Few connections are stronger than those formed through fraternities and sororities. And since 1946, Black students at UW–Madison have found and nurtured those connections through the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). Founded in 1930 at Howard University, the NPHC oversees the nation’s nine historically African American Greek-letter fraternities and sororities, colloquially known as the Divine Nine. The NPHC at UW–Madison currently supports six of these groups: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
Since its founding, the NPHC at UW–Madison has been “a cornerstone for the survival of communities of color on this campus.” Most recently, the council — in collaboration with the Student Inclusion Coalition and UW administration — has launched a fundraising effort to solidify, physically, the NPHC’s positive impact to Black students on the UW campus. The Divine Nine Garden Plaza Fund will create a garden space and place historical markers recognizing the contributions of the NPHC at UW–Madison.
Below are some photos from the university archives and photo libraries that highlight the NPHC at UW–Madison. We’d love to add your story to this virtual Divine Nine scrapbook; share your photos and memories with us, and we’ll add them to this page.
A page from the 1963–64 yearbook shows the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. The student in the front row, furthest left, is Badger hall-of-famer Lou Holland Sr. ’65. Photo courtesy of UW Archives
Members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity perform a dance at the Multicultural Student Center. Photo courtesy of UW Archives
A Phi Beta Sigma member performs at Wisconsin Welcome in 1994. Photo courtesy of UW Archives
Delta Sigma Theta members are pictured at a recruitment booth during the Multicultural Student Organization Fair in 1999, which is a part of the annual Multicultural Orientation and Reception (MCOR). Photo courtesy of UW Archives
Two Delta Sigma Theta members celebrate their graduation outside of the Kohl Center in 2002. Photo courtesy of UW Archives
Zeta Phi Beta member Tamara Middleton ’06 stops for a photo during the 2006 commencement festivities. Photo courtesy of UW Archives
New graduate Fatima Jallow (far left) poses with her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters following UW–Madison’s 2015 winter commencement ceremony at the Kohl Center. Photo by Jeff Miller/University Communications
Representatives from Alpha Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma step dance down State Street in the 2015 Homecoming parade. Photo by Jeff Miller/University Communications
UW students take part in the Body Positivity and Black Sexuality Paint Night workshop held in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority at Wheelhouse Studios at the Memorial Union in 2016. Photo by Bryce Richter/University Communications
Keven Stonewall ’17 (center) celebrates with his Alpha Phi Alpha brothers at winter commencement in 2017. Photo by Jeff Miller/University Communications
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha perform at the Multicultural Orientation and Reception in September 2017. Photo by Jeff Miller/University Communications
Sisters of Zeta Xi Core Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority circle student keynote speaker Jada Kline ’17 (center) and two other recent graduates as the group sings a sorority song following UW–Madison’s winter commencement in 2017. Photo by Jeff Miller/University Communications
Standing at center, world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni poses for a photo with sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority during a meet-and-greet session at the Gordon Dining and Event Center. Photo by Jeff Miller/University Communications
This story originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of Badger Vibes. Learn more about this monthly email newsletter from WAA, and sign up for the mailing list.