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Rhodes College Plaza Honors Historically Black Sororities, Fraternities

Rhodes College will unveil and dedicate its new National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza on March 23, at 11 a.m., south of the Bryan Campus Life Center.

The plaza, in the heart of the campus, pays tribute to the nine National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) fraternities and sororities, commonly known as the Divine Nine.

In 2022, a group of students made a request to Rhodes College President Dr. Jennifer Collins for the physical site. “It recognizes and celebrates the impact and importance of historically Black sororities and fraternities,” she said. “I am very excited to officially dedicate this campus space during the college’s SpringFest and Black Students and Alumni Family Reunion.”

The new National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza at Rhodes College.The new National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza at Rhodes College.Most Black fraternities and sororities were founded in the early 1900s, during an era when Black people faced race-related discrimination and were denied certain rights and privileges at Predominately White Institutions. Established in the early 1930s, the National Pan-Hellenic Council serves as an umbrella organization for the Divine Nine (listed in order of their founding), to engage in collective programming and to promote civic engagement, scholarship, camaraderie, and real-world action and leadership:

·    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.

·   Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.

As a part of the college’s landscape, the NPHC Plaza will feature nine plaques displaying each organization’s national founding date, colors, coat of arms, and motto. Current local chapter presidents or representatives will unveil the plaques at the upcoming ceremony.

Rhodes College senior Asya Bray is a member of the Nu Phi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and served as the NPHC Plaza planning and design chair.

“Today, we are the navigators of this historical legacy. While celebrating the historically Black sororities and fraternities, we continue to invest in the next generation of Rhodes NPHC,” said Bray. “The NPHC Plaza was a dream to foster connections between NPHC and the rest of the Rhodes campus, to be a space for a group of organizations who want to leave their mark, and to educate future members and admirers. Let’s reflect on the past even as we are reminded that today we are building a culture of belonging.”

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