In the span of 109 years, from the introduction of the first home electric refrigerator to today, our world has undergone remarkable transformations. Back then, the concept of a global conflict like the Second World War had not yet materialized. In that same era, a pivotal amendment introduced the income tax, reshaping financial systems. Moreover, brave women took to the streets, advocating for their rightful place and equal representation in society. Amidst these historical shifts, 22 extraordinary women emerged as catalysts of change, leaving an indelible mark on the course of history and reminding us of the profound impact individuals can have in shaping our world. Here are the four milestones of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority:
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1. How it All Began
Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority was created at Howard University in the early 1900s, making it the first intercollegiate African-American sorority. As Alpha Kappa Alpha grew in size, some of its members became dissatisfied with the sorority’s direction. They aimed to go beyond the limitations of the academic experience and into more meaningful domains, such as political participation and tackling topics such as women’s advancement and public service.
A vote was held among Alpha Kappa Alpha members, and the decision was made to modify the sorority’s name, colors, and emblems to better reflect their increased activism focus. While the majority of graduating members approved the revisions, there was some pushback. Instead of provoking strife, 22 ladies chose to leave Alpha Kappa Alpha and form their own organization.
2. Activating Activism
The 22 founders of Delta Sigma Theta participated in the 1913 suffragette women’s march, which gained national attention and contributed to the passage of the 19th constitutional amendment. Delta Sigma Theta has maintained its dedication to activism, prioritizing service through their “Five-Point Thrust,” which includes economic development, education, international awareness, physical and mental health, and political involvement.
Delta Sigma Theta, the world’s largest black sorority, has grown from its initial 22-member chapter to over 350,000 women worldwide. The organization’s members are dedicated to service, scholarship, and social activism. Over the past 109 years, Delta Sigma Theta has made significant impacts on communities, such as assisting with homeownership, educating on financial security, constructing housing for the elderly, providing humanitarian relief, empowering young women, awarding academic scholarships, encouraging healthy habits, and organizing conferences for political engagement.
4. The 22 Women
The positive impact that Delta Sigma Theta sorors create worldwide traces its origins back to the initial ripples set in motion by the 22 women who sought a more fulfilling sorority experience
To Osceola Macarthy Adams, Marguerite Young Alexander, Winona Cargile Alexander, Ethel Cuff Black, Bertha Pitts Campbell, Zephyr Chisom Carter, Edna Brown Coleman, Jessie McGuire Dent, Frederica Chase Dodd, Myra Davis Hemmings, Olive C. Jones, Jimmie Bugg Middleton, Pauline Oberdorfer Minor, Vashti Turley Murphy, Naomi Sewell Richardson, Mamie Reddy Rose, Eliza Pearl Shippen, Florence Letcher Toms, Ethel Carr Watson, Wertie Blackwell Weaver, Madree Penn White, and Edith Motte Young, we express our heartfelt gratitude.
Delta Sigma Theta sisters, with over 350,000 members, have significantly impacted the global sisterhood, redefining sorority experiences, driving change, and inspiring and uplifting lives worldwide.