Fraternities and Sororities

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, circa 1950

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. at Clark College, circa 1950

In the early 20th century, African American Fraternities and Sororities were founded. The first African American Greek Organization was founded in 1906 at Cornell University. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was established in response to isolation and segregation experienced at predominantly white colleges.  Founded in 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. became the first African American sorority. Throughout the 20th century, more fraternities and sororities would be established, such as Kappa Alpha Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and more.

Pan Hellenic Council, circa 1963

Pan Hellenic Council at Clark College, undated

With the establishment of these Greek organizations another major part of the HBCU experience was created. African American Greek Organizations were founded as a way to help with the issues of segregation and isolation experienced by African Americans at predominantly white colleges. Fraternities and sororities provided a way for students to create bonds and combat isolation. They became places for friendship and culture and a way to build a home while at college. Moreover, they offered ways for students to engage academically, civically, and socially. Throughout the histories of the AUC schools, fraternities and sororities have contributed to the growth and success of students. The organizations on the campuses focus on academic achievement, leadership, and service. They are a memorable part of the HBCU experience.

Information from this section of the exhibit was obtained from the following sources: 

  1. The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities, by Lawrence C Ross
  2. The Black Colleges of Atlanta by Rodney T Cohen
Fraternities and Sororities