"The truth may hurt, but it shall set you free"

The histories of black Greek letter organizations are, in fact, interwove with the history of America. Assuredly, if it has not been for some of the events that transpired in America, the birth of these minorities founded organizations would have taken place much later, if at all. This section is about the development and History of the black Greek Fraternity, but also to give a view of the events that surrounded and subsequently led to the beginnings of our beloved fraternity.

African Americans were always in an inferior position on America's soil ever since we were forced to arrive. Originally slaves, we were denied the rights given to free born Caucasians. Although our blood has been spilled to found this country, the credit for the framework of America has been given to Freemasonry. The influence of fraternal societies and Freemasonry worked its' way into American culture. Therefore, the first greek-letter organization on American soil was Phi Beta Kappa Society (12/1776- William and Mary College in Williamsburg, VA). PBK laid the foundation for honor societies based upon scholarship.

Because the founding of subsequent fraternities and sororities failed to fully include African Americans, coupled with the racism we were facing in the school systems, we were left with no alternative. With this spirit within them, the first Negro Greek organization was founded. Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (now boule') was born in Philadelphia, PA, 1904. Soon after, seven young collegiate succeeded in founding the first Negro social fraternity and thus began the trend of black fraternities and sororities to be founded on American soil:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.(12/06 Cornell U.).
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.(1/08 Howard U.),
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.(1/11 Indiana U.),
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.(11/11 Howard U.),
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.(1/13 Howard U.),
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.(1/9/14 Howard U.),
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.(1/16/20 Howard U.),
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.(11/22 Butler U.),
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.(9/63 Morgan State U.).

  • As the idea of Black Greek Organizations became rooted in American colleges, they had lost the ideas they were founded upon, and became, to an extent, exclusive and snobby.


    In ancient Egypt only a select few were chosen to learn the rights of the dead. These were the ones who wrote with hieroglyphs and taught and buried the pharaohs. There were tests that the chosen most go through in order to do this.

    In turn, in death there were stages that the dead must pass through in order to get to the other world. Remember the Egyptians believed that your body and possessions went with you, hence the elaborate burial rites and tombs (pyramids for Pharaohs, their wives and children).

    1) After crossing the desert the first thing you would come upon was the Sphinx the guardian of the tomb or pyramid - which obviously would represent Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. You needed to solve the riddle of the Sphinx to pass.

    2) You must cross the desert to come to the place of testing - i.e. crossing the burning sands - which was nature which is said to represent Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Remember. The Ivy- the Egyptian Goddess would be Qetesh: A Semitic nature goddess worshiped in Egypt or in the Book of the Dead Sekhmet-- Re created her as a weapon of vengeance to destroy men for their wicked ways and disobedience to him.

    3) You must learn. Your lessons were given to you on a scroll. Which is said to represent Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. The god was Thoth "Leader" Thoth was the god of writing, wisdom, learning and the moon. According to myth, Thoth invented writing, was the author of the Book of the Dead and was the vizier and scribe of the afterlife.

    4)You met Anubis "the Royal Child" the jackal-god of mummification & embalming. Having the head of a jackal (a type of dog) he is said to represent Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He assisted in the rites by which a dead man was admitted to the underworld. Anubis was worshiped as the inventor of embalming and who embalmed the dead Osiris and thereby helping to preserve him that he might live again. It is said that the final test given by Anubis was physical.

    5) The vessel for your passage, the Pyramid. Which of course was taken to represent Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Their Greek representation in Minerva and the Egyptian equivalent is said to be Isis "the Throne",the goddess of magic & widow of Osiris or Satet "One Who Shoots (Arrows)", the Elephantine goddess of the Nile floods & fertility. You enter the Pyramid where the rest of your journey is shroud in secrecy.

    6) Your guide across the desert and through your trials was the light of the moon and the stars. Represented by the crescent moon or Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. If you followed this, it would take you where you needed to go. Horus - "High, Above" The falcon-god of the sun & the pharaohs.

    7) Bastet - "Devouring Lady" The cat-goddess of the home & sunlight. According to one myth, she was the personification of the soul of Isis. She was also called the "Lady of the East. As such, her counterpart as "Lady of the West" was Sekhmet. Said to be a representation of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and the testing of the soul of the dead.

    8) After you had learned all you needed to learn and prove your worthiness to Bastet,now came the ultimate test. Remember that the major organs were removed during mummification. At this point you presented your heart to Maat- which as I mentioned before is said to representSigma Gamma Rho Sorority. Maat measured your heart against the feather on her scales. If your heart weighed more than the feather, you could not proceed on to the afterlife.

    Return to Epsilon Nu's World

    Copyright @ 2000 Epsilon Nu chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., All rights reserved.