Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO)s have a rich history of traditions and activities. This is not a history of BGLOs, but what makes us different from others, and what we do best.
In the beginning Black Greek Letter Organizations were created to provide brotherhood/sisterhood for African-Americans attending college. They were not welcome in the other established Greek Letter Societies so they created their own. These founding members of Black Greek Letter Organizations make up the NPHC members.
From this point all these materials are to educate non-greeks about the former history of the intake for Black greek members
The more than 11 FAQ about Black Greek Organizations
(No holds barred)
1: What's the history behind the rivalry between the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha & Delta Sigma Theta, sororities?
This can be traced back to the year 1912 at Howard University. The 22 members of the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority decided they wanted to change the direction of the organization. After splitting into committees and formulating reports on the idea at hand, they unanimously decided to change the name, colors, motto, creed, the shield, and the organization of Alpha Kappa Alpha. A graduate member (Nellie Quander) objected to idea at the finalizing meeting, and rallied enough support from other graduate members in the area and together they shot down the idea. The 22 members persistent in their cause were denounced of their membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha. They reorganzied under their own sorority known as Delta Sigma Theta. Thus the 22 founders of DST were in fact members of AKA. Thus from this the famous rivalry was started. *HINT: Delta (means change)
2. In relationship to Phi Beta Sigma & Zeta Phi Beta, what is meant by "true family"?
"True Family" is a term used by members of Phi Beta Sigma & Zeta Phi Beta for they were and still are the first constitutionally bonded Greek fraternity/sorority, brother/sister organization. Sharing the several of the same cardinal principles within each respective organization. Sigma & Zeta both share the same colors, creed, symbols from their shields, and the name sake of the PHI BETA. They are true originators of the terms "frat" & "soror".
3. So the Alpha's & AKA's, Delta's & Omega's, & Kappa's & SG Rho's aren't brother/sister organizations?
Formally the Greek organizations above aren't brother/sister or frat/soror. But each hold a mutual alliance to each other. "Phi-Skee" & "Skee-Phi" are terms used by the Alpha's and AKA's to represent their bond of being the first Black Greek Fraternity & Sorority respectively. But they aren't neccesarily frat or soror, but in many cases they do respect each organization as frat or soror. But The Alpha's and AKA's are known as the first family of Black Greeks. On some campuses the AKA's & Kappa's call each other frat or soror. United under the cause that "pretty boys like pretty girls, cause pretty girls like pretty boys." There's also the terms "Phi-Oop" & "Oop-Phi" is which the Alpha's & Delts'a use to acknowledge each other.
The Delta's & Omega's share a bond that can be traced back to the early years of their organizations. Although they aren't constitutionally bonded like Zeta & Sigma, they do indeed consider each other frat & soror. One of Delta's founders Edna Coleman was the wife of Omega founder Frank Coleman. Several Delta's dated Omega men early on within the early establishment of each. The Delta's flower the African violet has a double meaning, and one symbolizes the bond that they had with the Omegas whose colors are none other than purple & gold.
Kappa Alpha Psi & Sigma Gamma Rho hold the distinction of both being founded at universities in the state of Indiana. Which are about 50 miles away from each other. Back in the day SG Rho & Kappa's were tight due to the low African American population in the state. The SG Rho's did in fact learn how to cane from the brother's of K A Psi, but they aren't frat or soror.
4. What's the distinction between an "Omega Man" & a "Que Dog"?
An "Omega Man" is the name sake term bestowed upon members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. once their members join the organization. A "Que-Dog" is a mythical term used to identify pledges while on line during the final stage of the pledge process. It's important to understand that "Que Dogs", canine calls, and camouflage paraphenelia doesn't directly reflect the enitre outlook of the organization as set in the guideline by the Grand Chapter. *Please note* Never address or call a member of Omega a "Que-Dog" for it is rather disrespectful. In essence "MEMBERSHIP HAS IT'S PRIVLEDGES!"
4b. "Why the DOG image"?
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. does not have, nor has it ever endorsed, a mascot of any type to be representative of the organization. So why do so many Omega Men like the "dog" image? "WE ARE NOT DOGS even though those who misunderstand us would view us otherwise because we possess a dawg-matic determination to make changes and the tenacity to see them through, the loyalty of man's best friend and the guardianship to protect the ones we truely love."
This analogy was written by the chapter members of Fayetteville State.
