Black Sorority Challenges and Successes: Dr. Crystal deGregory, Fisk '03 #BlackGreekSuccess

Black Greek Success

Crystal deGregory Headshot 2012HBCUstory founder and executive editor Dr. Crystal deGregory (@HBCUstorian) joined Black Greek Success Chat on February 11 to discuss her blog, “Five Challenges Black Sororities Must Address in 2014” written for HBCU Lifestyle. The chat took place 5:30-6:30 p.m., central time, on  Twitter and Facebook.

@EddieFrancis: In your @HBCU_Lifestyle piece you mention that black sororities must share their narratives..

@EddieFrancis: Q1. Give three examples of ways you have seen black sorority women effectively share their narratives.

@HBCUstorian: Q1. The most obvious way to share your narrative is to talk about what you have done & are doing.

@HBCUstorian: Q1. Don’t assume everyone knows the greatness of your sorority. Wear your letters when you are doing great things.

@HBCUstorian: Q1. Which brings me to the best way…you! What you say and do becomes your sorority’s story. Be great!

@EddieFrancis: Q2. What does it personally do to you when you hear our Black Greek women publicly trash each other?

@HBCUstorian: Q2. I hate nothing more than to hear sorority women trash each other. I mean be real, everyone can’t be in your sorority.

Q2. Playfulness can cross a line…Calling a woman out of her name because she wears different symbols…STUPID.

@EddieFrancis: @HBCUstorian so there’s a reason a Delta is a Delta, an AKA an AKA, a Zeta a Zeta & a Rho a Rho. Different personalities.

@HBCUstorian: @eddiefrancis Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, it’s stupid. Everyone can’t be in your sorority…so let them do them.

@EddieFrancis: Q3. You call some of our sorority women out for being “mannish”. How can women be women & be powerful?

@HBCUstorian: Q3. “Mannishness” for me, is about the violence that’s associated with being “hard.”

@HBCUstorian: Q3. It seems like the “harder” sorority culture gets, the more violent it becomes.

@HBCUstorian: Q3. Our founders managed to be powerful women…a century later we’re trying to be something else…like what?

@HBCUstorian: You gotta love the #DST Founders. Joined #AKA and turned it upside down & inside out! LOL! #Fortitude #DST101 

@EddieFrancis: And @HBCUstorian means that in the most loving way. 🙂

@EddieFrancis: @HBCUstorian Some folks may not be familiar w/ the violence you’re talking about. Sorority FIGHTS? Please say no.

@HBCUstorian: @eddiefrancis Sorority bickering, name-calling, fights, hazing…being “hard” is in every bad habit on the rise.

@EddieFrancis: @HBCUstorian No bueno. *trying to imagine hearing a story about my grandmama getting clocked* SMH On to Q4…

@EddieFrancis: Q4. You point out Phylicia Rashad (#AKA) as a Black Greek woman who exemplifies the opposite of pop culture images…

@EddieFrancis: Q4. …Give us examples of other Black Greek women who come to mind.

@HBCUstorian: Positive #BGLO women | Johnnetta Cole, Mary Frances Berry, Julianne Malveaux, Joycelyn Elders, Regina Benjamin #DST101

@HBCUstorian: Positive #BGLO women | Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Sheila Jackson-Lee, C. Vivian Stringer, Bernice King, Alicia Keys #AKA

@HBCUstorian: Positive #BGLO women | Zora Neale Hurston, @sherylunderwood, Syleena Johnson, Patti LaBelle, Esther Rolle #ZPB

@HBCUstorian: Positive #BGLO women | Kelly Price, MC Lyte, Victoria Rowell, Hattie McDaniel, Vanessa Bell Armstrong #SGRho

@EddieFrancis: As another nod to #DST, one my inspirations for public speaking was Barbara Jordan. 🙂

@HBCUstorian: Now @eddiefrancis, I can name outstanding #DST women for ever & ever! Shout out to THE @PresGBoyd! #DST101 #HBCUstory

@EddieFrancis: @HBCUstorian I hope so! LOL And congrats on your new post, @PresGBoyd!

@EddieFrancis: Q5. How do we help folks understand that even IF they get away w/ hazing, it doesn’t mean “better” members?

@HBCUstorian: Q5. I really can’t with hazing… If I have to tell you what’s wrong w/ being abused, you need more help than I can give.

@EddieFrancis: @HBCUstorian I have one better. If #hazing were the answer over 90% of us would be financial AND active…

@EddieFrancis: @HBCUstorian …AND #BGLOs would have NO financial issues. #hazing

@HBCUstorian: Q5. The problem is that people want a “process” …I get it. What that process “looks like” is what we need to get right.

@HBCUstorian: Q5. Group traditions are all around us/basic anthropology. The challenge is defining a tradition, secret in nature.

@HBCUstorian: Hazing is just one example of poor uses of power. #BGLOs aren’t unique in their shortcomings. Still, we need a healing!

Eddie FrancisFounded by Eddie Francis, the Black Greek Success Program is a high-energy, interactive motivational speaking presentation which helps undergraduate members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities enhance their leadership development through the lens of career preparation. Open to Black Greeks, those interested in Greek life and other members of the community, BGSP is offered as an hour and half speaking presentation with Q&A, a two-to-three hour workshop, or as a 20-45 minute keynote address. Follow #BlackGreekSuccess and Eddie on twitter at @EddieFrancis.

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A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D. is a graduate of the historic Fisk University ’03. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in history from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Tennessee State University, ’14, where she formerly taught in the department of history, geography and political science. A professional historian and passionate HBCU advocate, she is editor-in-chief of the forthcoming The Journal of HBCU Research + Culture. She is also a regular contributor to HBCU Digest, is a co-host of Black Docs radio show, and offers a wide-range of expertise on multiple topics including history, culture, education, black fraternity and sorority life and of course HBCUs. Follow her on twitter at @HBCUstorian, visit her website at www.CrystaldeGregory.com, or contact her via email at cadegregory@HBCUstory.com.

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