African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision

African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision

African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision

African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision

Excerpt

Black Greek-Letter Organization Scholarship:
A Look Backward, a Look Forward

Tamara L. Brown, Gregory S. Parks, and Clarenda M. Phillips

Scholarship on black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs), at least in any meaningful or public sense, is still new. Walter Kimbroughs Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities (2003) and Ricky Jones’s Black Haze: Violence and Manhood in Black Greek-Letter Fraternities (2004) were among the first major contributions. Kimbroughs work provided a useful and well-researched primer on BGLO life, while Jones’s book provided the first incisive analysis of the greatest challenge facing BGLOs—hazing. In 2005 we published our first edition of African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision in an attempt to provide a scholarly work that was both broad and deep in its coverage of these groups. The reaction to the first edition was both overwhelming and surprising, both positive and negative.

Advances in BGLO Scholarship

We closed the first edition of this volume by encouraging scholars to pickup our baton and address a number of BGLO issues, including literary critiques, the connection between BGLOs and the black church, racial diversity and sexual orientation within these organizations, and whether BGLOs have maintained their commitment to racial uplift. Fortunately, some scholars have begun to undertake this important work.

Two pairs of scholars have tackled the topic of sexual orientation—Alan DeSantis and Marcus Coleman’s “Not on My Line: Attitudes about Homosexuality in Black Fraternities” in Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the 21st Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun (2008), and Rashawn Ray and Kevin Spragling’s “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?’: Authenticating the Racial, Religious, and Masculine Dimensions of Brotherhood within Alpha Phi Alpha” in Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, the Demands of Transcendence (2012). With . . .

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