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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.

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