September 24, 2010

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Author Lawrence C. Ross Jr. will give the talk, "The Divine Nine: The History, The Present and The Challenges for the Future," on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Weis Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the offices of Multicultural Student Services, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, residential education and fraternity and sorority affairs, and the Black Student Union.

Ross is the author of five books, including The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities (Kensington Books, 2001).

The Divine Nine are nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations founded between 1906 and 1963 to help African-American college students succeed on campus and develop into leaders.

"The roster of Divine Nine members is a who's who in African-America: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Michael Jordan, Maya Angelou, Dorothy Height and over a million others count themselves as members," Ross said. "The civil rights movement is populated with Divine Nine members who developed leadership skills on college campuses."

A Los Angeles Times, Essence and Blackboard bestseller, The Divine Nine is in its seventh printing with more than 50,000 copies sold to date. It remains on the African-American studies bestsellers list, and for the past year has been the No. 1 best-selling book among African-American college students. This fall, an updated version of The Divine Nine will be published featuring new photos and interviews.

Ross' other books are The Ways of Black Folks: A Year in the Life of a People (Kensington Books, 2003); Friends With Benefits (Kensington Books, 2005) and Skin Game (Kensington Books, 2007), both of which were chosen as a main selection by Doubleday's Black Expressions book club; and the non-fiction Money Shot: The Wild Nights and Lonely Days in the Black Porn Industry (Thunders Mouth Books, 2007).

Ross holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Recognized as an expert in the field of African-American fraternities and sororities, including the contemporary issue of pledging and hazing, Ross has lectured at more than 300 universities. He also has appeared on National Public Radio and "Good Morning Atlanta," and has been interviewed in Ebony, Savoy, Essence, the Los Angeles Times, and the London Times, among others. Ross is the president of Afroboho, a film and television production company that has a development deal with the TV-One cable network.

Contact: Division of Communications