Morgan Payne '24, Photographer

GIVING BACK Phil Robie showing support for his fraternity, Kappa
Alpha Phi who organized a food drive. Photo courtesy of Phil Robie.

We’ve all heard of their big parties and bold letters, followed by their excessive need for beer pegs and mini skirts. Fraternity and Sororities. But the sororities and fraternities that go unrecognized aren’t involved in such activities. These fraternities and sororities are called the Divine 9.

The Divine 9 are nine African American fraternities and sororities. These are strong, powerful, and educated black men and women. Delta Sigma Theta is a society dedicated to improving and giving back to the African American community. Omega Psi Phi is the brother fraternity to the Deltas. They were founded in 1911 by three Howard University students, their goal was to build strong men and create not just fraternities but a brotherhood. Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest fraternity, is known for fighting back for African-American civil rights. Alpha Kappa Alpha, the sister to Alpha Phi alpha, promotes unity and friendship. etc …

As African American juniors and seniors are getting ready to graduate from high school it is always good to keep the idea of joining fraternities and sororities for not just their reputation but for brotherhood and sisterhood.

Introducing Syniah Smith, Syniah is an African American student at South who is planning to pledge in college next year. Syniahs reasoning behind pledging is essential to her.

“I feel like the particular sorority I want to pledge, enriches sisterhood and these types of organizations provide lifelong connections and network opportunities,” Smith said.

Smith also explains that one of the most important factors in considering to pledge to a sorority is African American history.

“Along with the volunteer work they do and giving back to the community I want to be a part of a historically black organization,” Smith said. “These community service activities are also what I learned in the program Delta Gems.”

Delta Gems is an organization provided through delta sigma theta sorority, mentoring young ladies to prepare for the future.

Syniah reveals that she has many family members who are part of the Divine 9. However, by having others in her family pledge she feels that she is pledging for herself and not necessarily her family, “I have aunties that are in the sorority that I want to pledge and my dads a Kappa, but I never felt obligated to pledge and sorority.”

Although everyone has a story on why they want to pledge, it’s essential to be mindful of why you as an individual want to pledge.

“I know of some girls that feel like they have an alliance to a sorority because of their moms or aunts and other family members but it’s best to do it for yourself,” said Smith.

We get to talk to Jessica Mills, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Mills is not only just a member of her Delta sorority but she is the chairman and advisor of Delta Gems incorporated.

Mills explains why being in a sorority is vital to her and also spreads words of wisdom to African American young women like Smith.

Before Mills thought about pledging Delta herself, Mills found that the sisterhood and bond that she shared in Delta Gems when she was younger could be the perfect match for her as she continues her future.

SISTERS IN SPIRIT Jessica Mills (left) and her mother Janella Mills
(right) at an event hosted by their sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. Photo courtesy of Jessica Mills.

“Back when I was a Gem we were able to have a much closer relationship with our advisor and volunteers,” said Mills. “Especially when it came to school they were always there for me with whatever I needed, I was always surrounded by that.”

We get into the topic of legacy again and how that can affect the outcome of your decision of what sorority or fraternity you pledge. By asking Mills how she feels about the importance of legacy we can get an idea of what that means. She expresses “it’s always commendable for a family to stay in the same fraternity or sorority , because that legacy goes back in time.”

Mills describes that when her mother became a Delta, being a Delta did become her life but she also adds that because her mom was a Delta that did not give her “bonus points” into becoming a Delta. Most people think by coming from a legacy family means you get a free entry ticket but in most cases, this isn’t the truth.

Mills wishes to give small pieces of advice to upcoming pledgers. Her wise word “whatever sorority or fraternity you decide it is extremely consequential that you are involved no matter if that’s greek week, or just a study hall, showing your face every once in a while isn’t going to make it, it’s about the dedication, participation, and showing that this is important.”

Mills wants to make sure that you have fun and it’s good to get out of your comfort zone because you are surrounded by people that love you and only want the best for you.

Similarly, Allison LaBarrie, a member of Kappa Alpha Phi, discovered at a young age from family members and important people in Allison’s life. He attended Eastern Michigan University and pledged as a Kappa.

“Before I pledged Kappa I looked at what they stood for, and everything that it did, aligned with me,” said LaBarrie.

The meaning of significance to Allison being in a fraternity is giving back to the community. Allison explains that being part of the brotherhood is to give back, and to prepare young men for the rest of their lives.

By being a part of a Black sorority or fraternity you aren’t just agreeing with the drunk nights and luncheon or tea parties. You are committing to the long hours of volunteer work and the constant meetings on how to better the black community.

By hearing 3 different black, educated, strong, voices speak about their experience, you can tell it’s not just about the letters or the colors, it’s about that sisterhood and brotherhood you started with in college, becoming family.

If any African American, students are thinking about pledging one of the Divine 9 feel free to go to