by Sarah Knapp
MARTIN – Traditionally African American fraternities and sororities have made notable contributions to UT Martin student life. These organizations, known as the Divine Nine, were honored during 2019 Homecoming with the dedication of the National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek Garden at Unity Circle. The Unity Circle features nine plaques in honor of each fraternity and sorority, all of which are represented at UT Martin.
Unity Circle was first dedicated Sept. 15, 2011, when UT Martin joined the University of Tennessee System in observing the 50th anniversary of African American students enrolling in the university. The Greek Garden at Unity Circle is located on the main campus between Clement Hall and the Andy Holt Humanities Building.
The memorial celebrates diversity and inclusion on campus and serves as a monument for the impact African American students have made on the university.
“Black Greek-letter organizations have been a pivotal part of the African-American culture since the early part of the 20th Century,” said Anthony Prewitt, assistant director for multicultural affairs and adviser to the fraternities and sororities. “These organizations have been essential resources for support, service and educational advancement, and the strengthening of social bonds among black students, entrepreneurs and professionals, especially when the organizations expanded into majority-white institutions of higher learning.”
The Divine Nine legacy at UT Martin dates back to 1970 and has grown in support over the decades.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations represented at UT Martin are Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, 1975, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, 1971, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, 1971, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, 1973, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, 1970, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, 1979, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, 1978, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, 1986, and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, 2010.