racially segregated

anonymous asked:

1. Hi! I guess I'm not totally sure if you'll relate but I feel like you'll at least get where I'm coming from. Do you ever feel like sort of a minority within a minority? I swear, so often I'll start, say, reading a non-fiction book about lesbians (& it doesn't even have to be terribly political or anything) & I'll get like 5 pages in & realize it's a book written by a bisexual masquerading as a lesbian. I also feel like I get so much disappointment from so many supposedly important pieces of

2. (academic, political, feminist) writing about lesbians because inevitably so many of them turn out to be written by political lesbians, about lesbianism as a ~feminist choice~, etc. & they carry such disdain for us simple, stupid “born this way” lesbians. Even less serious things like watching a lesbian movie or reading a lesbian fiction novel often ends up disappointing because half of the content is focused on men or some character’s long past (or even present, despite being marketed or
3. framed as a lesbian character) with men. It’s so frustrating. You seek out lesbian writing or media & so often it has non-lesbians at the helm. This is going off into a different direction, but additionally it feels like the vast majority of lesbian media & writings seem so focused on lesbians who have long histories with men. It just feels incredibly alienating as a lesbian who doesn’t relate to that at all. I don’t think that I’m better than anyone else, but it just sucks feeling like
4. there’s nothing for you or about you out there, even in what’s supposed to be your niche. I’m sure I’m hardly the only lesbian who feels this way & I’m sure other lesbians who are marginalized in other ways feel a similar sense of isolation, whether they’re lesbians of color who feel alienated due to so much lesbian media focusing on white women, they’re disabled lesbians who rarely see anything representing them, etc. It’s just getting old feeling tricked all the time when I start reading
5. some writing on lesbians only to find it’s about political lesbians, bisexuals masquerading as lesbians, het women waxing poetic about their ~choice~ to prioritize women (as if that has anything to do with lesbianism)…& basically anything but female homosexuality. Anyway I’ll quit clogging up your inbox now haha!

I share your frustration, anon… There’s really nothing for lesbians out there and goldstar lesbians even less so. We’re just anathema to this culture, and constantly reminded of it by the defeaning silence about our experiences.

“so many supposedly important pieces of (academic, political, feminist) writing about lesbians inevitably turn out to be written by political lesbians, & they carry such disdain for us simple, stupid “born this way” lesbians.” I talked about this a lot with oceanlesbian a few months ago when we were reading Tamsin Wilton’s Lesbian Studies. Although she makes a lot of interesting points, we felt that some parts sounded iffy or not like something a lesbian would say, and chalked it up to the fact that you can’t be a lesbian in academia and get anything published unless you are willing to toe the line and queerify your speech. But then there was a chapter where Wilton quoted a homophobic academic who said “Lesbians who protest that their relationship is better than any possible intimacy with a man do not know what they are really missing”, and her rebuttal was something like “This man is so ignorant that he seems unaware of the substantial numbers of women who choose lesbianism after years of heterosexuality!”
Even if you carefully filter your reading material so that all of it is (purportedly) written by lesbians, it’s always this guessing game, “Is the author a real lesbian making a few lesbophobic remarks here and there to pay lip service to bihets to get them off her back, or is she a lesbophobic mlw calling herself a lesbian?” and it usually ends up being the latter. It’s exhausting.

“Even less serious things like reading a lesbian fiction novel often ends up disappointing because half of the content is focused on men” So true, and it’s hard to imagine how we could get more lesbian characters with no history with men when we’re already vilified just for wanting lesbian fiction to have lesbian  rather than bisexual characters - I was talking with @supergiraffes recently about this “lesbian” publishing house that published a disgusting article on their website last month titled “Bitching about Bisexuality”, in which they essentially called lesbians evil for asking to have separate categories for “lesbian fiction” and “bisexual fiction” - so that they would stop stumbling upon hetero sex scenes in books marketed as “lesbian fiction”. Sounds evil, right? Of course the author called this biphobic and said “Whaaat? ‘Books written by bisexuals shouldn’t be counted as lesbian fiction. Books with bisexuals as main characters shouldn’t be counted as lesbian fiction.’ Lesbians said these things. Lesbians put these things in writing.” Evil, evil lesbians. This bi woman, endorsed by the “lesbian” publishing house, not only characterised this reasonable request as oppression, saying “a marginalized community still can’t help but marginalize others” but also compared it to racial segregation and lesbians to racist whites defending Jim Crow laws.
The last sentences of her article are “We’re all queer. Get the fuck used to it.”

