Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
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Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑΚΑ) is a Greek-lettered sorority, the first established by African-American college women. Membership is for college-educated women

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Alpha Kappa AlphaΑΚΑCrest of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which was designed by Phyllis Wheatley Waters in 1920.[1]FoundedJanuary 15, 1908; 110 years ago (1908-01-15)[2]
Howard UniversityTypeSocialEmphasisService and CultureScopeInternationalMottoBy Culture and By Merit [2]Colors     Salmon Pink      Apple Green [2]SymbolIvy leaf[2]FlowerPink Tea Rose[2]PublicationIvy Leaf magazine[2]Chapters1024 [3]NicknameAKAsHeadquarters5656 S. Stony Island Ave.
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Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑΚΑ) is a Greek-lettered sorority, the first established by African-American college women. Membership is for college-educated women.[4] The organization was founded on five basic tenets:

To cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of 'Service to All Mankind'.[5]

The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at the historically black Howard University in Washington, D.C., by a group of sixteen students led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. Forming a sorority broke barriers for African-American women in areas where they had little power or authority, due to a lack of opportunities for minorities and women in the early 20th century.[6] Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913.

Consisting of college-educated women of many diverse backgrounds from around the world, the sorority serves through a membership of more than 300,000 women in 1024 chapters in the United States and several other countries.[3] Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university or they may also join through a graduate chapter after acquiring an undergraduate or advanced college degree.[7]

After the organization's establishment, Alpha Kappa Alpha has helped to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs. Members have improved education through independent initiatives, contributed to community-building by creating programs and associations, such as the Mississippi Health Clinic, and influenced federal legislation by Congressional lobbying through the National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights. The sorority works with communities through service initiatives and progressive programs relating to education, family, health, and business.

Alpha Kappa Alpha is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). The current International President is Dr. Glenda Glover, and the sorority's document and pictorial archives are located at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Beginnings: 1907–1912
    • 1.2 Struggles and incorporation: 1912–1913
    • 1.3 Expansion and implementation of programs: 1913–1940
    • 1.4 Civil rights and educational training: 1950–1970
    • 1.5 Bridging toward the twenty-first century: 1980–2007
    • 1.6 Centennial celebration: 2008
    • 1.7 Lawsuits, forensic audits, and IRS review of former president
    • 1.8 CSULA hazing death lawsuit
    • 1.9 Alpha Beta Chapter prostitution investigation
  • 2 Membership
    • 2.1 Membership interest and intake
    • 2.2 Leadership: founders and executive directors
    • 2.3 International Presidents
    • 2.4 Boulé
    • 2.5 Regions
  • 3 National programs
    • 3.1 Educational Advancement Foundation
      • 3.1.1 History and donations
      • 3.1.2 Projects
    • 3.2 Ivy Acres
    • 3.3 Ivy Reading AKAdemy
    • 3.4 Leadership Fellows Program
    • 3.5 Partnerships in Mathematics and Science
    • 3.6 Young Authors Program
  • 4 Legacy
  • 5 See also
  • 6 Notes
  • 7 References
    • 7.1 Inline citations
    • 7.2 Sources referenced
  • 8 External links
History Main Hall and Miner Hall in 1868. Miner Hall is located to the left.[8] Miner Hall was the site of Alpha Kappa Alpha's founding on January 15, 1908.[9] The building was demolished in 1961.[10] Beginnings: 1907–1912

In spring 1907, Ethel Hedgeman led efforts to create a sisterhood at Howard University. Howard faculty member Ethal Robinson encouraged Hedgeman by relating her own observances of sorority life at the Women's College at Brown University, even though she was not a member of any sorority while a student at Brown.[11][12] Hedgeman was also inspired by her mentors at Howard. To implement her idea, Hedgeman began recruiting interested classmates during the summer of 1907.[13]

Eventually, nine women including Hedgeman were instrumental in organizing Alpha Kappa Alpha in the fall of 1907.[11][13] With Hedgeman serving as the temporary chairperson,[12] the women wrote the sorority's constitution, devised the motto, chose the favorite colors, and named the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.[11] Later in 1908, seven sophomore honor students expressed interest in joining and were accepted without initiation.[11][14] The first initiation was held in a wing of Miner Hall on Howard University on February 11, 1909.[15][16] On May 25, 1909, Alpha Kappa Alpha held its first "Ivy Week," a celebration that included planting ivy at Miner Hall.[17]

Struggles and incorporation: 1912–1913 A 1921 Certificate of Membership from the Gamma Chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign[16]

