Skip to content

Black fraternities and the choice to brand

Sigma being branded

Pledging a fraternity is one of the greatest experiences a college student can have, especially at a Historically Black College or University. It is a binding of traditions that have been passed down for more than 100 years in Alpha Phi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi and Phi Beta Sigma. But there is one tradition that only a select few members of the organization participate in, branding.

Branding is a decision usually made after a pledgee becomes a brother and is never forced on the member of the organization. It should be noted that no national fraternity officially condones the practice of branding, but it occurs on a regular basis. The person to be branded has “just crossed the sands” and is in high spirits and easily can get swept away in the joy of completing a great accomplishment. Getting a brand consists of finding a fraternity member who is a “hit master.” This person is a respected brother, who knows what they are doing when making a brand.

A piece of metal, usually shaped into the fraternities Greek letters, is heated until it is red-hot. Depending on the fraternity, ice is applied to the intended brother’s arm or chest to numb the area.  Some fraternities however, may slap and punch the area until it is numb, this is known as “slapping it numb.” he red hot brand is then placed briefly on the skin, this is called a “hit.”  This causes a second or third degree burn on the skin in the shape of the Greek letter. If done properly, the burn heals into a lifelong scar that signifies membership in the fraternity.

Here are a few images of fraternity brands:

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5


  1. handsomeblackladdiebrad1953 on November 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

    SCREW BLACK FRATERNITIES!!!!!!!(AND white fraternities,for that matter.) White frats
    incubate white-collar KKKers;black frats are the breeding grounds for thuggish,scumbag
    absuers of women and children.(See;among others,FAMU frat homicide of bandsman.)
    Besides,these organizations strip members’ individuality for dumb_a** conformity.There are enough people with 88 IQs running things,in business,polticis and entertainment,that’s why anti-intellectualism rules today and is bidding to sink America in
    irrelevancy with the Soviet Union in the 90’s!!!!

  2. Godagesil Rex on January 5, 2017 at 6:36 am

    The fact that people of African descent form raised scars might be a factor in using scarring/branding as an overt method of identification. Most of us white folks don’t have that ability. I have some large scars that over the years have faded to the point I have a hard time finding them anymore. I also wonder if the practice doesn’t have a component of in “your face” rebellion to it. Branding in the past was a form of indelible punishment for blacks and whites alike. So branding is used as such to show an indelible mark of commitment. Such is also used in the BDSM community to show permanent ownership.