A plate commemorating the Natchez chapter’s celebration of the sorority’s centennial anniversary and the national organization’s flower, the violet are symbols of the group.
A plate commemorating the Natchez chapter’s celebration of the sorority’s centennial anniversary and the national organization’s flower, the violet are symbols of the group.

Delta Sigma Theta celebrates 100 years

Published 12:03am Sunday, June 9, 2013

They may not be actual family, but the Natchez Delta Sigma Thetas say they are all sisters.

Sorors, or sorority sisters, are practically family, Clara Pinkney said.

“They’re as close as you can get to a blood sister,” she said.

Pinkney is one of 14 women who started the local Natchez chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in 1977. That 14-member chapter has grown to have 121 members today.

The national sorority is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Current members of the Natchez chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority line up on the steps of the Natchez Convention Center.
Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Current members of the Natchez chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority line up on the steps of the Natchez Convention Center.

The sorority was founded in 1913 by 22 students at Howard University. These young women wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence to provide scholarships, support the underserved, educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy and highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in their communities, according to Delta Sigma Theta’s mission statement.

Local founding member Alma Johnson said she is proud to be part of an organization that has a legacy of service and making a positive impact on people’s lives.

“That’s what we envisioned long ago (when we started the chapter), and we’re so proud of that” Johnson said.

Natchez’s chapter of Delta Sigma Theta has several community service initiatives, including mentoring programs and scholarships for young men and women, and contributes annually to the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund, Habitat for Humanity, the Stewpot and several other charitable causes.

Natchez chapter President Pamela Plummer said the mentoring programs target health issues, bullying, teen pregnancy and other topics.

“We try to give young people a positive outlook, as well as teach them to be good stewards of their community,” Plummer said.

First-year member Chelsea A. Hall said she joined Delta Sigma Theta for the opportunity to give back to the community.

“I felt seeking membership would definitely give me an opportunity to serve my purpose in life, which is helping others,” she said.

Hall was recently initiated with 47 other new members. As an only child, Hall said it is nice to now have 120 sisters.

Dr. Freda Lawrence said she has lived in several different places around the country, some of which she moved to without having any family there.

“I have found I have no worry when I relocate,” she said, “Once I find a soror or meet a soror, there’s an instant connection.”

Approximately 50,000 Deltas will converge in Washington, D.C., in July for the sorority’s 51st national convention.

“We’re going to paint Washington red and white,” Pinkney said, referencing the sorority’s colors.

Johnson said she is looking forward to Washington because she will be reunited with her line sisters, or sorority sisters with whom she was initiated into Delta.

“We’re scattered out now … in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Houston, (Texas),” she said. “We all still keep in touch.

“That’s the beauty of sisterhood; we’re all still sisters.”