Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities

Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press
7
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Black Greek 101 provides an analysis of the customs, culture, and challenges facing historically Black fraternal organizations. The text initially provides a history of Black Greek organizations beyond the nine major organizations. Next, the pledging practice of the organizations is chronicled, noting the abuses associated with it, and a recent research study assesses the policies implemented to curb hazing in the organizations. The text highlights the growth of fraternalism outside of the mainstream organizations, with particular emphasis on African fraternal organizations. Then, the vivid culture and practices of the groups is documented, providing a historical grounding for the visible aspects of the groups. Finally, several challenges for the future are highlighted. Readers are also provided with an annotated bibliography of articles, news stories, and books related to Black fraternalism, as well as a chronicle of hazing cases over the past twelve years. Albany State University in Georgia.
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About the author

Walter M. Kimbrough serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia.
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4.9
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Additional Information

Publisher
Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2003
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780838639771
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Student Life & Student Affairs
Social Science / Customs & Traditions
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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During the twentieth century, black Greek-Letter organizations (BGLOs) united college students dedicated to excellence, fostered kinship, and uplifted African Americans. Members of these organizations include remarkable and influential individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr., Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, novelist Toni Morrison, and Wall Street pioneer Reginald F. Lewis. Despite the profound influence of these groups, many now question the continuing relevance of BGLOs, arguing that their golden age has passed. Partly because of their perceived link to hip-hop culture, black fraternities and sororities have been unfairly reduced to a media stereotypeÑa world of hazing without any real substance. The general public knows very little about BGLOs, and surprisingly the members themselves often do not have a thorough understanding of their history and culture or of the issues currently facing their organizations. To foster a greater engagement with the history and contributions of BGLOs, Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-first Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun brings together an impressive group of authors to explore the contributions and continuing possibilities of BGLOs and their members. Editor Gregory S. Parks and the contributing authors provide historical context for the development of BGLOs, exploring their service activities as well as their relationships with other prominent African American institutions. The book examines BGLOsÕ responses to a number of contemporary issues, including non-black membership, homosexuality within BGLOs, and the perception of BGLOs as educated gangs. As illustrated by the organized response of BGLO members to the racial injustice they observed in Jena, Louisiana, these organizations still have a vital mission. Both internally and externally, BGLOs struggle to forge a relevant identity for the new century. Internally, these groups wrestle with many issues, including hazing, homophobia, petty intergroup competition, and the difficulty of bridging the divide between college and alumni members. Externally, BGLOs face the challenge of rededicating themselves to their communities and leading an aggressive campaign against modern forms of racism, sexism, and other types of fear-driven behavior. By embracing the history of these organizations and exploring their continuing viability and relevance, Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-first Century demonstrates that BGLOs can create a positive and enduring future and that their most important work lies ahead.
African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision explores the rich past and bright future of the nine Black Greek-Letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. In the long tradition of African American benevolent and secret societies, intercollegiate African American fraternities and sororities have strong traditions of fostering brotherhood and sisterhood among their members, exerting considerable influence in the African American community, and being on the forefront of civic action, community service, and philanthropy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison, Arthur Ashe, Carol Moseley Braun, Bill Cosby, Sarah Vaughan, George Washington Carver, Hattie McDaniel , and Bobby Rush are among the many trailblazing members of these organizations. The rolls of African American fraternities and sororities serve as a veritable whoÕs who among African American leadership in the United States and abroad. African American Fraternities and Sororities places the history of these organizations in context, linking them to other movements and organizations that predated them and tying their history to one of the most important eras of United States historyÑthe Civil Rights struggle. African American Fraternities and Sororities explores various cultural aspects of these organizations such as auxilliary groups, branding, calls, stepping, and the unique role of African American sororities. It also explores such contemporary issues as sexual aggression and alcohol use, college adjustment, and pledging, and provides a critique of Spike LeeÕs film School Daze, the only major motion picture to portray African American fraternities and sororities as a central theme. The year 2006 will mark the centennial anniversary of the intercollegiate African American fraternity and sorority movement. Yet, to date, little scholarly attention has been paid to these organizations and the men and women who founded and perpetuated them. African American Fraternities and Sororities reveals the vital social and political functions of these organizations and places them within the history of not only the African American community but the nation as a whole.
 The first book solely devoted to the subject of black fraternity hazing.As a fraternity member, past chapter president, and former national committee representative, Ricky L. Jones is uniquely qualified to write about the sometimes deadly world of black fraternity hazing. Examining five major black Greek-letter fraternities, Jones maintains that hazing rituals within these fraternities are more deeply ingrained, physically violent, and imbued with meaning to their participants than the initiation rites of other ethnic groups.

Because they do not see themselves as having the same political, social, and economic opportunities as other members of society, black fraternities and their members have come to see the ability to withstand physical abuse as the key ingredient in building and defining manhood. According to Jones, hazing in black fraternities is a modern manifestation of sacrificial ritual violence that has existed since ancient times, and the participants view such rituals as an important tool in the construction of individual and collective black male identity.

“…provides valuable insights into the reasoning behind hazing, a practice that extends into the realms of sports and even high school, and is relevant for not only fraternity members and officials, but the general public as well.” — The Griot

“…an important contribution … because of the skillful manner in which Jones incorporates and critically analyzes relevant literature and other related scholarly writings … Jones, himself a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, offers personal observations as well as first-hand views and perceptions of hazing.” — Journal of College Student Development

"In Black Haze, Ricky L. Jones skillfully analyzes the culture of pledging and hazing within the ranks of black Greek-letter organizations. Too often, the leaders of these fraternal organizations have tried to prevent the destructive hazing behavior of their members without adequately researching the origins and the systemic reasons for the behavior in the first place. Jones's new research will not only illuminate the subject in the eyes of national fraternal leaders, but will also be a clarion call for action on the ordinary fraternity and sorority member level. For this, Jones's work is invaluable and I highly recommend it." — Lawrence C. Ross Jr., author of The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities 

"Ricky L. Jones does a masterful job in identifying the reasons behind the seemingly unstopped cycle of violence in black fraternities. It is my hope and prayer that fraternity leaders and campus administrators will read Black Haze to begin a meaningful process to face this challenge." — Walter M. Kimbrough, author of Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities

"Black Haze is at once a work of scholarship and a book of practical use for all who work with fraternities and sororities. Jones's research is impeccable, his theories are sound, and his ideas are enlightening. Black Haze is a brilliant and most compelling reading experience." — Hank Nuwer, author of Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking
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