Southeastern to honor Black Greek letter organizations
Thursday, July 23, 2020
by: Tonya Lowentritt
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will honor Black Greek letter organizations
with construction of a plaza that marks each of the organizations with a plaque. Scheduled
for completion this fall, the NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) Greek Plaza will
be located outside of the university’s highly trafficked War Memorial Student Union
in the Student Union Park.
Since the early 1900s, Black Greek letter organizations have been an integral part of American history and collegiate life throughout the world. Dubbed “The Divine Nine” by author Lawrence C. Ross Jr., the nine organizations include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
Throughout their existence, the nine organizations have played a pivotal role in promoting scholarship and educational attainment, advancing philanthropic efforts, strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, and powering social justice movements. Governed by the NPHC, the organizations boast an impressive membership from civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.) to Grammy nominated R&B singer Kelly Price (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.).
“These Black Greek organizations have been a part of Southeastern’s campus life for well over a generation,” said President John L. Crain. “With a strong history of community service and philanthropy, these groups have shown us all ways that the Greek organizations can have a positive impact on members, the university and the community at large.”
The first of these organizations to charter on Southeastern’s campus was the Kappa Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in 1975. Since then, Black Greek organizations have had a significant and positive presence at Southeastern, which is why their historic legacy will be recognized with construction of the NPHC Greek Plaza, said former Student Government President and University of Louisiana Student Board member, Richard Davis, Jr.
Through this project, the brainchild of Davis, Southeastern will join universities across the country and become one of the first Louisiana universities to recognize the rich history of these organizations in such a public way.
“Beginning a couple of years ago when I was SGA Vice President and my predecessor, Seth Leto was President, we were looking for a way to commemorate these organizations that have meant so much to so many students, including myself,” said Davis. “This seemed like something that would showcase the pride and fraternity that the Black Greek organizations stand for,” he said.
With funding support by the Student Government Association, construction is underway. Southeastern plans to recognize Greek trailblazers as part of the unveiling of the plaza upon completion. A committee will be formed to nominate alumni, faculty, staff, and community leaders of each organization that have played a significant role at Southeastern, while being lifelong leaders with continued dedication to service.