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Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities

Updated on March 6, 2011

Welcome to Black Greeks

This lens is dedicated to information about historically Black Greek fraternities and sororities. You'll find information on Black Greek history, sportswear and gift items along with popular websites, books and videos on topics such as community service activities, famous members, and stepping/stepshows. Come back and visit this lens often as the offers and special advertisements change every day and you're sure to find something new and special for yourself or that Noble Greek man or woman in your life.

Kappa Alpha Psi - In the Beginning

Kappa Alpha Psi - In the Beginning
Kappa Alpha Psi - In the Beginning

Old School Omega Men 1921

Old School Omega Men 1921
Old School Omega Men 1921

New and Notable on Squidoo Black Greeks

Old School Picture of the Day and Old School Scrapbook

Each month (or every so often) we'll feature a new Old School Picture of the Day and move the most recent Old School shot to our Scrapbook which will be maintained at the bottom of the lens. Our visitors have commented on how much they enjoy both the new and the old pictures that we've featured and we're happy to provide a view of our past and present. Each of you who is a Black Greek will determine our collective future. Let's uphold our values and keep each organization growing strong. Stop the stupid.

Which Black Greek Fraternity or Sorority is Right for Me?

Three Considerations for a the Decision of Lifetime

Undergraduates at predominantly white institutions or Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) often wonder which Black Greek Lettered Organizations (BGLOs) they should affiliate with when confronted with the variety of options early in their college careers. Some individuals who are unable to join an organization during their college careers because of the lack of choices on their campus or other reasons related to chapters being inactive or not having enough quality or quantity candidates face this same uncertainty after college when the interest to affiliate continues as a prospective alumni member. How do you determine which organization is right for you in making a decision that will become a lifelong commitment? Here are three tips to guide you in your decision-making.

1. Get a full understanding of your options beyond local personalities. Research is important here. If you are an undergraduate student or alumni candidate, take some time to learn the general history of each organization by visiting their headquarters web sites and reading about their founding principles and current programs that are the focus of their national initiatives. Though character-building and community service are constants that run through all of the organizations, each has distinct differences given the history of their founding that give each a unique flavor that is often exaggerated by organizational stereotypes. By examining their history and national programs, you delve beyond superficial stereotypes and hype to gain a better understanding of what the organizations are really about. Chapter members on your campus or within your city may or may not be good examples of the national organization’s principles and aims and you need to understand where there is alignment and where there are disconnects. Your membership with and organization is for a lifetime and not for the few years that you spend on campus or the first few years of initiation; however, the time spent with current members needs to be an enjoyable experience and if you aren’t comfortable with the local personalities even after you’ve determined that the organizational values are consistent with your own, you might want to wait and pursue an affiliation at the graduate level if in college or with a different chapter if an alumnus. Do your research and don’t affiliate simply based on who parties the hardest, puts on the best stepshow, or has the flyest Greek gear.

2. Talk to current members. Given the emphasis on avoiding hazing in any way, many current members may be guarded about discussions with you about their organizations. A friendly discussion about what the organization means to a current member and why they joined will not constitute an improper discussion provided there are no obligations or expectations placed on you as a person who simply has some questions and is seeking additional understanding. Understand the politics of seeking information as current members will likely take this as in interest in their organization and may not perceive similar requests that you make of other organizations as a positive thing. Some of this is rooted in their own immaturity and an understandable bias that their organization is the best along with a belief that questions about many different organizations is evidence that you don’t really know who you want to affiliate with. Don’t get caught up in others’ misperceptions and immaturity about your research. You need to choose wisely and by attending a variety of information sessions and asking questions of a variety of individuals, you ensure that you know what you’re getting into and who will become your lifelong fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. It’s highly likely that there are also members who attend your church or who work with you or are even friends of your family if not family members who you could approach with questions. They would welcome your questions and would not be persons who would be in a position to make determinations about your membership in the local chapters to which you aspire. These people are great sources of information who will be honored by your questions.

