Joining a fraternity or sorority can be a big part of the college years. However, there are nine historically black sororities and fraternities that go beyond the typical undergrad experience. These organizations are referred to as the “Divine Nine;” they provide service, scholarship, community development and a sense of belonging for a lifetime.  

“A lifelong dream of mine,” Quad Cities Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter president Ashley Allen said.

The “Divine Nine” dates to 1906. It is comprised of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity (1906), Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (1908), Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity (1911), Omega Psi Phi fraternity (1911), Delta Sigma Theta sorority (1913), Phi Beta Sigma fraternity (1914) , Zeta Phi Beta sorority (1920),  Sigma Gamma Rho sorority (1922) and Iota Phi Theta fraternity (1996). 

“A great honor to be able to wear these letters,” Allen said.

For decades the “Divine Nine” has been a pillar in the black community providing service, scholarship and most importantly, a sense of belonging.

“Sisterhood is just like a second family. They’re with you forever,” Quad Cities Delta Sigma Theta rep Benita Moore said.

Some notable members of the “Divine Nine” are vice president Kamala Harris, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, comedian Steve Harvey and civil rights leader Shirley Chisolm. However, their presence goes beyond notoriety. Over of the past year, the divine nine has given out millions in scholarships, even right here in the Quad Cities

“Not only do I represent this organization I represent this community” Quad Cities Omega Psi Phi member Justin Johnson said.

Park cleanups, voter registration, food drives and college prep are just a few of the many ways divine nine impacts the community.