In 1930 it was recognized that there was a need to form an umbrella organization that would provide coordination of philosophies and activities of the historically Black Greek-letter organizations that were formed over the 16-year period from 1906 to 1922. This umbrella group, which became known as the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), was formally organized in May 1930 at Howard University, Washington, D.C. The charter members were: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta and Zeta Phi Beta Sororities, Inc., and Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi Fraternities, Inc. In 1931, Alpha Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternities, Inc. joined the Council. In 1937, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. joined the Council and in 1996 Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. completed the list of organizations comprising the NPHC.
The nine affiliate organizations have pledged to devote their collective resources and services in an effort to enhance communities throughout the nation and world. Despite the diversity inherent in the individual groups, the NPHC provides the forum and impetus for addressing issues of mutual concern. The organizations soon discovered that both nationally and locally the effect of their educational, social and economic programs was greatly improved by uniting and coordinating efforts through the NPHC and the local councils. Francis Marion University currently has seven affiliate organizational chapters on its campus. More information pertaining to each organization is located below:
Alpha Kappa Alpha
In 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority became America's first Greek-letter organization established by Black college women. Her roots date back to Howard University, Washington, D.C., where Ethel Hedgeman Lyle conceived the idea for formation. She viewed the Sorority as an instrument for enriching the social and intellectual aspects of college life by providing mental stimulation through interaction with friends and associates. Through the years, however, Alpha Kappa Alpha's function has become more complex. After her incorporation as a perpetual body in 1913, Alpha Kappa Alpha gradually branched out and became the channel through which selected college-trained women improved the socioeconomic conditions in their city, state, nation, and the world. To learn more about this Organization, please visit their National Website.
Kappa Alpha Psi
Kappa Alpha Psi was founded on the campus of Indiana University on January 5, 1911. The Fraternity's fundamental purpose is achievement. Early in the 20th century, African-American students were actively dissuaded from attending college. Formidable obstacles were erected to prevent the few who were enrolled from assimilating into co-curricular campus life. This ostracism characterized Indiana University in 1911, thus causing Elder W. Diggs, Byron K. Armstrong, and eight other black students to form Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, which remains the only Greek-letter organization with its 1st Chapter on Indiana University's campus. The founders sought a formula that would immediately raise the sights of black collegians and stimulate them to accomplishments higher than before. Fashioning achievement as its purpose, Kappa Alpha Psi began uniting college men of culture, patriotism and honor in a bond of fraternity. To learn more about this Organization, please visit their National Website.
Delta Sigma Theta
Twenty-two collegiate women at Howard University founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on January 13, 1913. These students wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need. Delta Sigma Theta is the largest black Greek-lettered sorority and has a host of famous women such as Shirley Chisholm, Ruby Dee Davis, Barbara Jordan, and Debbie Allen. Delta, meaning change, changed the way the world looked at African-American coeds. With the first public act performed by the Delta Founders being their involvement in the Women's Suffrage March in Washington D.C. in March of 1913, the devastating divas of DST will always stand for the rights of women everywhere. To learn more about this Organization, please visit their National Website.
Zeta Phi Beta
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 on 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. Founder Viola Tyler was oft quoted to say "[In the ideal collegiate situation] there is a Zeta in a girl regardless of race, creed or color, who has high standards and principles, a good scholarly average, and an active interest in all things that she undertakes to accomplish." To learn more about this Organization, please visit their National Website.
Sigma Gamma Rho
On November 12, 1922, seven educators came together to form an organization for African-American women who were interested in every phase of education. Founded on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is the only historically black Greek-lettered sorority founded on a predominately white campus. Not wanting to join an organization that was started in the surroundings of its own culture, derived from changes and conflict, or built on the foundation of a fraternity, these 7 pearls built an organization for women who are strong, independent and have a desire to serve and educate the community. Standing on the motto, “Greater Service, Greater Progress” the pretty poodles of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. live up to the phrase “Last Created, Best Designed!” To learn more about this Organization, please visit their National Website.
Omega Psi Phi
On Friday evening, November 17, 1911, three HowardUniversity 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. To learn more about this Organization, please visit their National Website.
Iota Phi Theta
On September 19, 1963, at Morgan State College (now Morgan StateUniversity), 12 students founded what is now the nation's fifth largest, predominately African-American social service fraternity: The Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated ®. The Honorable 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. 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!" Today, Iota Phi Theta® consists of over 250 Chapters worldwide. To learn more about this Organization, please visit their National Website.