WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - FOX 5 is continuing our coverage of Black History Month by spotlighting our anchors’ connections to historically black colleges and universities and the impact HBCUs have had throughout history.
In this last part of our series, FOX 5 anchor Shawn Yancy shares more on Howard University’s legacy with the Divine 9.
“The Divine 9 refers to a group of nine historically black colleges’ fraternities and sororities most of which were founded right here at Howard University,” says Michael Fauntroy, Associate Professor at Howard University.
The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is a part of the Divine 9 and was founded on Howard’s campus in 1908 and it was the first. Although Shawn Yancy didn’t attend Howard University, she says she feels a special connection to founding members of her sorority.
“When I think about the reason they came together to start that, to start the sorority because they weren’t able to join white sororities, it's empowering. It has been since 1908 and it's empowering still,” she says.
Yancy has been an AKA for 31 years. She sat down to chat with four members of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Alpha Chapter.
Ferial Bishop, Charlotte Douglass, Gail Hansberry and Sandra Cox attended Howard University and were initiated in the fall of 1957. All of the women expressed admiration for the women who founded their sorority.
“That a group of girls got together and coming out of slavery to be able a to be at a university and then to be able to not only to do their studies but to maintain a focus on something else that had nothing to do with their studies. It must've been very tough. I take my hat off to them those 15 young sorors," Bishop said of the founders.
“It was the only social outlet for black people at that time. They were not accepted. They weren't wanted or accepted in the white fraternities or sororities. So it was kind of brilliant for those women to think well we can do our own and they did,” Cox added.