That’s not even the worst part - supergiraffes wrote a post (not tagging them or anything) saying she was looking for books written by lesbians, with a lesbian main character, and this publishing house that claims to be a lesbian company publishing lesbian fiction replied on her post telling her to check out their books since they are “by and for queer ladies.” When supergiraffes said she was specifically looking for lesbian, not queer books, Ylva Publishing replied that they “used the term queer because not everyone looking for ‘lesbian books’ is determined to exclude all other queer women from the narrative.”
When a lesbian writing a post on her own personal blog about how hard it is to find any book that reflects her experiences is immediately shut down by a lesbian publishing house who writes “lesbian books” in scare quotes and scolds her for being “determined to exclude all other” groups, I think we can say we’ve hit rock bottom.

As you say, all of this “has non-lesbians at the helm.” That’s exactly the point Julia Robertson was making in that article I just reblogged - “Publications that are lesbian in name, make it seem like we’re okay with redefining ourselves, erasing ourselves… We’re not. Someone needs to fight and give lesbians a voice. Because lesbians don’t currently have a voice. We have the illusion of a voice. And the silencing of lesbian voices within the alphabet is unparalleled. It’s 2017 and we’ve been so heavily censored, that we’ve gone underground.”

BTS You Never Walk Alone - Spring Day MV Theory: The Untold Story

by: @sugasuite (edited: 170222 for pt 7)

Whose story is often unheard and untold?

The Discriminated… The Minorities…

When Kim Namjoon said You Never Walk Alone was the Untold Story… He wasn’t kidding. BigHit has done it again! Though this MV also fit the story of the boys’ journey, they still managed to discuss an underlying controversial issue.

SYMBOLISMS:

1.     OMELAS: DISCRIMINATION OF THE WEAK

In case you haven’t read the story… Here is a rundown

First of all, let me say, this story is riveting in both its simplicity and complexity; and you could finish it in less than 15 minutes. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is an award winning short story written by Ursula Le Guin. The story starts with the narrator describing a utopian place called Omelas as the Summer Festival starts. Everything about the city is idealistic and the narrator even invites the reader to imagine his/her own utopian scenario and imagine that to be Omelas because Omelas’ perfection and happiness was hard to simply describe. The narrator claims that the people of Omelas were not stupid, that this was not the reason why they were happy, but he also states that the people of Omelas lived without guilt.

As vague and hard as it was for the narrator to describe Omelas, her description of the small, frail impoverished child was vivid. People of Omelas knew about the child’s existence, locked in a small basement but none of them helped or saved the child. The narrator believes that the child served as reminder for the people of a world opposite to what they have. The absence of the child makes what they have pointless and therefore the child’s existence was poignant for their system.

The more incredible part though, the part that got the narrator amazed, were the people who left Omelas. Those who chose to walk alone away from the surfaced perfection toward the unknown when they have seen the child.

In the MV you can see how their initial excitement of being in Omelas slowly changed. As if taking in what Omelas truly was. 

Kookie goes to the desolate Omelas where ironically the No Vacancy sign was still lit. Like how minorities are refused entry when clearly there is still room. 

In the end, unlike in the book where the citizens who face the realities of Omelas left alone, they all left Omelas together.


2.     Snow Piercer: DISCRIMINATION OF THE CLASSES


Snowpiercer was a movie released in 2013. in the movie, the world was set into an infernal winter after an experiment to solve global warming backfires. The remaining survivors were those on board the Snowpiercer. By 2031, segregation was eminent. Elites inhabit the extravagant front cars and the “scum” inhabit the tail in squalid and brutal conditions. Under watch by guards, they are brought only gelatinous protein bars to eat and kept in their place in the social order by Minister Mason, while sometimes small children are taken away.

RICH SECTION:

POOR SECTION:

Kinda Hunger Games-ish huh?

Rebellion broke out because it seemed like the oppressed have finally had enough. Many died due to the rebellious attacks and the head of the keeper of the peace for the Snowpiercer told the leader of the revolution that it was he who planned the rebellion to reduce the population and maintain the balance of the sealed ecosystem, and subsequently orders the elimination of 74% of the remaining tail passengers. He explains the importance of using fear and chaos to maintain a necessary order and leadership on the train.

