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The Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. is the youngest of the “Divine Nine” Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs), and the last to join the National Pan-Hellenic Council. The fraternity was founded in September 19, 1963 on the campus of Morgan State College, now known as Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.

The Iotas began with 12 men – Albert Hicks, Lonnie Spruill Jr., Charles Briscoe, Frank Coakley, John Slade, Barron Willis, Webster Lewis, Charles Brown, Louis Hudnell, Charles Gregory, Elias Dorsey Jr., and Michael Williams during the heights of the civil rights movement.

The founding 12 – who were “non-traditional students” and older than many of their college peers – were longtime friends who had a shared interest in tackling social issues as it pertained to Black Americans at the time.

The group’s motto, “Building A Tradition, Not Resting Upon One” also mirrored the creed the fraternity’s creed of the “development and perpetuation of scholarship, leadership, citizenship, fidelity, and brotherhood among men.”

Notable Iotas include Rep. Bobby Rush, Bishop Talbert W. Swan II, NBA Hall of Fame inductees Elvin Hayes and Calvin Murphy, and actor T.C. Carson, among others.