The African-American Greek-letter movement commenced in 1906 on a predominantly white college campus in order for black students to have meaningful cultural interaction and work together to render service to improve the conditions in their local communities. Over a 57 year period, 1906-1963, the nine affiliate NPHC organizations were formed.
Each of these organizations evolved during a period when blacks were being denied essential rights and services afforded others. These organizations were destined to foster growth of brotherhood and sisterhood and to serve as conduits by which action plans could be formulated and coordinated to address the problems of racism and sexism
In 1930, a need for an umbrella organization was recognized. This organization would provide coordination of philosophies and activities. This umbrella group, which became known as the National Pan-Hellenic Council, was formally organized in May 1930 at Howard University, Washington, D.C. The charter members were Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, and Zeta Phi Beta sororities and Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi fraternities. In 1931, Alpha Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma fraternities joined the Council. In 1937, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority joined and in 1996 Iota Phi Theta Fraternity completed the list of organizations comprising NPHC. Early in 1937, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the state of Illinois.
The nine affiliate organizations have pledged to devote their collective resources and services in an effort to enhance communities throughout the nation and world. Despite the diversity inherent in the individual groups, the NPHC provides the forum and impetus for addressing issues of mutual concern. The organizations soon discovered that both nationally and locally the effect of their educational, social, and economic programs were greatly improved by uniting and coordinating efforts through the NPHC and the local councils.