The leader of the revolution almost accepted the offer of the head peace keeper to lead what remained of the Snowpiercer but decided to continue the fight when he learned that small children from the tail section are being trapped as replacement parts for “extinct” machinery and that those in the tail section were literally being kept alive for spare parts.

In the end, an explosion happens that causes an avalanche. The train gets derailed and only two survive, one girl and one boy. They alight the train and see a polar. They learn that life was actually possible outside the oppressive train.

In the MV, Kookie and RM is shown riding the train but they keep entering the doors at the back. The train traverses a snowy terrain.

When the line stops, they all go down together and see a dying tree amidst a grassy field. It was the only semblance of life present, but it was enough to hang their shoe on it and mark the place as theirs.


3.     Safety Pin Earrings: FIGHT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

“#Safetypin I’m an ally… All those exposed to hate and violence, you’re not alone….”

No, it’s not a fashion statement, there is a deeper meaning.


4.     Laundromat/ Segregation: RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

Honestly, where else can the term segregation be used that seems publicly acceptable?

Whites separated from colored.

This reminded me of a racial case I studied in law school, Yick Wo vs Hopkins 118 U.S. 356 (1886) (Who the F? would have thought I’d use that shit here?) 

The immigration of Chinese to California began in 1850 at the beginning of the Gold Rush. As the Chinese became more successful, tensions with Americans grew. Californians were wary of the cultural and ethnic differences.

Yick Wo, was a laundry facility owned by Sang Lee. After twenty years of owning the facility as an undocumented immigrant, provisions set out by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors said that he could not continue to run his business due to an ordinance that was evidently racially targeted against all Chinese business owners.

This case was the first case where the United States Supreme Court ruled that a law that is race-neutral on its face, but is administered in a prejudicial manner, is an infringement of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the MV you can see that the blacks and whites inside were mixed. Whites, Blacks, toss it in! They’re one and the same.


5.     Mountain of Clothes: ALL EQUAL!

In 2010, Christian Boltanski created a 40-foot-tall art installation at the Park Avenue Armory.

For Boltanski, clothes are simply a placeholder for 6000 real human beings who lived real lives. He told a journalist, “In my work there have always been a lot of photos of people, heartbeats of people—for me the clothing are people.” The magnitude of the pile illustrates the heaviness of all the hearts now lost.

In this work, Boltanski said that the mountain was an eternal afterlife of sorts, where every individual rests after death. In Boltanski’s view, we are all mixed together in death, no longer the distinct individuals we were in life. We become part of a great pile, individual pieces that have lost their minute details — a single, colossal entity.

This piece of art has been made in various cities all over the world.

BTS made themselves part of this mountain, a symbol of unity in lives lost due to discrimination.


6.     Nods to the Sewol Ferry Tragedy: INJUSTICE

So many questions about these shoes. What I know… Jimin picked it up from the shore… and looked pale, kinda like he drowned.

It could honestly have so many meanings…

But given that this is an injustice close to their hearts, they might be giving nods to the Sewol Ferry tragedy.

The Sewol Ferry was a passenger ferry that capsized on 16 April 2014, killing 304 of the 476 people on board. More than 300 passengers were Danwon High School pupils on an organised trip, but only 75 students survived.

Months later, the captain of the ferry escaped the death penalty and has instead been sentenced to 36 years in jail for his role in the tragedy. 

Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty and before the trial even started, President Park Geun-hye made a public statement condemning the crew’s action, saying that their decision to abandon ship had been “tantamount to murder”. The sentence means that the captain, aged 69, is likely to spend the rest of life in jail.

In December 2016, it was brought to light that 9000 artists were discriminated and blacklisted for criticizing the government and having a dissenting opinion in the Sewol case. In January, media leaked that Bangtan and Bighit donated money to the families of the Sewol family victims.

In the end of the video, Jimin is again looking sullen and holding the shoes.He was looking at the tree as if deciding what to do with it.

Another symbolism with a lot of interpretations in the video is the “shoes on the wire”. One other possible meaning for this is to give honor to the memory of a life lost.


