Black frat vying for official status

By Jermaine Pigee

A new fraternity is seeking Student Associate status at NIU.

The Divine Nine was known for its community service, as well as the leaders it produced.

The Divine Nine is an informal name for a group of nine black college sororities and fraternities that helped produce famous blacks such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Maya Angelou. The name was made popular by the book “The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities.”

“The members at NIU sought out Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. for membership,” said Jamil Johnson, national membership chair of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. “The members will be supportive of all the Greek councils and their programs and we look forward to working with them.”

Marlon Haywood, a sophomore public health major, said his respect for the group inspired him to join the Phi Rho Eta fraternity.

“I feel that a person should always do what fits them best as a person, no matter what organization it may be,” he said.

The concept of the fraternity began in 1994 at Southern Illinois University. A brotherhood was created with the plan of getting rid of the wide range of social diseases that have infected minority communities, the Web site states.

The fraternity has since worked to establish itself as an organization committed to transforming the plight of not only black people, but minority groups everywhere.

The members are expected to have a 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Each member must also contribute at least 50 hours of volunteer service each semester.

The fraternity is the recipient of awards from various social, academic and civic institutions. Because of this, the fraternity has been officially recognized by the U.S. government as a charitable organization.

Some members of the fraternity joined because they wanted to be a part of history.

“It is new and different,” said Derrell Brown, a sophomore public health major. “I wanted to be a part of history. The MTB [Mentor Teacher Brother] program is helpful for me and it inspired me to join the fraternity.”

Other members joined the fraternity because of its community development.

“The fraternity concentrates on community development, which is good for me, because I want to be a teacher or a coach,” said Mike Anderson, a sophomore physical education major. “The fraternity is beneficial for me now and for later.”

For more information on Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, please visit