The ‘Divine’ Ross speaks to Greeks

In the latest celebration of African Heritage Month, Lawrence C. Ross, author of “The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities,” addressed members of the Greek and St. John’s community Monday night in Marillac Terrace.

Ross, Alpha Phi Alpha member and noted journalist, stressed to the audience the importance of participation within their fraternities and sororities.

“It’s not the famous brothers and sisters that make the fraternity what it is, but instead the financial ones; the ones who take part in their communities,” Ross said.

Sophomore Angela Brown was encouraged by Ross’ words. “My attitude towards fraternities and sororities was always negative. It seemed like they were all about looking like a brother and a sister and not being a brother or sister,” she said.

“I wanted to be a part of an organization that could show me what they’ve given back to the community that help put them where they are today.”

Ross also discussed the fine line between pledging and hazing, an issue that gets many fraternities and sororities in trouble.

“Pledging and hazing are like smoke and fire,” Ross said. “Where you have one, there’s bound to be the latter.”

According to Ross, many Greek organizations all over the country rule their pledges “with an iron fist” in order to instill in their recruits time management, strength and responsibility. But often it turns into a display of who has the power and who is being controlled.

Ross also said that the power struggle often misconstrues the meaning of brotherhood into how far one would go and how much one would do to become a member of a Greek organization.

Ross explained that these actions, by a few organizations, lead the public to label all Greek organizations with a bad name.

Ross was educated at the University of California at Berkeley where he received a degree in African- American studies. His best-selling book, “The Divine Nine” chronicles the histories of the nine original African-American National Pan-Hellenic Council Fraternities and sororities.