7. The Yellow Ribbon: Symbol of Hope and Unity

The yellow ribbon has been used as a symbol of hope all over the world for a multitude of causes. From the desire for the return of American hostages held in Tehran between 1979 and 1981 to a fight against a dictatorship from a 21 year long regime in the Philippines in 1986. 

The L finger symbol stood for the Filipino word “LABAN” which means FIGHT

For some it became a symbol of home coming and being reunited, hence the famous English song with lines that go, “Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree”. It symbolizes the hope of freedom, justice and return. This yellow ribbon has held different meanings to different groups of people but in all those times, it served one purpose, to be a symbol of unity for those part of a cause.

In South Korea, the yellow ribbon started as a symbol of hope for the return of 9 missing children from the Sewol Ferry Tragedy but it slowly grew to be more than that. It served as a reminder that the families that sought justice did not stand alone. The government slowly saw this as a symbol of rebellion and defiance. In truth, it sent a silent but unified message against the people who were the source of the injustice committed. 

In the MV, you see Kookie having sole awareness (my obnoxious way of saying he was dead ass staring at the camera) while everyone was a moving blur.

After a while, he seemed to slowly realize that everyone else was moving around him and he joins the crowd.

Two possible meanings. First, the pessimistic view, is that Kookie was the one aware of the issues but no one else was. Everyone else was going about their own business and eventually Kookie joined the crowd…

The second possible meaning? The one I prefer. The more optimistic view, is that due to the movement of everyone around him, Kookie became aware of the need to move and act and joined the movement for the yellow ribbon cause.

Though sometimes you feel like you stand alone in the crowd fighting for something… look around, look closely… there are more people who understand your plight. Never stop moving. Eventually, if your cause is truly powerful, more people will move with you.


CONCLUSION!

Bangtan’s message was clear. For those who suffered injustice or have been discriminated against for being part of a minority, we know your untold stories. Your road may be unknown but YOU NEVER WALK ALONE


From the Book: The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas

Each one goes alone, youth or girl man or woman. Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. 

“They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

From The Movie Inception:

Cobb: You’re waiting for a train. A train that’ll take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you. But you can’t know for sure. Yet it doesn’t matter. Now, tell me why? 
Mal: Because we’ll be together! 

See the difference? :)

The victims of the Birmingham church bombing shall forever be written in the history books as a clear example of racial violence. However, the related killing of another young African American boy, seems to have been completely forgotten about. On 15 September, 1963, 13-year-old Virgil Lamar Ware, an eighth grader that dreamed of becoming a lawyer, was returning home from a shopping trip with his older brother, James. Virgil was riding on the handlebars of his brother’s bike when they tragically encountered Larry Joe Sims and Michael Lee Farley, two white teenagers who had just attended a segregation rally. Sims reached for his gun and shot the oblivious Virgil in the cheek and chest. He died on the Docena-Sandusky Road on the outskirts of Birmingham. A true tale of injustice, the two killers received no prison time. Convicted by an all white jury, they were sentenced to a measly two years probation.

Willie Francis was only 17 years old when he was executed - for the first time. After being convicted of murder he was sentenced to die in the electric chair. The first execution attempt was carried out on 3rd of May 1946, and was botched by the drunk prison guard who was responsible for setting up the electric chair. Once the chair was turned on Wille was heard crying out for help, shouting "Take it off! Take it off! Let me breathe!“, despite the fact a lethal current of electricity was supposed to be travelling through his body at that point in time.

Following the botched execution attempt Willie’s lawyer argued against the state making another attempt on his life, citing double jeopardy and cruel and unusual punishment as the legal precedent - due to the fact that this would be second execution carried out against Willie. The legal battle failed, and Willie was finally executed on the 9th of May 1947, at the age of 18.

While Willie is known for the double execution attempt, the case surrounding his murder conviction is open to scrutiny. Willie offered numerous other names for police to investigate when he was initially arrested, and when he confessed to the crime there was no legal counsel present. The murder weapon was also found to belong to someone else - namely a deputy sheriff who had previously threatened to kill the victim. None of this was followed up, there was no defence presented at Willie’s trial, and the true nature of his guilt remains an open question.

violaslayvis submitted:

I would like to submit my friend Shay, a bi black trans scholar & organizer in Chicago. From his website http://decolonizeallthethings.com: “I’m Shay Akil McLean (twitter.com/Hood_Biologist), I’m a Pan Africanist (Nkrumah Toureist/scientific socialist) & anti-colonial community organizer (on & offline). I’m a Transman of African descent on stolen Indigenous land, writer, public intellectual, human skeletal biologist & sociologist.

