Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrates 100 years nationally, locally

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-trained women. To trace its history is to tell a story of changing patterns of human relations in America in the 20th century.

One hundred years ago, Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded to touch lives: a sisterhood created to effect change — committed to improving the stature of women and serving humankind.

It was established at the twinkle of the 20th century. American society embraced capitalism as its economic engine and the separate but equal doctrine for the development of its human capital.

Email newsletter signup

AKA founders knew, both intellectually and spiritually, that the separate but equal doctrine for development of human rights was morally wrong. The vision of this moral deficit was so clear that they sacrificed their lives and the lives of other like minds for the perpetuation of freedom through education.

The small group of women who organized the sorority was conscious of a privileged position as college-trained women of color, just one generation removed from slavery. They were resolute that their college experiences should be as meaningful and productive as possible. Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded to apply that determination.

As the sorority grew, it kept in balance two important themes: the importance of the individual and the strength of an organization of women of ability and courage. As the world became more complex, there was a need for associations which cut across racial, geographical, political, physical and social barriers.

Alpha Kappa Alpha’s influence extends beyond campus quads and student interest. It has a legacy of service that deepens, rather than ends, with college graduation.

The goals of its program activities center on significant issues in families, communities, government halls and world assembly chambers. Its efforts constitute a priceless part of the global experience in the 21st century. Alpha Kappa Alpha is 100 years old and the local chapter is planning its celebrations.

On Jan. 15, the local chapter, Zeta Delta Omega, began its tributes, salutes and praise to commemorate this historic milestone. Under the leadership of Centennial President Ora Frazier, the chapter met on the bluff to release 100 balloons. Members then convened at the Eola Hotel for lunch and discussion of the centennial activities to follow.

Those activities include: closed Founders’ day program, birthday gala (black tie), church service, a trip to Houston, Texas for a showing of “The Color Purple,” presentation of five scholarships for $1,000 and three for $500, donations to the Alcorn State University Foundation, funding for St. Jude, Coat Day for those in need, a banquet to showcase the services and talents of high school girls who have mentors in the sorority, biennial “Fashionetta” featuring the Hamilton Vogue Esquire Models of Chicago, donations to area nursing homes and needy families during Christmas, supplies and funds to the adopted school in Africa, A Room Full of Sisters reception, summer retreat, Christmas Dance, and after-school tutoring for struggling students in all geographical areas the chapter serves.

Some activities are annual events and some are centennial events. All are centered around a “Legacy of Service and Sisterhood.”

This means that some activities promote a stronger sisterhood among members while others promote service to all mankind.

The biggest centennial activity, though, is the biennial international confab referred to as the Boule’ to be in Washington, D.C., in mid July 2008. Thousands of members from across the United States, Liberia, Germany, Seoul Korea, Bermuda, Japan, Virgin Islands and Grand Bahamas will convene for a week long celebration of commemoration and service. Thousands of dollars will be donated for national and international and signature projects.

This story of AKA service will take you on the Alpha Kappa Alpha journey from North to South and East to West; from the second millennium across the bridge to the 21st century.

Alpha Kappa Alpha has led the way in such programs as vocational guidance, Foreign Fellowship, the Mississippi Health Project, health programs, non-Partisan Council, the American Council on Human Rights, sickle cell anemia, Job Corps, the purchase of Martin Luther King’s birthplace, the establishment of the Educational Advancement Foundation and the African Village Development Program.

Zeta Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will commemorate the achievements of a dynamic group of women. Zeta Delta Omega Chapter has members in Natchez, Fayette, Alcorn State, Port Gibson, Concordia Parish, Wilkinson County, and Catahoula Parish.