© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Politics Unusual: African American Sororities And Fraternities

NY Public Library
Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, incorporated at Wilberforce University (Ohio), 1922

Long before the 19th Amendment recognized them as voters, a small group of women gathered at Howard University to create the first service Sorority founded by and for African American women. Alpha Kappa Alpha is part of a rich tradition of historically Black fraternities and sororities known as the Divine Nine.

This hour, we hear about the history of these organizations that are historically, but not exclusively Black. From leading movements for justice, to pioneering space exploration, to politics, to entertainment and culture, members of the Divine Nine are bound by a collective commitment to service that continues well beyond graduation. We explore the significance of these organizations for African American communities, and their connection to broader notions of race and identity in the US.


  • Lawrence Ross - Author of The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities
  • Elicia Pegues-Spearman - International Chariman of the Leadership Fellows Program for Alpha Kappa Alpha, labor and employment attorney 
  • Matthew Hughey - Associate Professor of Sociology at UConn

Politics Unusual is the show where people, politics, and pop culture meet; a mix of commentary and conversations where guests candidly challenge commonly held notions of American society, hosted by Quinnipiac University political science professor Khalilah Brown-Dean.

Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.