I’m a sociologist & biological anthropologist studying STS/HASTS, bioethics, medical ethics, philosophy of biology, genomics, health, knowledge production and medicine. As a scholar I study how systemic inequity results in the differential distribution of health, illness, quality of life, and death. I’m currently working on my PhD in Sociology, specializing in STS/HASTS, genomics, & bioinformatics.

My academic work includes studying the impact of social, political, & economic inequality on human skeletal biology. My Master’s work looked at the impact of food insecurity, high poverty, & racial residential segregation on the dental health of poor Blacks in the 4th poorest city in the U.S..  It is through this work that I aim to construct community based grassroots interventions that change the marginalized’s relationships to knowledge and power to strategically gain equitable access to the very resources that heavily impact disease risk & life determinants while also resisting the ever present processes of settlement and displacement.”

He consistently provides invaluable knowledge on both on his website & his twitter so any donations at http://cash.me/ShayAkil would go directly towards a black trans person.

Lionel Richie grew up in racially segregated Alabama and once unwittingly drank from a whites only fountain. White men confronted his father, who grabbed Richie and ran off. Richie asked his father why he didn’t stay and fight. His dad answered, “I had a choice: to be a man or be a father.”

He managed to be both.

Katherine Johnson: NASA ‘Hidden Computer’


Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an Black American physicist, space scientist, and mathematician who contributed to America’s aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers during a time when NASA was still racially segregated. The Black women who were a part of this team Katherine was in were known to be called the ‘Hidden Computers’, due to their vital calculations that helped NASA send humans to the moon and back safely but having treated the women differently and in many ways hidden away as they saved lives.

3

AMERICA’S (ANTI) BLACK CODES

In 1865 and 1866, after the Civil War, Southern states passed “Black Codes” which were laws to restrict the freedom of Black people in the region. In the North these codes were viewed as a way for the South to get around the 13th amendment and to allow slavery to exist under a different name. The defining feature of the post-Civil war Black Codes were vagrancy laws which allowed for the newly freed Black population to be arrested and sentenced to hard labor.

Examples of Black Codes included, but were not limited to: no Black person (“freedman”) could own property or guns, Black people were prohibited from marrying white people, Black people were restricted in where they could live or rent, Black people could not join the militia, Black people needed permission to do work other than agricultural labor, domestic (service) work, or manual labor, no voting rights for Black people, Black people were not allowed to change jobs, and if a Black person had no job they could be arrested and forced to work for no pay, Black people could not testify against white people in a court of law, Black people were not allowed to assemble together without the presence and approval of a white person, it was illegal to teach Black people to read or write, and all public facilities were racially segregated, including cemeteries and all forms of transportation. (These discriminatory racial codes served as the model for many of America’s current unwritten social norms - as well as some written government policies - that are still in effect today, and not only in the South).

In 1866 Congress reacted to the Black Codes by placing the Confederate States under the rule of the American Union Army and as part of Reconstruction, passed laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment.

Unfortunately, due largely to The Compromise of 1877, Reconstruction would last in the “former” slave states of the South only until 1877, for eleven short years.

10

TSOCG presents day two of Black History Month 2014: “The Divine Nine”

These are the nine historically Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) that together comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). The NPHC was created in an era when racial segregation and disenfranchisement plagued African Americans. The establishment of each of these organizations bore witness to the fact that despite hardships African Americans refused to accept a status of inferiority.

The organization’s stated purpose and mission in 1930:

“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.”

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.: Founded December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Its founders are known as the “Seven Jewels” and its principles are “manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind.” Its motto is First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.

Alpha Phi Alpha evolved into a primarily service-oriented organization and provided leadership and service during the Great Depression, both World Wars, and during the Civil Rights Movement. The organization addressed (and still addresses) social issues such as apartheid, AIDS, urban housing, and other economic, cultural, and political issues of interest to people of color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and World Policy Council are programs of Alpha Phi Alpha. It also conducts philanthropic programming initiatives with March of Dimes, Head Start, Boy Scouts of America, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Notable members of Alpha Phi Alpha: Jamaican Prime Minister Norman Manley, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Olympian Jesse Owens, Justice Thurgood Marshall, United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, singer Lionel Richie and Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.:Founded January 15, 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by a group of twenty students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle.  Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913.