3. Think about what you will contribute to the organization. It’s not enough to admire the history of the organization or to be enamored with famous members or members that you look up to as mentors or outstanding current day examples of leadership, service or brotherhood and sisterhood. You need to know how your membership will take the organization even further in the work that it seeks to accomplish and the impact that it has in the community. If you are in college and you don’t plan to be active after graduation because you move to a new city or you attend a graduate chapter meeting and just don’t like fraternity or sorority life after graduation, then do yourself (and the organization) a favor, and don’t affiliate. The real work happens by active members in college and by alumni members for years after college and if your commitment is only as good as the friends you meet in college, then it was never a commitment to begin with. If you are an alumni candidate and don’t think that you can continue to be an active member year after year no matter how busy work, church, family, and other interests may pull on your time, then don’t affiliate. Your membership becomes a part of who you are and is not a new set of items on a to-do list. The hardest part of being a member of any Black Greek Lettered Organization is not the membership process (which should not include hazing of any kind--if you need to be hazed to feel legitimate, then that’s another example of a weak commitment) but the willingness of a member to be involved and to do the work when the public support and love of being the campus favorite is absent. People struggling in our communities nation-wide need to see the ever-present leadership and example that is the legacy of all the historically black organizations. These are the people we serve who are continuously in need of an unqualified and unwavering commitment to involvement that goes beyond letters on a nice jacket or a license plate frame on your ride. Only those who know why they want to affiliate in the absence of all the positive marketing will sustain a lifelong commitment in the darker times of competing family interests, conflicting member ideas and approaches to chapter relations and the actual doing of the good work that is the reality of life as a noble Black Greek.

By doing your own objective research, talking to current members to get qualified perspectives on life as a Black Greek, and giving serious thought to the individual contribution that you will make to your prospective organization, you are best prepared to make a solid decision that you will not regret. Research, relationships and humble reflection will establish a foundation for a rich and rewarding experience. Best wishes to you in your pursuit of the legacy.

Your car will look great with one of our popular Car Emblems on it. Our emblems are made of a sparkling triple chrome-plated finish that makes them extremely durable. The emblems are mounted to the car with a peel-off adhesive tape on the back of the emblem. Site features all Historically Black Divine Nine Fraternities and Sororities in addition to Mason and Eastern Star car emblems.

Doom Wear Designs is your one-stop outlet for embroidery, state-of-the-art digitizing, silk-screening, and graphic designs.

If you're looking for the very best in classic, old-school style collegiate sweaters, Doom Wear has no equal. I purchase from them every time I attend a convention and their customer service is superb.

We didn't invent the Greeks, just the Greek apparel. College Crib was established in 1966 and is one of the internet's leading sources for unique, quality Black Greek gifts and apparel of all kinds. Their internet presence is an extension of their outstanding brick and mortal location in Nashville, TN near Tennessee State University.

Black Greek Forum

Black Greek Forum

Black Greek Forum is well designed and offers a wealth of information in addition to content-rich forums where you will find general discussion on Black Greek issues of every variety along with special forums for each organization where members can network with one another, announce special events or promote programs while building a sense of community throughout the site.

Featured Website: All Stepping. All the Time. Videos that showcase stepping for your uploading, voting, and viewing pleasure. Hundreds of vidoes are featured from a varitey of organizations to inlclude the Divine Nine, Latins, churches, high schools, and others.

Ten reasons you should order from

From their website:

1. Ordering is easier at

2. We are fully owned by Greeks.

3. We email you a full-color proof.

4. We provide plus sizes (up to 6X) at no extra cost to you.

5. We'll make any design you want or you can choose from our extensive design library.

6. Our embroidery is better quality.

7. Our customer service is impeccable.

8. We're faster.

9. Everything is fully customizable and interchangeable.

10. No mistakes allowed.

Black Greek Network

Unified Greeks Building Networking Relationships. Black Greek Network hopes to promote professional networking among the Black Greeks and other fellowship organizations. We want to unify all Black organizations into one network, therefore acknowledging a more extensive and comprehensive group of people who can socialize and communicate amongst one another.

Should I Pledge College or Grad Chapter?

First things first: most organizations don't use the term "pledging" anymore. It evokes thoughts and images of hazing which is a crime in most jurisdictions. For purposes of this article, "pledge" or "pledging" will only be made with reference to the approved and officially sanctioned membership intake processes as established by the leadership and legal counsel of each Historically Black Greek-Lettered Organization's duly authorized officers.

