‘A lifetime commitment’: Albany State faculty on ‘Divine Nine’ organizations

In February, students who are members of Black greek letter organizations at ASU say the Divine 9 are important to Black history.
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 4:36 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Black Greek letter organizations, commonly known as the Divine Nine, helped create and advance Black History Month. WALB News spoke to faculty at Albany State University about the commitment it takes to be in these organizations.

In February, students who are members of Black greek letter organizations at Albany State University (ASU) said how important Divine Nine history is to Black history.

On Thursday, WALB spoke with faculty members who have been in these organizations for many years about continuing service through their sorority or fraternity, beyond the college campus.

“Next month will be my 43rd year as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. So we stress that lifetime commitment, and they see from the members of my community, the graduate community. They see members of the graduate chapter, that it is a lifetime commitment.” Gwen Taylor, graduate advisor, Gamma Sigma Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, said.

These are members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority on Albany State University’s campus. The...
These are members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority on Albany State University’s campus. The advisors to these organizations talked about the commitments that go along with being a member of their sorority.(WALB)

“Most people are unaware that Black Greek letter organizations do not stop their activities or service to the community once they leave college. All of the organizations in the Divine Nine were born during a time of struggle for Black people in America,” Leslie Charles, graduate advisor, Delta Rho Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, said.

“The aspect of a lifetime commitment in the Divine Nine organizations simply means that it’s until we die. That everything we do comes back to being a part of the Divine Nine. This has been powerful for us because, for us in our movement, it dealt with women’s suffrage rights, it deals with today being a leader,” Charles said.

The advisors to the Divine Nine at ASU say the goal is service to all, no matter what organization you’re a part of.

“Crossing is the easy part. The work starts after that, so that’s the hardest part is that you have to stay committed for a lifetime.” Demarcus Greene, Assistant NPHC Advisor at Albany State University, said.

Demarcus Greene is the assistant director for Greek life at Albany State. He told WALB about how important it is to be a role model for the younger generations in the Divine Nine, which is part of the commitment of a Black Greek letter organization.

“I think it’s very important to be a mentor to them because if they don’t have anyone to follow and take the right steps, they’ll fall into what they see on the internet or social media. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing,” Greene said.

Anthony Morman is the lead director for Greek life at Albany State, and he says that serving with the younger generation is one of the best parts of Black Greek life.

“It’s truly been a blessing. We, the Alumni chapter, the graduate Greeks, we’ve been in the places and spaces that they’ve been in, and we’ve made the mistakes that we’ve made. Now with maturity on our side, we can guide them and lead them against the mistakes we made,” Morman said.

“It’s about serving your mankind and doing something for somebody else. You want, when someone comes behind you, what did I leave? I left my love and my passion for serving mankind,” Charles said.