After the organization’s establishment over a century ago, Alpha Kappa Alpha has helped to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs. Members have improved education through independent initiatives, contributed to community-building by creating programs and associations, such as the Mississippi Health Clinic, and influenced federal legislation by Congressional lobbying through the National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights. The sorority works with communities through service initiatives and progressive programs relating to education, family, health, and business.

Notable members of Alpha Kappa Alpha: actress Loretta Devine, actress Phylicia Rashad, author Toni Morrison,  and vocalist Cassandra Wilson.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.: Founded as Kappa Alpha Nu on the night of January 5, 1911 by ten African-American college students at Indiana University Bloomington.

The motto of the fraternity is, “Achievement in every field of human endeavor”. During this time there were very few African-American students at the majority white campus at Bloomington, Indiana and they were a small minority due to the era of the Jim Crow laws. Many African-American students rarely saw each other on campus and were discouraged or prohibited from attending student functions and extracurricular activities by white college administrators and fellow students. African-American students were denied membership on athletic teams with the exception of track and field. The racial prejudice and discrimination encountered by the founders strengthened their bond of friendship and growing interest in starting a social group.

Some believe the Greek letters Kappa Alpha Nu were chosen as a tribute to Alpha Kappa Nu, but the name became an ethnic slur among racist factions. Founder Elder Watson Diggs, while observing a young initiate compete in a track meet, overheard fans referring to the member as a “kappa alpha nig”, and a campaign to rename the fraternity ensued. The resolution to rename the group was adopted in December 1914, and the fraternity states, “the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter fraternity in every sense of the designation.” Kappa Alpha Psi has been the official name since April 15, 1915.

Notable Members of Kappa Alpha Psi: Gospel musician Byron Cage, comedian Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles, and Civil Rights leader Ralph D. Abernathy.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.:  Founded on November 17, 1911 by three Howard University juniors, Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman, and their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just. Omega Psi Phi is the first predominantly African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university.

Since its founding, Omega Psi Phi’s stated purpose has been to attract and build a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its Cardinal Principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift.

In 1924, at the urging of fraternity member Carter G. Woodson, the fraternity launched Negro History and Literature Week in an effort to publicize the growing body of scholarship on African-American history. Encouraged by public interest, the event was renamed “Negro Achievement Week” in 1925 and given an expanded national presence in 1926 by Woodson’s Association for the Study of Negro Life as “Negro History Week.” Expanded to the full month of February from 1976, this event continues today as Black History Month.

Since 1945, the fraternity has undertaken a National Social Action Program to meet the needs of African Americans in the areas of health, housing, civil rights, and education. Omega Psi Phi has been a patron of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since 1955, providing an annual gift of $350,000 to the program.

Notable members of Omega Psi Phi: poet Langston Hughes, comedians Rickey Smiley, Steve Harvey, and Bill Cosby.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.: Founded on January 13, 1913, by 22 collegiate women at Howard University. These women wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need. The first public act of Delta Sigma Theta was the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington D.C., March 3, 1913. Delta Sigma Theta was incorporated as a perpetual body in 1930. Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is the largest African-American Greek-lettered organization.

Since its founding, Delta Sigma Theta has been at the forefront of creating programming to improve political, education, and social and economic conditions. Delta Sigma Theta has been pivotal in assisting the African American and International communities through education, lobbying, and economic initiatives, including Delta Days at the State and Nation’s Capitol, Delta Days at the United Nations, Summits and various conferences which focus on pertinent issues of the day. In addition to establishing independent programming, The Sorority consistently collaborates with community and corporate organizations Such as Chase (bank), Habitat for Humanity, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Lawry’s, and General Electric to further its programming goals.

Notable members of Delta Sigma Theta: actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, singers Natalie Cole and Roberta Flack, and athlete Wilma Rudolph.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students with nine other Howard students as charter members. The fraternity’s founders (A. Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse, and Charles I. Brown) wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would exemplify the ideals of Brotherhood, Scholarship and Service while taking an inclusive perspective to serving the community as opposed to having an exclusive purpose.