When considering timing and the when's and how's of pledging an organization, it's important to note that many of the initial founders of the early organizations were mature students, and in some cases graduate students depending on the organization. Although all of the organizations have the college experience at the heart of their founding, the nature of the college experience and the maturity of the students involved in founding these organizations was as much an intellectual pursuit as a community service and social undertaking. Society and social graces at the time were much different than they are today and the glamour of what it meant to be Greek was more a matter of the individuals who made up the organization than the style and crispness of their step routines.

Still, the importance of being a member of a fraternity or sorority while in college should not be minimized and college members make up the lifeblood of each organization. The time you spend bonding with your Brothers or Sisters in a collegiate setting is an invaluable opportunity to enhance your organizational understanding while maturing as a member with your peers. Leadership opportunities during this time will provide foundational skills that you can use throughout your lifetime.

While the college experience is important, time is fleeting and you will only spend a fraction of your life as a member of a fraternity or sorority while in college and the remainder of your service to the Brotherhood or Sisterhood will occur while an adult alumni member. Membership rolls of each organization are full of those who stepped hard and sang the praises of their organizations while in college only to become inactive after graduation having never or seldom been involved with their beloved organizations at the alumni level.

Likewise, those who did not have an opportunity to pledge while in college due to low numbers, inactive chapter status or other reasons, and who affiliate at the alumni level become some of the strongest members of the organization. Like college initiates, not all alumni initiates remain active throughout their lives. The fact of the matter is that whether a person joins at the college or alumni level, when a person become a member is not important. What is most important is whether the individual understands the lifelong commitment of their oath of allegiance to the organization and its precepts independent of whether others in the organization are equally committed to excellence.

If you can affiliate while in college and are comfortable with making that choice early in your fraternal career, you should do so because the three years or so that you spend as an undergraduate member with your peer group is an experience that you will never repeat in your life and one ripe with opportunities for growth and development. If your choice is affiliation as an alumni member, the experience is no less rich or rewarding but will be tempered by a little more life experience with camaraderie built around family and professional pursuits. Either way, the easiest part of your journey will not be becoming a member, but in doing the work and making the kinds of sacrifices required of members who know that their greatest purpose is leadership in service to others in our communities.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated

From the National Website: A Brief History:

Alpha Legacy: A Brief History

Since its founding on December 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has supplied voice and vision to the struggle of African-Americans and people of color around the world.

Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of Brotherhood among African descendants in this country. The visionary founders, known as the "Jewels" of the Fraternity, are Henry Arthur Callis, Charles Henry Chapman, Eugene Kinckle Jones, George Biddle Kelley, Nathaniel Allison Murray, Robert Harold Ogle, and Vertner Woodson Tandy.

The Fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. The Jewel founders and early leaders of the Fraternity succeeded in laying a firm foundation for Alpha Phi Alpha's principles of scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.

Alpha Phi Alpha chapters were developed at other colleges and universities, many of them historically black institutions, soon after the founding at Cornell. While continuing to stress academic excellence among its members, Alpha also recognized the need to help correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African-Americans.

Alpha Phi Alpha has long stood at the forefront of the African-American community's fight for civil rights through leaders such as: W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray, Paul Robeson, and many others.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

From the National Website: Honoring the Past

Founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC in 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by and for African American college-trained women. To trace its history is to tell a story of changing patterns of human relations in America in the 20th century.

The small group of women who organized the Sorority was conscious of a privileged position as college-trained women of color, just one generation removed from slavery. They were resolute that their college experiences should be as meaningful and productive as possible. Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded to apply that determination.

As the Sorority grew, it kept in balance two important themes: the importance of the individual and the strength of an organization of women of ability and courage. As the world became more complex, there was a need for associations which cut across racial, geographical, political, physical and social barriers.

Alpha Kappa Alpha’s influence extends beyond campus quads and student interest. It has a legacy of service that deepens, rather than ends, with college graduation.

The goals of its program activities center on significant issues in families, communities, government halls and world assembly chambers. Its efforts constitute a priceless part of the global experience in the 21st century.

Led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, the nine Howard University students who came together to form Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority were the scholastic leaders of their classes. Each also had a special talent or gift that further enhanced the potential of this dynamic group.

With the exception of Ethel, the original group of women was comprised of college seniors. To ensure the continuity of the organization, seven Class of 1910 honor students who had expressed interest were invited to join without initiation.

