Breaking Racial Lines: The Formation of Black Greek-Letter Organizations at UW–Madison

The Black fraternal system at UW–Madison has built a legacy of community, resistance, and perseverance. BGLOs became a crucial part of the Black Student community at the university, creating the first formally Black spaces on an otherwise white campus. UW–Madison has been home to eight of the nation’s nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations, known as the Divine Nine. These organizations established themselves at UW–Madison as the first Black-community oriented spaces, finding a home on campus despite—and in some ways because of—its predominantly white student body. This is a history of their formation and a discussion of their enduring legacy at UW–Madison.