Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. Mary Niall Mitchell

Second Advisor

Dr. Connie Zeanah Atkinson

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Dupont


Every semester across the United States, countless students join Greek letter organizations. While some may recognize the Greek letters, many Americans do not know the racial divide within the Greek life system, and the difference of purpose those organizations hold. This study focuses on eight historically Black fraternities and sororities and more specifically, their chapters at the University of New Orleans, a university that throughout its history has had a predominantly White student body, and often fostered an environment overtly and subtly hostile to African-American students.

Using oral histories, university yearbooks, and university newspapers this study demonstrates how Black fraternities and sororities at UNO promoted and supported the academic success of African-American students by emphasizing community service work, communal bonds, and connections to campus activities. These organizations provided emotional and academic support for African-American students and actively resisted the racial divisiveness present on their university campus.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.