Nellie Quander was elected president in 1911. Under her visionary leadership, Alpha Kappa Alpha initiated a dynamic plan of expansion. The first step of establishing a national body in perpetuity was taken in 1913 when Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was legally incorporated.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated

From the National Website: A Brief History

Kappa Alpha Psi , a college Fraternity, now comprised of functioning Undergraduate and Alumni Chapters on major campuses and in cities throughout the country, is the crystallization of a dream. It is the beautiful realization of a vision shared commonly by the late Revered Founders Elder Watson Diggs; John Milton Lee; Byron K. Armstrong; Guy Levis Grant; Ezra D. Alexander; Henry T. Asher; Marcus P. Blakemore; Paul W. Caine; Edward G. Irvin and George W. Edmonds.

It was the vision of these astute men that enabled them in the school year 1910 - 11, more specifically the night of January 5, 1911, on the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, to sow the seed of a fraternal tree whose fruit is available to, and now enjoyed by, college men everywhere, regardless of their color, religion or national origin. It is a fact of which KAPPA ALPHA PSI is justly proud that the Constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership merely because of his color, creed, or national origin. The Constitution of KAPPA ALPHA PSI is predicated upon, and dedicated to, the principles of achievement through a truly democratic Fraternity.

Chartered and incorporated originally under the laws of the State of Indiana as Kappa Alpha Nu on May 15, 1911, the name was changed to KAPPA ALPHA PSI on a resolution offered and adopted at the Grand Chapter in December 1914. This change became effective April 15, 1915, on a proclamation by the then Grand Polemarch, Elder Watson Diggs. Thus, the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter Fraternity in every sense of the designation.

KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity, relatively early, envisioned the modified attitudes of college administrators and administrations regarding certain frivolous activities previously identified with Greek letter organizations; and it initiated appropriate changes. Among the early changes brought about was the banning of paddling and other forms of physical abuse, and the introduction of constructive endeavors during pledgeship and probation. To date, KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity is organizationally and administratively mature. It moves steadily toward a tomorrow of promise, productivity and influence.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated

From the National Website: The Birth of Omega

On Friday evening, November 17, 1911, three Howard University undergraduate students, with the assistance of their faculty adviser, gave birth to the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. This event occurred in the office of biology Professor Ernest E. Just, the faculty adviser, in the Science Hall (now known as Thirkield Hall). The three liberal arts students were Edgar A. Love, Oscar J. Cooper and Frank Coleman. From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning "friendship is essential to the soul," the name Omega Psi Phi was derived. The phrase was selected as the motto. Manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift were adopted as cardinal principles. A decision was made regarding the design for the pin and emblem, and thus ended the first meeting of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity .

The next meeting was conducted on November 23, 1911. Edgar Love became the first Grand Basileus (National President). Cooper and Coleman were selected Grandkeeper of the Records (National Secretary) and Grandkeeper of Seals (National Treasurer), respectively. Eleven Howard University undergraduate men were selected as charter members.

Alpha Chapter was organized with fourteen charter members on December 15, 1911. Love, Cooper and Coleman were elected the chapter's first Basileus, Keeper of Records, and Keeper of Seals, respectively. On March 8, 1912, the previously submitted fraternity constitution was rejected by the Howard University Faculty Council. The Faculty Council proposed to accept the fraternity as a local but not a national organization. The fraternity refused acceptance as a strictly local organization.

Omega continued to flourish, largely because Founders Love, Cooper, Coleman and Just were men of the very highest ideals and intellect. The Founders selected and attracted men of similar ideals and characteristics. It is not by accident that many of America's great black men are/were Omega Men. To this date, there are very few Americans whose lives have not been touched by a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated

From the National Website: Mission


Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. A sisterhood of more than 200,000 predominantly Black college educated women, the Sorority currently has over 900 chapters located in the United States, England, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Republic of Korea. The major programs of the sorority are based upon the organization's Five Point Thrust of:

* Economic Development

* Educational Development

* International Awareness and Involvement

* Physical and Mental Health

* Political Awareness and Involvement

The Sorority was founded in 1913 by 22 students at Howard University. These young women wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence; to provide scholarships; to provide support to the underserved; educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy; and to highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in their communities.

The organizational structure and governance of the Sorority is invested in the Grand Chapter, which meets in National Convention biennially. Regional Conferences are held in the seven geographic regions of the organization during non-convention years. In the interim, the Executive Board, consisting of elected and appointed members, acts to establish and implement policies, as needed. A paid professional staff, under the leadership of the Executive Director, operates the National Headquarters office in Washington, D.C.

