Indiana University Bloomington honors its historically black fraternities and sororities in a public celebration outside the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.
A permanent row of limestone markers or "plots" bearing the names of America's nine original black Greek chapters -- known as the "Divine Nine" -- are arranged in an arc along the sidewalk that leads to the entrance of the Neal-Marshall building. A 10th plot represents the National Pan-Hellenic Council Inc., a collaborative of the nine chapters that was founded at Howard University in 1930.
James Wimbush, IU's vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, said the reason for use of the term "plots" in commemorating the Divine Nine on U.S. campuses traces back to post-Civil War times, when formerly enslaved African-American farmers were promised 40-acre plots for homestead development.
The plots are placed in order of when they received their charter at IU. Eight of the nine currently have active chapters at IU, and all have had a presence on the IU Bloomington campus.
IU's Divine Nine
• Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., founded at Indiana University on Jan. 5, 1911; Alpha Chapter chartered at IU on May 15, 1911.
• Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., founded at Howard University on Jan. 15, 1908; Tau Chapter chartered at IU on Dec. 16, 1922.
• Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., founded at Cornell University on Dec. 4, 1906; Gamma Eta Chapter chartered at IU on Sept. 11, 1947.
• Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., founded at Howard University on Nov. 17, 1911; Zeta Epsilon Chapter chartered at IU on Oct. 20, 1947.
• Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., founded at Howard University on Jan. 13, 1913; Gamma Nu Chapter chartered at IU on Nov. 8, 1947.
• Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., founded at Butler University on Nov. 12, 1922; Epsilon Chi Chapter chartered at IU on Oct. 18, 1971.
• Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., founded at Howard University on Jan. 9, 1914; Epsilon Iota Chapter chartered at IU on Jan. 3, 1972.
• Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., founded at Howard University on Jan. 16, 1920; Delta Epsilon Chapter chartered at IU on April 23, 1973.
• Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., founded at Morgan State University on Sept. 19, 1963; Gamma Delta Chapter founded at IU on Nov. 19, 1995.