100 years ago today, 22 women at Howard University founded the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
I’m proud and happy to say that I am a member of this illustrious sorority.
Along with 16 other young women, I pledged at the Beta Alpha Chapter, on the campus of Florida A & M University (go Rattlers!). Because of the influence of two of my teachers, I left for college fully intending to pledge a different sorority – the pink and green one.
However, when I arrived at FAMU, the Deltas were holding voter registration drives, health fairs, visiting orphanages and nursing homes, painting the houses of senior citizens, volunteering as drivers for Meals on Wheels, and a multitude of other community service projects. These young women were engaged in the activities that spoke to my heart. They were involved in their community, and more important, they were making a difference. They were bold and fearless.
In contrast, the pink and green sorority’s level of community engagement was negligible.
Little did I know at the time, the very things that attracted me to Delta Sigma Theta (and turned me off from the pink and green one) reflect the basis of why the sorority was founded:
The genesis of Delta, and the root of the AKA-Delta rivalry, was on Oct. 11, 1912, when 22 women were initiated into AKA, then the only black women’s sorority. Of those 22, seven were elected officers, including Myra Davis Hemmings, who became chapter president. Almost immediately after taking office, the newcomers voiced their displeasure with the direction the organization was heading.
They thought AKA was too focused on social activities instead of social activism. They voted to reconstruct AKA from within — the name, colors, symbols, everything had to go, they said. AKA incorporator Nellie Quander rejected this notion and gave the women a deadline to end their plans. Instead, the 22 decided to separate and formed Delta Sigma Theta. (Source: The Washington Post)
Don’t get me wrong; I have respect for all sororities and their members. Delta Sigma Theta is the sorority that had a mission that spoke to me – and I’ve been wearing crimson and cream ever since.
Today’s Founder’s Day festivities included ecumenical services at churches across the country. I was especially blessed today because my Alumane Chapter held its services at the Greater Mt. Zion Baptist church, pastored by none other than my brother.
Some of the highlights from the church service:
After church, it was time to have some fun:
All in all, today was a wonderful day. I look forward to attending the 51st National Convention in Washington, DC, in July.
(Pssst! Wanna see a vintage photo from when I pledged?)
Join in the Fray: Are you in a sorority or fraternity? If so, give it a shout out!
Copyright © 2013 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl, All rights reserved.