No part of the net income or contributions of the Sorority are utilized to the benefit of, or is distributed to members, officers or other private persons except as authorized by the Sorority to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered or to make payments in furtherance of its purposes.

As a non-profit organization, no part of the Sorority's activities shall be for propaganda purposes or otherwise attempting to influence legislation in a lobbying role.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. conducts all of its activities in accordance with the rule that govern organizations whose tax status is 501 (c)(7).

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated

From the National Website: Who Are We

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students. The founders, Honorable A. Langston Taylor, Honorable Leonard F. Morse, and Honorable Charles I. Brown, wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service.

The founders deeply wished to create an organization that viewed itself as "a part of" the general community rather than "apart from" the general community. They believed that each potential member should be judged by his own merits rather than his family background or affluence...without regard of race, nationality, skin tone or texture of hair. They wished and wanted their fraternity to exist as part of even a greater brotherhood which would be devoted to the "inclusive we" rather than the "exclusive we".

From its inception, the Founders also conceived Phi Beta Sigma as a mechanism to deliver services to the general community. Rather than gaining skills to be utilized exclusively for themselves and their immediate families, the founders of Phi Beta Sigma held a deep conviction that they should return their newly acquired skills to the communities from which they had come. This deep conviction was mirrored in the Fraternity's motto, "Culture For Service and Service For Humanity".

Today, 91 years later, Phi Beta Sigma has blossomed into an international organization of leaders. No longer a single entity, the Fraternity has now established the Phi Beta Sigma Educational Foundation, the Phi Beta Sigma Housing Foundation, the Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union, and the Phi Beta Sigma Charitable Outreach Foundation. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., founded in 1920 with the assistance of Phi Beta Sigma, is the sister organization. No other fraternity and sorority is constitutionally bound as Sigma and Zeta. We both enjoy and foster a mutually supportive relationship.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated

From the National Website: Overview


Heritage - Founders of Zeta Phi Beta

The year was 1920. It was the start of the decade, shortly after World War One, and a time of great prosperity for the country. Women were called dames, dolls, or the cat's meow. At the beginning of the decade, women still wore long skirts but the "Roaring 20s" brought a new look of short skirts and smartly coiffed shorter hair. Racial tensions were high and quotas set for immigrants coming into America. The Klan was very active during this period. The Harlem Renaissance was acknowledged as the first important movement of black artists and writers in the US. On January 16, 1920, the Volstead Act became effective, heralding the start of Prohibition and on August 18th of the same year, Tennessee delivered the crucial 36th ratification necessary for the final adoption of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. The worst and longest economic recession to ever hit the United States would define the end of the decade-the Great Depression.

It was within this environment that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was founded. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was founded on the simple belief that sorority elitism and socializing should not overshadow the real mission for progressive organizations - to address societal mores, ills, prejudices, poverty, and health concerns of the day. Founded January 16, 1920, Zeta began as an idea conceived by five coeds at Howard University in Washington D.C.: Arizona Cleaver, Myrtle Tyler, Viola Tyler, Fannie Pettie and Pearl Neal. These five women, also known as our Five Pearls, dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for black women and sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts of Scholarship, Service, Sisterly Love and Finer Womanhood. It was the ideal of the Founders that the Sorority would reach college women in all parts of the country who were sorority minded and desired to follow the founding principles of the organization.

Since its inception, the Sorority has chronicled a number of firsts. Zeta Phi Beta was the first Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa (1948); to form adult and youth auxiliary groups; to centralize its operations in a national headquarters; and to be constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated

From the National Website: History


Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana by seven young educators: Mary Lou Allison Little, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Dulin Redford, Bessie M. Downey Martin and Cubena McClure. The group became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to Alpha chapter at Butler University.

Soaring To Greater Heights Of Attainment Around The World, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., as a leading national service organization, has met the challenges of the day and continues to grow through Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service .


From seven young educators, Sigma Gamma Rho has become an international service organization comprised of women from every profession. Sigma Gamma Rho offers its members opportunities to develop their unique talents through leadership training and involvement in sorority activities. Sorority activities provide an atmosphere where friendships and professional contacts are developed which often lead to bonds that last a lifetime.