5. Was Alpha Phi Alpha the first Black Greek Organization?
Although credit is given to Alpha Phi Alpha as being the first & oldest Black Greek Lettered Organization, it must be known that Alpha Phi Alpha is the first to organize successfully and expand into new chapters. But before Alpha, there was Sigma Pi Phi. The fraternity was founded under the direction of Henry M. Minton in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania. This organization was founded for Negro's within the professional ranks of society. So in light Alpha Phi Alpha is the first to successfully grow, and is the oldest to date. But Sigma Pi Phi was the first.
6. Why do Black Greek organizations put each other down and not strive for unity?
Unity amongst Black Greek letter organizations was first implemented in 1930 at Howard University. In this year the National Pan Hellenic Council was formed as a governing body to aid organizations in a bond of common causes. Although some Greek persons do take Greek life to seriously, it is important that these persons have missed the enitre purpose of their founders and the organizations goals for the "upliftment of the black race". Each organization does employ chants, steps that out right in a Non-Greek persons eyes would be disrespectful. But it's merely a competition or a rivarly to keep each other on there toes. But each fraternity and sorority has a mutual understanding and respect for the others, it's just most of the time Non-Greeks don't see that. All non-greeks look for is who clowns the next group at a probate show, or who steps the best. Non-greeks look for the DRAMA and not the positives.
7. What do I need in order to pledge?
1st: You must be a full-time student at an accredited four year university or college. Matriculating towards a bachelor's degree.
2nd: You will have to have the GPA in order to join a Black Greek fraternity or sorority. Each organization has set guideline for the g.p.a. within the organization. The typical cummlative g.p.a. across the board is a 2.5. But it depends on the organization. The Kappa's national gpa is a 2.3, the AKAs are thinking of raising their g.p.a. of a 2.5 to a 2.8 nationally, the Delta's from a 2.5 to a 3.0. To be on the safe side a 2.5 g.p.a. is recommended. It also varies on college campuses also. Some colleges mandates a g.p.a. level for Greeks on there campus. Like at Tuskegee University students need to have a 2.8 cummlative g.p.a. in order to pledge.
3rd: Letters of Recommendation! Depending on the organization you'll
need anywhere from 1 to 3 depending on the organization. These letters
of recommendation must be from a member of the fraternity or sorority who
Financial: is a member whose financial obligations like dues and fees are paid. Both on a local and national level. Also your letters must come from someone who knows you personally, because recommendations are verified.
4th: Community service hours. Several fraternities and sororities require prospective members to have provided some type of public service within the community in which they live. The Top Public Service Groups include: Habitat for Humanity, Voter Registration, Peer-Mentor(Big Brother/Big Sister Program), The American Red Cross, or The Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts of America.
*Please note* Just because you meet all 4 doesn't solidify your right to enter the organization. For after the informational, the interview, each financial member of the chapter votes on who qualifies and who doesn't.
8. Why do AKA's collect frogs, mice, and rabbits?
Within the organization of Alpha Kappa Alpha it's not traditional that members collect animals of any kind. The organization is represented by the ivy leaf and pearls only. Now some members do collect "frogs" which symbolize that the organization was growing in leaps and reaching new bounds. Some collect "rabbits" for it is said that when a baby rabbit is born the first sound it make's is a Skee-Wee. Then it's obvious why some AKA's collect "mice" for elephants are afraid of mice. Elephants are referring to a Delta Sigma Theta mascot.
9. Why do Delta women collect elephants & ducks?
The reason behind why Delta's collect ducks is currently unknown, but it is known there is a duck stage within DST's pledge process. But it is not public information around the symbolism behind the duck. It is known that Delta women collect elephants since one of the founders of DST was fond with the animal. So as a tribute they collect elephants as a tribute to their founders. It's tradition that once you cross the buring sands into Delta Land that the first 22 elephants that you acquire must be gifts. One representing each founder.
10. Why do Black Fraternities & Sororities employ Greek letters, instead of an African based alphabet?
The origin of Greek letters can be traced back to the first fraternity Phi Beta Kappa. It is important to understand that the Greek writing system and philosophies has connections to Africa, particularly Egypt. For the Greeks went to Africa and stole the writings, philosophies, and lifestyles of the Egyptians. Although each organization does employ Greek letters the objective of the fraternity was founded with the use of Greek letters. So in keeping with the tradition that constitutes the reasons why. But each particular organization employs some type of reference to Africa within the organization. To become Greek you should know the history that not only did the Greeks study in Egypt, but Jesus & Moses did as well. Also understand the concept of Phonetics and it's creators the Phonecians.
11. Are fraternities & sororities high classed gangs?
There are many argument whether or not fraternities & sororities are gangs. This basically goes in reference to the said similarities of the Black Greek pledge process and the gang initiation process. This statement is totally false. Fraternities and sororities are NOT gangs in any way, shape, or form.