On January 13, 1913 on the campus of Howard University, 22 female students founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. With the strength of those 22 women, the organization has grown to over 200,000 strong all over the world. A not-for-profit public service sorority, some of the world’s top professionals are members. Women like Sadie T.M. Alexander, who, in 1921, became the nation’s first woman to earn a Ph.D. in economics. Alexander was also one of the founders of the National Bar Association and the first president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Brigadier General Hazel Johnson Brown was the first black woman general in the United States Army and was a Delta Soror. Civil rights activists Dr. Dorothy Height and Myrlie Evers-Williams were Deltas. And as we approach the King Day celebrations, we salute Tina Allen, who was commissioned to do major sculptures, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as renowned sculptor Elizabeth Catlett.
While the organization was founded in the month of January, another significant date for the sorority is March 3, 1913. This was the first public act of service for the women, as the founders marched in the first women’s suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. The march was organized by Alice Paul and the National American Woman Suffrage Association. While still living in a segregated society, the black women marchers were asked to march at the end of the parade by organizers, for fear of losing the support of southern voters.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was incorporated in 1930. They hold biannual national conventions, with regional conferences on non-national convention years. In 2013, the Deltas celebrated their 100th anniversary. The celebration included a float in the annual Rose Parade festivities in Pasadena, CA, a major media gathering in New York City, a Hollywood Gala, the National Convention, a continuation of nationwide public service and a renewal of binding sisterhood among the members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Dr. Paulette C. Walker is the organization’s 25th national president.
The 22 Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated:
Winona Cargile Alexander
Madree Penn White, Wertie Blackwell Weaver
Vashti Turley Murphy
Ethel Cuff Black
Frederica Chase Dodd
Osceola Macarthy Adams
Pauline Oberdorfer Minor
Edna Brown Coleman,
Edith Motte Young
Marguerite Young Alexander
Naomi Sewell Richardson
Eliza P. Shippen
Zephyr Chisom Carter
Myra Davis Hemmings
Mamie Reddy Rose
Bertha Pitts Campbell
Florence Letcher Toms
Jessie McGuire Dent
Jimmie Bugg Middleton
Ethel Carr Watson
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