Black Voices: Black fraternities and how they benefit universities

By Sara Molina | Published Feb 23, 2022

IDS file photo and Joe Schroeder | New members of Alpha Phi Alpha are introduced onstage at the fraternity’s probate 7 p.m. Feb. 22, 2020, in Alumni Hall. The organizations in the Divine Nine intend for Black students to form personal connections with people who have similar backgrounds.

In 1906, seven Black students attending Cornell University came together to create a Greek fraternity for African American men called Alpha Phi Alpha

It was founded at the beginning of the 20th century when Black people were facing immense hardships regarding education and university inclusion. After its foundation, students from universities across the nation began to form their own Greek life organizations. These sororities and fraternities are known today as the “Divine Nine.” 

With the last Black fraternity created in 1963, these organizations have been aiming to uplift the Black community while providing easier access to inclusion and community. 

More than a century later, IU senior Aahron Revell is the treasurer for the Gamma Eta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. Alpha has had prominent members in the past such as Lionel Richie, and Revell said he takes pride in his organization.

“There’s a lot of people I can say I’ve met in my time being in the chapter who are truly role models,” Revell said. “You try to hold yourself to a standard that makes not only yourself proud, but the people before you and the people that look up to the fraternity.”

Alpha Phi Alpha’s vision statement lists the core values as “service first, respect, embracing diversity, integrity, and perseverance.” Revell said his favorite aspect of being a part of Alpha is the emphasis on service.

“Being able to ask ‘What’s something you feel is necessary for other Black people on this campus to be able to enjoy their time and feel more acclimated and like a family?’ is one of my favorite things to do,” Revell said. “I love putting on events and being able to have a platform.”