Celebrating African-American Pioneers

NPHC History Poster

Poster Series and Artwork

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and Student Involvement are pleased to present a historical project that contextualizes the significant contributions of NPHC members and African Americans in the United States throughout the twentieth century. Each of the nine NPHC organizations are replete with many alumni who have contributed to their chapters, institutions, and society. We have chosen to highlight three specific historical figures in our project, and encourage the viewer/reader to seek out more information about each organization and their members. Thumbnail copies of the resulting posters and a PDF of each is included here as well.

NPHC Organization websites

in founding order

Alpha Kappa AlphaAlpha Phi AlphaKappa Alpha PsiOmega Psi PhiDelta Sigma ThetaPhi Beta SigmaZeta Phi BetaSigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta. To learn more about the SJSU NPHC and its chapters, please visit their website.

NPHC History in Context

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is a collaborative organization of nine historically African-American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the Divine Nine. The NPHC was 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 NPHC bore witness to the fact that despite hardships African Americans refused to accede to a status of inferiority.

Following World War I, undergraduate chapters of NPHC affiliate organizations began to spread to major research universities admitting African Americans and to major historically black colleges in the South. NPHC was formed as a permanent organization on May 10, 1930 on the campus of Howard University, in Washington, D.C. with Matthew W. Bullock as the active Chairman and B. Beatrix Scott as Vice-Chairman. NPHC was incorporated under the laws of the state of Illinois in 1937. The organization's stated purpose and mission in 1930 is 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.

The founding members of the NPHC were Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, and Zeta Phi Beta. The council's membership expanded as Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta joined this coalition of black Greek lettered organizations. As required by various campus recognition policies, neither the NPHC, nor its member national or chapter organizations discriminate on the basis of race or religion. In 1992, the first permanent national office for NPHC was established in Bloomington, Indiana on the campus of Indiana University through the joint cooperation of Indiana University and the National Board of Directors of NPHC.

NPHC organizations are “service-based”, as opposed to organizations that may be strictly social in nature. It does not advocate a disassociation from the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), or National Association of Latino/a Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) organizations on college campuses.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council promotes interaction through forums, meetings and other mediums for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions. Each constituent member organization determines its own strategic direction and program agenda. Today, the primary purpose and focus of member organizations remains camaraderie and academic excellence for its members and service to the communities they serve. Each promotes community awareness and action through educational, economic, and cultural