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Press Releases

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ross Keynotes SU's African-American History Celebration

SALISBURY, MD---From the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, African-American fraternities and sororities have produced some of the most prolific leaders in the United States.

Lawrence Ross, author of The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities, keynotes Salisbury University’s African-American History Month celebration, speaking on the importance of these organizations 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 9, in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center.

The Divine Nine is the first book to chronicle the histories of the nine African-American fraternities and sororities that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. It includes archival photos depicting African-American fraternal life from past to present, as well as profiles of prominent members, including King, Jackson, television personality Star Jones and late tennis legend Arthur Ashe.

“The theme for African-American History Month established by the Association for the Study of Negro Life  and  History, ‘Celebrating the Community: A Tribute to Black Fraternal, Social, and Civic Institutions,’ makes Ross' presentation very appropriate to kickoff the proceedings for this years celebration,” said Vaughn White, director of Multiethnic Student Services at SU. “His chronicle of history on these very important organizations is information that needs to be shared with the majority of Americans."

Published in January 2001 and now in its fourth printing, The Divine Nine has been a Blackboard Bestseller, a two-time Essence Magazine bestseller and a Los Angeles Times bestseller.

“There is an abundance of information for African Americans who yearn to know more about these organizations and how, in different manners, they all strive to achieve the same divine goal: to uplift, inspire and educate,” said Black Issues Book Review.

“The underlying theme in all cases was camaraderie with a special emphasis on providing support to minorities in hostile environments, whether on campus or the broader racial environment of the United States,” said Booklist.

Ross pursued African-American studies and the study of history at the University of California-Berkeley, where he was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in April 1985. Following a decade as a successful entrepreneur, he began his writing career in 1995 with a syndicated weekly column, Black Web, which explained the Internet to African-American readers. In 1997, he was named managing editor of Rap Sheet magazine, one of the first Hip-Hop publications in the country.

Sponsored by the Office of Multiethnic Student Services, his talk at SU is free, and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at "

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