By Nicole Nutting and Don Valentine
She said: Can you please help this old feckless lady understand why the shaping of the “Divine Nine” was relevant?
He said: The Black journey in our great union has been a mordant experience. In 1906 seven Black men at Cornell University became irate with not being allowed to participate in fraternities. Thus they formed the 1st Black fraternity. This led to the origin of 8 additional Frats and Sororities. Ergo the “Divine Nine!”
What made that Black panhellenic grouping so special, was the accomplishments and caliber of the members. Most recently the female Vice President is a member of the 1st Black sorority, the A.K.A. sorority. She proudly wore the traditional 19 Pearls. This tradition honors their founders. She also gave her predecessors homage by wearing “Suffrage” White. That was a nod to the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote (19th amendment).
An example of the pedigree of the members include the following from the Alpha Phi Alpha frat. Thurgood Marshall, the 1st Black Supreme Court Justice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., scholar Cornell West, singers Lionel Richie & Donny Hathaway. Willie Brown, the 1st California Assembly leader, also former mayor of San Francisco and U.N. delegate Andrew Young/former mayor of Atlanta.
The Sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha includes the likes of Dr. Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Toni Morrison, Alicia Keys, and Rosa Parks.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority had members like Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Shirley Chisholm, the 1st Black woman elected to Congress, (she ran in 1972 for President), the Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Bottoms and Dr. Betty Shabazz,(wife of Malcolm X.).
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity contributed national talk show host Tavis Smiley, comic Cedric the Entertainer, and Reverend Ralph Abernathy (Dr. King’s confidant) to list a few.
She said: Wow, those are not the drunkard Greeks I recall. Very impressive list. The world would be a much poorer place without their contributions.