Is Ron DeSantis Trying To Cancel Black Fraternities And Sororities?
House Bill 999 Advancing Through Florida Legislature
In full disclosure, I am a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., one of the Divine Nine Black fraternities and sororities that collectively have over 6,700 undergraduate and undergraduate chapters worldwide.
The late Rep. John Lewis was a Sigma; he often got into "good trouble." Kamala Harris is the current Vice-President of the United States and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Martin Luther King Jr was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Nikki Giovani is in Delta Sigma Theta, as was Mary McLeod Bethune. Zora Neale Hurston was a Zeta Phi Beta. Rep. Robin Kelly is a Sigma Gamma Rho. Langston Hughes and Roy Wilkins were in Omega Psi Phi, and Rep. Bobby Rush is an Iota Phi Theta.
All the "Black" fraternities and sororities are open to members of all races and have white members. My chapter adviser at Fisk University was a white man, Dr. O'Connell. In addition to the parties and socializing, each group is also a service organization with mottos like; "Culture For Service and Service For Humanity," "Greater Service, Greater Progress," and "Achievement In Every Field Of Human Endeavor." While most of them were founded at an HBCU, Howard University. They come from other locations, including Indiana University, Butler University, and Morgan State University
These aren't secret organizations like "Skull and Bones" that Ron DeSantis would know from his days at Yale or the Porcellian Club at Harvard, where DeSantis went to law school. The Divine Nine meet secretly but act openly with their step shows, charitable events, and service projects. They wear their logos and fraternity/sorority attire, conduct meetings in campus rooms, and march on their respective yards. They are symbols of pride, and most importantly, they produce leaders, and their members become educators, scientists, doctors, lawyers, and business people.
One could wonder if House Bill 999 intends to cancel these organizations or at least limit them to off-campus activities. One would question why DeSantis would even consider such action until you remember he thinks Black history has "no educational merit," which he said when banning AP Black History courses in Florida…