The fraternity exceeded the prevailing models of Black Greek-Letter fraternal organizations by being the first to establish alumni chapters, youth mentoring clubs, a federal credit union, chapters in Africa, and a collegiate chapter outside of the United States, and is the only fraternity to hold a constitutional bond with a predominantly African-American sorority, Zeta Phi Beta (ΖΦΒ), which was founded on January 16, 1920, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., through the efforts of members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

Notable members of Phi Beta Sigma: George Washington Carver, James Weldon Johnson, Kwame Nkrumah, and activist Hosea Williams.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.:  Founded on January 16, 1920 by five collegiate women (Arizona Cleaver Stemmons, Myrtle Tyler Faithful, Viola Tyler Goings, Fannie Pettie Watts, and Pearl Anna Neal) at Howard University. The organization 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.”

In 1948, Zeta Phi Beta became the first Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa (in Monrovia, Liberia). It was also the first organization to establish adult and youth auxiliary groups and centralize its operations in a national headquarters. Today, there are also chapters in U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Bahamas, Japan, Korea, Barbados, and Haiti.

Zeta Phi Beta is the only NPHC sorority that is constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma. The sorority also maintains connections to several organizations including the NPHC, American Diabetes Association, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, National Council of Negro Women, and the United Negro College Fund.

The sorority also holdsZeta Day on the Hill, which provides an opportunity for Zetas to exercise another level of civic responsibility by learning the protocols for interacting with and the knowledge needed to maximize engagement with congressional representatives. As members of a “Community Conscious-Action Oriented” organization, Zetas schedule meetings with their representative or their representative’s designee to discuss, during brief sessions, issues of interest to the local, state and national Zeta membership.

On January 25, 2001, Zeta Phi Beta was granted Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status with the United Nations.

Notable members of Zeta Phi Beta: author Zora Neale Hurston, singer Sarah Vaughan, comedienne Sheryl Underwood, singers Minnie Riperton and Towanda Braxton.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.:  Founded on November 12, 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana by seven young educators. It was incorporated within the state of Indiana in December 1922 and became a national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted and the Alpha chapter was established.

The sorority is a non-profit whose aim is to enhance the quality of life within the community. Public service, leadership development and the education of youth are the hallmark of the organization’s programs and activities.

Founded in the midst of segregation, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is the only sorority of the four historically African-American sororities in the NPHC that was established on a predominantly white campus.

Notable members of Sigma Gamma Rho: singer Kelly Price, rapper MC Lyte, and actress Victoria Rowell.

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.: Founded on September 19, 1963 at Morgan State University (then Morgan State College) in Baltimore, Maryland. 

The fraternity was founded in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement even though there were already four other prominent historically Black fraternities at the time. Influences included organizations such as the Black Panthers, SNCC, and figures such as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. The Iota founders were distinguished from their peers as they were all non-traditional students. Being anywhere from three to five years older than their peers, many had served in the military, worked full-time while attending classes full-time, and had families with small children. These elements gave the Founders a different perspective than the typical fraternity member.

A key appeal of Iota Phi Theta is that, as an organization, it refuses to have its members bind themselves to a defined fraternal image but celebrates the individuality of its members.

Notable members of Iota Phi Theta: actor T.C. Carson and athlete Calvin Murphy.

The importance of the “Divine Nine”: During the time in which the first BGLO was established, African Americans across the country were faced with the harsh realities of race-related discrimination. As a result of the various situations that stemmed from these discriminatory practices, various organizations established by the African American community began to surface and some of them were Black Greek Letter Organizations. Since 1906—the founding year of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.—nine fraternities and sororities (affectionately known as the Divine Nine) have had the privilege of developing and establishing chapters throughout the United States and the world. The establishment of these brotherhoods and sisterhoods brought together men and women who were passionate about the goals and ideals of their organization and made a commitment to work together to make a difference in the world in which they lived.

More than this, they gave networking opportunities and all of the other benefits of being a member of a Greek-Letter Organization to people who were barred entry from the historically White Greek-Letter Organizations. The NPHC organizations stand apart from all others in that at their core stand scholarship and service to the community.

I am a proud and active member of an NPHC sorority myself, the lovely, alluring, remarkable, and oh SOOOOOO SWEET Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I love my organization, and I love my fellow black greeks…the history of all of our organizations shine brightly in all of our missions.

laugh.grow.change.[serendipity]