In a time when education for African Americans was difficult to attain, the founders of Sigma Gamma Rho became educators. They believed that the self-respect, knowledge and discipline gained through study would help individuals to recognize their duty and responsibility for their society. Thus, Sigma Gamma Rho was founded on the precept of education and continues to promote and encourage high scholastic attainment.


Sigma Gamma Rho's commitment to service is expressed in its slogan, "Greater Service, Greater Progress." The sorority has a proud history of offering service wherever chapters exist, including OPERATION BigBookBag, a program designed to address the needs, challenges and issues that face school-aged children who are educationally at-risk in local homeless shelters and extended care hospitals. The objective is for chapters to provide their local homeless shelters and children hospitals with educational materials, equipment and supplies. Other national projects include Wee Savers, Project Reassurance and Habitat for Humanity, Sigma Gamma Rho built seven homes across the United States in Florida, District of Columbia, Wisconsin, California, and Texas.

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated

From the National Website: Iota History


On September 19, 1963, at Morgan State College (now Morgan State University), 12 students founded what is now the nation's fifth largest, predominantly African-American social service fraternity: The Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated.

The founders of Iota Phi Theta were: Albert Hicks, Lonnie Spruill, Jr., Charles Briscoe, Frank Coakley, John Slade, Barron Willis, Webster Lewis, Charles Brown, Louis Hudnell, Charles Gregory, Elias Dorsey, Jr., and Michael Williams.

This group of men was unique for several reasons. First of all, many were long-time friends. Spruill, Coakley, Dorsey, and Gregory had known one another since grade school, and Spruill and Coakley's friendship extended to when the two were pre-schoolers.

Even more uniquely, many of these men were what are now referred to as "Non-Traditional Students" and were 3-5 years older than the average college student. Gregory, Willis, and Brown were all service veterans, and Brown, Hicks, and Briscoe were married with small children. Of this group of 12, several were also working full-time jobs and all were full-time students.

Based upon their ages, heightened responsibilities, and increased level of maturity, this group had a slightly different perspective than the norm for college students. It was this perspective from which they established the Fraternity's purpose, "The development and perpetuation of Scholarship, Leadership, Citizenship, Fidelity, and Brotherhood among Men." Additionally, they conceived the Fraternity's motto, "Building a Tradition, Not Resting Upon One!"


The Fraternity functioned as a local entity until the first interest groups were established in 1967 at Hampton Institute (Beta Chapter) and Delaware State College (Gamma Chapter). Further expansion took place in 1968 with chapters being formed at Norfolk State College (Delta Chapter) and Jersey City State College (Epsilon Chapter). The Fraternity was officially and legally incorporated on November 1, 1968 as a National Fraternity under the laws of the State of Maryland.

Today, Iota Phi Theta consists of over 198 chapters located in 40 States and the District of Columbia. The scope of the organization extends throughout the nation, from California to New York; from Wyoming to Florida; and from Wisconsin to The Bahamas Islands.

Black Greeks on YouTube

Greek Alphabet

Symbols and Pronunciation Key

For your ease in memorization--forward and backward.

Other Extremely Noteworthy Sites of Interest to Our Black Greek Community

This area of the lens features people and places that you should know about because of their support or affiliation with many of the organizations on the site. Much respect to them all.

Old School Scrapbook -- Alpha Kappa Alpha - It's Been a Serious Matter Since 1908

These ladies are representing the Pink and Green as only they can. This shot was used to give a shout out to all the lovely ladies of AKA when they celebrated 100 years of service in 2008. It was our first old school picture which now features a rotating picture from the archives of each organization in the opening polariod shot for this lens.

Old School: Alpha Phi Alpha Basketball 1939

Old School: Alpha Phi Alpha Basketball 1939
Old School: Alpha Phi Alpha Basketball 1939

General Comments & Shout Outs - Tell us how to make this lens better; rate us above and tell your friends!

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    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 

      5 years ago

      A really helpful lens...

    • Eric Mayo profile image

      Eric Mayo 

      5 years ago

      Black Greeks are the pillars of our society. Hooks up bruhz!

    • TeamAfro LM profile image

      TeamAfro LM 

      6 years ago

      This is a great lens full of really cool information. Retweeted it. Good job!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      "High five" for all the information about black greek fraternities and sororities! I had absolutely no idea about them!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's always amazing to see old photos from sororities and fraternities from the past. It brings you back to what the true meaning of greek organizations are supposed to be about. You can check out my blog on current greek news and how you can restore Greek organizations to their true purposes at

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great photos from back in the day, and a lot of excellent information. Some of people in those picture make be think about the big issue back then of blacks who could pass for white.

