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Black History Month

2006 - Celebrating Community: A Tribute to Black Fraternal, Social and Civic Institutions

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first continuous, collegiate black Greek letter fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Established in an age when racial segregation and disenfranchisement plagued African Americans, the rise of each of the black fraternities and sororities that make up the "Divine Nine" bore witness to the fact that despite hardships African Americans refused to assent to a status of inferiority. Serving more than just their immediate members, the "Divine Nine" joined with the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, the Prince Hall Masons, and Eastern Stars, the Urban League, and other civic organizations to provide service to the entire black community. Rosa Parks exemplified what one member of a community can achieve.

The "Divine Nine" are composed of the following:

Iota Phi Theta

Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center

Dr. Hugo A. Owens and then ODU President James V. Koch at the dedication of the Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center in 1991. (Photograph courtesy of University Archives, University Photograph Collection)

With specific focus on the six ODU Chapters of the "Divine Nine," as well as an emphasis on other campus African American civic and social organizations like the Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center, this year's exhibit enhances knowledge about the ODU African American fraternal, social, and civic communities in conjunction with ODU's ongoing 75th anniversary celebration.

Currently at ODU, six of the "Divine Nine" have chapters on campus. As illustrated in the following table, those six chapters include three fraternities and three sororities.

Divine Nine Frat/Soror
ODU Chapter
Chapter Founded
April 24, 1977
Tau Lambda
Fall 1983
March 17, 1974
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority
March 20, 1982
November 15, 1987

National Pan-Hellenic Council

However, no discussion of the "Divine Nine" would be inclusive without mentioning the National Pan-Hellenic Council, formed in 1930. The stated purpose and mission of the organization in 1930 was “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.” Early in 1937, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois and became known as “The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated.

While the role of religious organizations in fostering community has been clearly recognized, the extent of the influence of other African American fraternal, social, and civic organizations have not been fully appreciated in the context of their role as a community builders. This exhibit attempts to place one campus community's organizations within the context of their larger dynamic African American student body presence.

Rosa Parks Bibliography

A Tribute in conjunction with the 2006 Celebration of Community.

All books with call numbers are owned by ODU Libraries and may be checked out by ODU students, faculty, and staff. Those books listed without call numbers can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.


Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem. Black profiles in courage: A legacy of African American achievement. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1996.

Brinkley, Douglas. Rosa Parks. NY: Viking, 2000. F334.M753 P373 2000

Dove, Rita. On the Bus with Rosa Parks: Poems. NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. PS3554.O884 O52 1999

Gray, Fred D. Bus ride to justice: Changing the system by the system: The life and works of Fred D. Gray, preacher, attorney, politician. AL: Black Belt Press, 1995.

Hughes-Wright, Roberta. The Birth of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. MI: Charro Press, 1991.

Kohl, Herbert. She Would Not Be Moved: How We Tell the Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. NY: New Press, 2005. F334.M753 P375 2005

Marable, Manning and Leith Mullings, eds. Let nobody turn us around: Voices of resistance, reform, and renewal: an African American anthology. MI: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. E184.6 .L48 2000

Parks, Rosa. Quiet Strength: the faith, the hope, and the heart of a woman who changed a nation. MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994. F334.M79P37 1994

Parks, Rosa. Rosa Parks: My story. NY: Dial Books, 1992. F334.M753 P37 1992

Parks, Rosa. "Tired of Giving In": The Launching of the Montgomery Bus Boycott," in Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement edited by Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin, NY: New York University Press, 2001. E185.61 .S615 2001

Rovetch, Emily, ed. "Rosa Parks," in Like It Is: Arthur E. Thomas Interviews Leaders on Black America. NY: E.P. Dutton, 1981.E185.96.T46 1981 

Winters, Paul A. The Civil Rights Movement. CA: Greenhaven Press, 2000.


All books with call numbers are owned by ODU Libraries and may be checked out by ODU students, faculty, and staff. Those books listed without call numbers can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.

Adams, Ola. Zeta Phi Beta: 1920-1965. Washington, DC: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, 1965.

Almond, Gabriel, and Sidney Verba. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963.

Ashby, Muata. From Egypt to Greece: The African Origins of Ancient Greek Culture and Religion, and Modern Greek Fraternities, Sororities, and Masonry. FL: Cruzian Mystic Books, 2002.

Babchuk, Nicholas, and Ralph V. Thompson. "The voluntary associations of Negroes." American Sociological Review 27 (1962): 647-55.

Bigham, Darrel E. We Only Ask a Fair Trial: A History of the Black Community of Evansville, Indiana. IN: Indiana University Press, 1987.

Brown, S. Joe and Davis, Elizabeth L. The Story of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women's Clubs: The History of the Order of the Eastern Star among Colored People. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

Brown, Tamara L.; Parks, Gregory; Phillips, Clarenda M. African American fraternities and sororities: the legacy and the vision. KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2005. LJ31.A47.2005

Brunson, James E. Frat and Soror: The African Origin of Greek-Lettered Organizations. MI: Cleage Group Publication, 1991.

Bush, Rod. We are not what we seem: Black nationalism and class struggle in the American century. NY: New York University Press, 1999. E185.61.B98.1999

Cass, Donna. Negro Freemasonry and Segregation. IL: Ezra A. Cook Publications, 1957.

Clawson, Mary Ann. Constructing Brotherhood: Gender, Class, and Fraternalism. NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989.

Collier-Thomas, Bettye. N.C.N.W., 1935-1980. Washington, DC: National Council of Negro Women, 1981.

Crump, William L. The Story of Kappa Alpha Psi: A History of the Beginning and Development of a College Greek Letter Organization, 1911-1991. PA: Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, 1991.

Fahey, David M. The Black Lodge in White America: "True Reformer" Browne and His Economic Strategy. OH: Wright State University Press, 1994.

Gidding, Paula. In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenges of the Black Sorority Movement. NY: Quill, 1988.

Grimshaw, William H. Official History of Freemasonry: Among Colored People in North America. NY: Books for Library Press, 1971.

Janken, Kenneth Robert. White: the biography of Walter White, Mr. NAACP. NY: New Press, 2003.

Jones, Ricky L. Black haze: violence, sacrifice, and manhood in Black Greek-letter fraternities. NY: State University of New York Press, 2004. LJ51.J66.2004

Kimbrough, Walter M . Black Greek 101: the culture, customs, and challenges of Black fraternities and sororities. NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003. LJ51.K56.2003

Ross, Lawrence C. The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities. NY: Kensington Books, 2000.

Turk, Diana B. Bound by a mighty vow: sisterhood and women's fraternities, 1870-1920. NY: New York University Press, 2004.LJ145.K35.T87.2004

Wesley, Charles H. History of Sigma Pi Phi: First of the Negro-American Greek-Letter Fraternities. Washington, DC: The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1954.

Wesley, Charles Harris. Prince Hall: Life and Legacy. Washington, DC: United Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction, Prince Hall Affiliation, 1997.

White, Deborah Gray. Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves. NY: Norton, 1999.

Williams, Loretta J. Black Freemasonry and middle-class pillarization. MO: University of Missouri Press, 1980. HS883.W54 

Internet Resources

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