In 1904, Henry Mckee Minton and a small group of professional black men of achievement in Philadelphia created the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. The goal of the society was to foster a fraternal union in which men of distinction could thrive in society as individuals, and together as an organization to fill a cultural void caused by a pattern of exclusion of people of color from the mainstream of American life.
The Fraternity is the oldest Greek letter organization among Black Americans. The objective of the founders was to provide "men of like qualities" the opportunity for social interaction in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The emphasis has always been on inviting to membership, men of recognized achievement in their fields, who are of unquestionable character, and whose personality is of a type that blends in
harmoniously with others.
The Fraternity as a whole is referred to as "The Boulé", a concept derived from and patterned on the ancient Greek Government. Members are given the title of Archons, which in the Greek tradition was one of the chief magistrates, and their wives are referred to as Archousai. Local Boulés are known as member Boulés, and the national organization is called the Grand Boulé. In the early 1960's, during the height of
the civil rights movement, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity begin the transition to be more involved in effecting positive change in civil rights, politics and economics. There are presently 131 Boulés with over 5,000 Archons throughout the United States, England and the Caribbean.
The Fraternity, also known as the Boulé, became the first African American founded Greek-letter Fraternity. However, unlike other Greek organizations, Boulé members have received college and professional degrees at the time of their induction.