Monument unveiled to ‘Divine Nine’ Black fraternities and sororities

Full view of National Pan-Hellenic Council monument on Schenley Quad

The National Pan-Hellenic Council— comprised of five historically Black fraternities and four historically Black sororities — unveiled a permanent monument honoring these groups on Sept. 25 on Schenley Quad.

The Pitt installation, which is 8 feet high and more than 30 feet long, is one of only a few such monuments outside of Historic Black Colleges and Universities.

“This is a special moment in Pitt history,” said Kenyon Bonner, vice provost for student affairs and member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. “This is a blue, gold and Black moment. This is welcome home.”

Bonner said by placing the plot in Schenley Quad, which he called the heart of campus, the University is saying to its Black students, “You belong here.”

The plot celebrates each of the “Divine Nine” — historical Black fraternities and sororities — with their seal, information about their founding and the names of donors who helped make the plot possible. Each of the nearly 40-foot network of steel louvers honors the historically Black Greek letter organizations while paying homage to the region’s industrial history. Pitt is now one of only a handful of predominantly white institutions to host such a plot.

The nine organizations were founded during an era when Black students were limited in their ability to join college fraternities and sororities.

Around 300 people attended the unveiling on Homecoming Weekend.

The idea to bring the monument to Pitt came from Bonner. Also present at the unveiling were Pitt Alumni Association President Val Njie and Pitt African-American Alumni Council president Thomas Brooks, who also belong to one of the Greek organizations.

Pitt alumni and others have raised $125,000 toward a goal of $150,000 to support the installation. Contributions can be made here.

Read more about the installation in Pittwire.