      Then fast forward to today to whole touchy topic of college educated professional black women "settling" for a blue collar black male worker... or expand her options by considering men outside the blackness?

      The statistics are pretty clear that interracial dating and mixed race relationships are definitely on the increase. Especially in the case of

      black women seeking white men.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      this wan an amazing lens about the black Greeks. this lens elaborately shows their interest and involvement in fashion through their fraternity and sorority shirts. this was a good lens for those who are in a search for information's regarding the Greek history with lot of web links for referrals.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      7 years ago

      Great advise, especially about hazing. Wonderful history, lensrolled to The Warmth of Other Suns

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Great old school photos for us none fraternally affiliated types. Great lens there fellow squid. History as rich as these organizations is fascinating. To all of you stay true to your founders ideals and you will endure and have 200 year celebrations. CountryLuthier/@MISSISSIPPI2020

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Some good info you got here.Keep it Up!

    • joanv334 profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great, I love this lens, learn much information on Black Greek history.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I just joined looks like a real good site

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I just joined looks like a real good site

    • keitht7 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great Lens!!I'm a big fan of The AKA Sorority. A lot of the teachers and mentors throughout my life are AKA'S. I built a lens in honor of them, and their dedication to helping one of the world's most endangered species The African-American Male. Again great lens and I appreciate the opportunity to read about all the Greek Sororities.Keep Up The Good Work!Peace and Blessin's

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed this lens - very well constructed and informative about Black Greek organizations. I think it is awesome and necessary.

      5 stars! Kudos to lens writers - your pals at - the fraternity and sorority channel!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A very classy and cool lens. Consider it favorited.

    • RentMyGarden profile image


      9 years ago

      Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities is a very informative lens. ***** 5 stars!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good day! Will you please rate my squidoo lens. I have some new improvements.

      Squidoo Lens

      Will you please visit my site also.

      Thank you very much for your time.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow great lense, I will have to share with all my sorors of Delta Sigma Theta.

      Congrats to the AKAs for 100 years!!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent Lens. I like the quality insight you have provided here about Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities. Keep up the good work.

      Please check out my Police Jobs Blog.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent Lens. I like the quality insight you have provided here about Black Greek Fraternities and Sororities. Keep up the good work.

      Please check out my Police Jobs Blog.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very awesome lens! I have a lot of friends involved in frats and sororities. 5-stars!

      If you have time, check out my brand new lens V Powered! Thanks!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens; you inspired me to create a lens on Multicultural Greeks ;-)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi,IcemanBaldy Great Lens. I have also created a lens in same niche . Hope u like it Here’s a brief intro:

      click here

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'd love reading you lens, well put together. Hope you have a chance to see my phone card lens!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow really great lens. Come visit my lenses.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice to see such a great lens ,And from my side i rated 5 stars hope you will also see my lens and i would appreciate if you do that:RomanticCheapDateIdeas

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      great lens , very useful information, you presented in a very different style i like the way you club up the things in a wonderful manner, i thank if you visit my lens and rate it:

    • profile image


      10 years ago


      GO TO





    • profile image


      10 years ago

      back in college, I have no interest joining any frats or sorts. I'm into outdoor club like a mountaineering club, etc. Well, that's me.

    • cdreyer03 lm profile image

      cdreyer03 lm 

      10 years ago

      Great Lens! You have very useful information. I ranked your lens 5 stars! Check out my Crunk Cup lens and rank me too.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens. I loved the way you put this together.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      5 Stars from me! Please visit my faithography lens when you get time and rate it if you would.

    • shawnhi77 lm profile image

      shawnhi77 lm 

      11 years ago

      Great lens. I really like all the knowledge about the Fraternities.

      Secrets To Hot Women at

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens.The information can be very useful.Rated 5 stars.

      You can have a look at my anger management lens.

    • Christene-S profile image


      11 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This lens is all that. I can see the brothers stepping on the yard now. Great tribute!


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Shouts out to all the Ice Cold Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc! Big ups on the resources and links on this lens. Well done. Too cold, too cold.


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