The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC), also referred to as the Divine Nine, is the umbrella organization housing nine black Greek-letter organizations. The NPHC was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on May 10, 1930, and incorporated under laws in Illinois in 1937. Its member organizations include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. All together the Council’s membership exceeds 1.5 million individuals around the world. In 1995 the first international chapter was formed in Nassau, Bahamas.
The goal of the National Pan-Hellenic Council is to promote unity among its member organizations and address problems of mutual interest to those organizations. In the 1960s, for example, the NPHC became a crucial supporter of the efforts of civil rights organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). While the NPHC recognizes separate priorities of the organizations within the Council, it also encourages all member organizations to support the leading national programs of the other Greek letter fraternities and sororities. Some of these national programs include Alpha Phi Alpha’s Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation, Zeta Phi Beta’s Storks Nest, Kappa Alpha Psi’s Habitat for Humanity, and Alpha Kappa Alpha’s The Ivy Reading AKAdemy.
The NPHC also strongly supports cooperation between graduate and undergraduate chapters within each organization as a means of building community. Unlike most non-black fraternities and sororities, NPHC organizations maintain graduate chapters where individual fraternity and sorority members can continue the public service work in their communities that began during their undergraduate years. The NPHC encourages this continued participation to build a larger, stronger network to accomplish the social, educational, and political goals of the Council and of each member fraternity and sorority. The NPHC recognizes that graduate chapters also bridge the gap between campus communities and neighborhood communities and tries to encourage cooperation between the undergraduates and graduates. The NPHC continues to promote the vision first articulated in 1930, and the cooperation of its individual member organizations helps promote African American political unity, educational progress, and cultural uplift.