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Orlando Alumni NPHC Step Show takes center stage at Orange County Convention Center

Theme for this year’s event was ‘your voice, your vote’

Orlando Alumni NPHC Step Show 2020
Orlando Alumni NPHC Step Show 2020

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Nine teams took the stage Saturday night at the Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center during the NPHC Greek Step Show.

Four black Greek letter organizations from the National Pan-Hellenic Council performed, with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated taking the crown.

The men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. perform at Orlando Alumni NPHC Step Show.
The men of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. perform at Orlando Alumni NPHC Step Show.

February is Black History Month, a time when, since 1976, the nation has recognized important people and events in African-American culture.

Stepping -- which includes chanting, signing, dancing and drama -- is a staple in black culture.

It’s a performance that mixes folk traditions with pop themes.

Starting in 1906, historically black fraternities and sororities on U.S. college campuses would traditionally sing and dance to celebrate new membership of their respective organizations.

Organizations would step during those inductions or probates to pay homage to new members of the organization as well as honor those who came before them.

National Pan-Hellenic Council, or NPHC organizations, have captivated people who are not part of Greek life through stepping.

In present day, it has become a way for members of organizations to show pride for their fraternity or sorority.

There are nine NPHC organizations, also known as “The Divine Nine."

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - Founded at Cornell University in 1906

Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Alpha

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. - Founded at Howard University in 1908

Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - Founded at Indiana University in 1911

Kappa Alpha Psi
Kappa Alpha Psi

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - Founded at Howard University in 1911

Omega Psi Phi
Omega Psi Phi

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - Founded at Howard University in 1913

Delta Sigma Theta
Delta Sigma Theta

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. - Founded at Howard University in 1914

Phi Beta Sigma
Phi Beta Sigma

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. - Founded at Howard University in 1920

Zeta Phi Beta
Zeta Phi Beta

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. - Founded at Butler University in 1922

Sigma Gamma Rho
Sigma Gamma Rho

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. - Founded at Morgan State University in 1963

Iota Phi Theta
Iota Phi Theta

Only four organizations from the Divine Nine participated in this year’s event: Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta and Phi Beta sigma.

Most of the the performances in this year’s step show focused on voting.

The theme was “your voice, your vote” in an effort to get black voters to the polls in the upcoming November election.

In 1870, black men were given the right to vote through the 15th Amendment but black women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment was signed to stop the federal government from denying the right to vote to people because of their sex.

1920 (Chicago) -- The 19th amendment giving women the right to vote had passed in the Senate just three days earlier, and women were represented in significant numbers for the first time with 27 delegates and 129 alternates.
1920 (Chicago) -- The 19th amendment giving women the right to vote had passed in the Senate just three days earlier, and women were represented in significant numbers for the first time with 27 delegates and 129 alternates.

Although those Amendments were passed, exercising those rights were difficult because of voter suppression and Jim Crow laws.

Securing voting rights for blacks in the South was a major focus of the Civil Rights movement.

It wasn’t until 1965 that the Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson legally ended racial discrimination in voting.

1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, outlawing discriminatory voting practices based on race or color. The signing ceremony was attended by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and other civil rights leaders.
1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, outlawing discriminatory voting practices based on race or color. The signing ceremony was attended by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and other civil rights leaders. (Yoichi Okamoto via Wikimedia Commons)

Read how the 2020 election will commemorate two important anniversaries for black voters here.


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