters)
Phi Beta Sigma ΦΒΣ Fraternity (1914-01-09) January 9, 1914 (age 107)
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 (age 101)
Howard University
Washington, D.C. 800 1930 Constitutionally bound with Phi Beta Sigma.
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ Sorority (1922-11-12) November 12, 1922 (age 98)
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 (age 58)
Morgan State University
Baltimore, Maryland 300 30,000 [7] 1996

Traditional Greek housingEdit

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. In substitute of it, some undergraduate chapters have small outdoor Greek plots to help substantiate their presence on campus.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b c "About the National Pan-Hellenic Council". Archived from the original on 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  3. ^ *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.
  4. ^ a b "Home". Alpha Phi Alpha. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  5. ^ a b "Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  6. ^ Delta Sigma Theta website. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  7. ^ "Iota Phi Theta® Fraternity Inc. | Founded 1963 - Chapter Locator". Retrieved 2016-09-07.
  8. ^ "NPHC Greek houses absent on Fraternity and Sorority Row". 11 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Black fraternities and sororities get new home in Ram Village". The Daily Tar Heel. August 21, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  10. ^ "MGC and NPHC houses still not on campus maps". 11 October 2018.
  11. ^ "U of M Students Look to Raise Funds for African-American Greek Organizations". Memphis Flyer. August 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Membership".
  13. ^ White vs Black Greek Life: “There’s a Greek letter … for everyone”
  14. ^ "EDITORIAL: Greek life has lost its identity at IU". January 13, 2019.
  15. ^ "Greek plots return to Morgan's campus | the Spokesman". 11 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Exploring Black Greek Life". March 15, 2017.

Further readingEdit

  • 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 linksEdit