IU honors historically black greek organizations



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Representatives from the nine historically black fraternities and sororities at IU pose for a photo by Sample Gates. A permanent row of limestone markers will have the names of the United States' nine original black greek chapters — known as the "Divine Nine" — arranged in an arc along the sidewalk that leads to the entrance of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center building. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

IU will honor its historically black fraternities and sororities in a public celebration at 11 a.m. Friday outside the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

The celebration will unveil the permanent row of limestone plots bearing the names of the United States’ nine original black greek chapters.

According to a press release from IU, senior Devon Brown will unveil the first plot in the celebration Friday. Brown is an officer in Kappa Alpha Psi and president of the National PanHellenic Council. He said the plots have been the main focus of his presidency.

“IU was one of the few non-historically black colleges and universities where a Divine Nine organization was founded,” Brown said in the press release. “The plots are important not only to the Divine Nine but to Indiana University as well.”

According to the press release, donations have piled in for more than 10 years. It took 224 individual donations and final funding from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President to make the plots a reality.

“This center has become an integral and inclusive space for programming, instruction and collaboration.” Provost Lauren Robel said in the press release.

According to the press release, the plots were arranged in order of when the organizations received their charters at IU. Eight of the nine currently have active chapters at IU, and all have had a presence on the Bloomington campus.

James Wimbush, IU’s vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs said in the press release that the plots are historical reminders that continue to help shape students today.

“Today these plots serve as a powerful symbolic and physical reminder of the strength and resilience shown by the founders and members of these groups,” Wimbush said in the release.

Monica Johnson, the director of Neal-Marshall said she was glad to see the university honoring historically black greek organizations. She said it was important to honor organizations who played a major role in the culture center’s legacy as Neal-Marshall approached its 50th 
anniversary.

“Looking back at the legacy of black students and legacy in this campus is important,” Johnson said. “A major part of that legacy is wrapped up in the Divine Nine.”

Johnson said she was even more satisfied to know this dedication represents more than IU. She said many historical leaders in the black community were members of historically black greek 
organizations.

Johnson said leaders like Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou are examples of products from the Divine Nine.

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