Line Number "Clubs" and the Rich Legacy of Divine Nine Greek Fraternities and Sororities
In the world of Greek fraternities and sororities, few traditions are as revered and cherished as the concept of "line numbers." These numbers represent the chronological order in which members joined their respective organizations and symbolize the enduring bonds formed throughout their Greek journey which makes you part of a unique club.
This article explores the significance of line numbers within the Divine Nine Greek Fraternities and Sororities—Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho, Zeta Phi Beta, and Iota Phi Theta—and how these organizations have left an indelible mark on the African American community.
A Brief Overview of Divine Nine Greek Organizations
The Divine Nine refers to nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations, all of which were founded between 1906 and 1963. Each organization has its unique history, principles, and purposes. Let's take a closer look at them:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (ΑΦΑ): Founded in 1906 at Cornell University, Alpha Phi Alpha is the first Black Greek-letter fraternity. Its members are known as "Alphas," and they prioritize leadership, scholarship, and service.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (ΑΚΑ): Established in 1908 at Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first Black sorority. Members, often referred to as "AKAs," focus on sisterhood, scholarship, and service to all mankind.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (ΩΨΦ): Founded in 1911 at Howard University, Omega Psi Phi is known for its commitment to manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. Its members are called "Ques."
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (ΔΣΘ): Established in 1913 at Howard University, Delta Sigma Theta places emphasis on sisterhood, scholarship, and service. Its members are known as "Deltas."
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (ΦΒΣ): Founded in 1914 at Howard University, Phi Beta Sigma emphasizes brotherhood, scholarship, and service. Its members are referred to as "Sigmas."
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (ΣΓΡ): Established in 1922 at Butler University, Sigma Gamma Rho focuses on sisterhood, scholarship, and service. Its members are known as "Rhose."
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (ΖΦΒ): Founded in 1920 at Howard University, Zeta Phi Beta is dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship, and service. Its members are called "Zetas."
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. (ΙΦΘ): Established in 1963 at Morgan State University, Iota Phi Theta values brotherhood, scholarship, and service. Its members are known as "Iotas."
The Significance of Line Numbers
Within these organizations, line numbers play a pivotal role in shaping the members' experiences and identities. When individuals decide to join a Divine Nine organization, they embark on a journey that goes beyond college and leaves an indelible mark on their lives. Line numbers are assigned sequentially based on the order in which members joined their organization during their undergraduate years. These numbers are not just digits; they carry a profound sense of tradition, pride, and responsibility.
Line numbers are the foundation upon which deep bonds are formed among members. Those who share the same line number but who pledged during different semesters, years or even different schools tend to be part of unofficial "clubs." Based on the particular line number of a member, they mae be referred to as Ace if they're number one on their line. Deuce for number 2, Tre for the number 3, Quad for the number four and so. Lines may also use terms like the front referring to the front of the line, the tail referring to the last member of the line or even terms like "the rock" who refers to the line member who showed the most resilience during the pledge process.
Members of these "clubs" may even have their own secret handshakes that all still fall in line with the overall organizations' traditions. The relationships forged during the pledging process often last a lifetime. These bonds are built on trust, shared experiences, and a commitment to upholding the principles and values of their respective organizations.
Line Numbers and Community Impact
Beyond the personal connections, Divine Nine organizations use their collective power and influence to make a significant impact on their communities. Through a variety of service projects, educational initiatives, and social outreach programs, these fraternities and sororities work tirelessly to uplift and empower the African American community and society at large. Line numbers often serve as a rallying point for organizing and mobilizing members to contribute to these important causes. Members of these "clubs" will oftentimes wear Greek paraphernalia such as t-shirts, jackets boasting their line number and may even get tattoos or brands to prominently display their pride in their Greek organization and line number.
In the world of Divine Nine Greek Fraternities and Sororities, line numbers are more than just a numerical designation; they are a symbol of unity, tradition, and commitment to excellence. The members of these organizations, from Alpha Phi Alpha to Iota Phi Theta, continue to make a lasting impact on their communities and the world at large. Through the bonds formed during their journeys, they stand united in their dedication to leadership, scholarship, and service—a testament to the enduring legacy of the Divine Nine.