Alpha Kappa Alpha continued to grow at Howard. By the end of the 1911–12 school year, there were more than twenty members of the sorority and the organization had become an influential part of student life at Howard.[18] Following the annual celebration "Ivy Day" on Howard campus in Spring 1912, founder and former Basileus Nellie Quander learned that several other newly initiated members of the sorority planned to change the colors, letters, and constitution of the sorority, and to make it more active outside Howard University. Quander actively worked with the women who had become ΑΚΑs during the four years of the sorority's existence to maintain the integrity and tenets of Alpha Kappa Alpha. On January 13, 1913, the twenty-two undergraduate chapter members who wanted to transform Alpha Kappa Alpha left the organization and formed Delta Sigma Theta. Quander set up a three-person committee that successfully petitioned to incorporate ΑΚΑ as a perpetual entity. Alpha Kappa Alpha was nationally incorporated on January 29, 1913.[19]

   Alpha Kappa Alpha Officer Titles[2]    "Basileus" President "Anti-Basileus" Vice-President "Grammateus" Recording Secretary "Anti-Grammateus" Assistant Secretary "Pecunious Grammateus" Financial Secretary "Tamiouchos" Treasurer "Epistoleus" Corresponding Secretary "Hodegos" Hostess "Philacter" Sergeant at Arms A close up of an Alpha Phi Alpha delegate badge from the 23rd Boulé. The tri-convention—consisting of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Kappa Alpha Psi—was held from December 27–31, 1940, in Kansas City, Missouri.[16][20] Expansion and implementation of programs: 1913–1940

Alpha Kappa Alpha continued to grow nationally. A second chapter at the University of Chicago was chartered in fall 1913.[21] In addition, Alpha Kappa Alpha helped to support members by providing scholarship funds for school and foreign studies.[22]

Alpha Kappa Alpha began to unite members at the annual Boulé, the sorority's governing body.[2] The sorority's pledge was written by Grace Edwards and was adopted by the 1920 Boulé.[1] In addition, the sorority's crest was designed by Phyllis Wheatley Waters and accepted in the same Boulé.[1] A year later, at the 1921 Boulé, the Ivy Leaf was designated as "the official organ of Alpha Kappa Alpha," and Founders' Week, paying honor to ΆKΆ's founders was established.[1][23] Pearls were first introduced to the sorority in the same year.[1] The sorority membership pin was accepted in the following Boulé in Kansas City, Missouri.[24] At the 1947 Boulé, pins for honorary members were designed and approved.[25]

On May 10, 1930, Alpha Kappa Alpha, along with the fraternities Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi and sororities Delta Sigma Theta and Zeta Phi Beta, formed the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) at Howard University.[26] Currently consisting of nine predominately black fraternities and sororities, NPHC promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.[26]

A 1934 issue of Ivy Leaf, Alpha Kappa Alpha's official organ[2]

Throughout the Great Migration, members assisted the Travelers Aid Society, to help thousands of Southern Blacks adjust to Northern society, find housing and navigate around the city. They also volunteered at the Freedman's Hospital.[23]

In April 1933, during the Great Depression, International President Ida Jackson visited All Saints Industrial School in Lexington, Mississippi. She found difficult conditions in the Mississippi Delta. Some of the teachers did not have an education past the seventh grade. African Americans were trying to make a living sharecropping on plantation land as agricultural prices continued to fall.[27][28] In summer 1934, Ida Jackson initiated the Summer School for Rural Teachers to train future teachers. She worked with a total of 22 student teachers and 243 school children. In addition, she held night classes for 48 adults.[29] By obtaining 2600 books for the school's library, Jackson made it "the largest library owned by white or colored in all Holmes County."[29]

In summer 1938, Ida Jackson focused on poverty and established a regional health clinic. She had acquired $1,000 from the Boulé to fund the project in December 1935.[30] The clinic evolved into the Mississippi Health Project, with Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee appointed as the director.[30]

The Mississippi Health Project brought primary medical care to the rural Black population across the state for six summers.[31][32] The program has been recognized as the first mobile health clinic in the United States, assisting approximately 15,000 people in the Mississippi Delta.[33] The project was noted for helping to decrease cases diphtheria and smallpox in the region and to improve nutritional and dental practices throughout rural Mississippi.[34][35]

Led by incorporator Norma Elizabeth Boyd, the sorority created the National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights (NPC) in 1938, later renamed the National Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs. It was the first full-time congressional lobby for minority group civil rights.[36][37] Throughout the organization's life, the Non-Partisan Council worked with the NAACP, National Urban League, The United Office and Professional Workers of America, The National Association of Graduate Nurses, the American Federation of Churches, the Colored Women's Club, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Auxiliary, and the New York Voter's League.[38] The NPC was dissolved on July 15, 1948, by twelfth Supreme Basileus Edna Over Gray-Campbell.[37][37] A year later, Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first sorority to apply for life membership in the NAACP.[39]

To replace the NPC, in August 1945, Alpha Kappa Alpha established the American Council on Human Rights (ACHR). The council made recommendations to the government concerning civil rights legislation.[40] The ACHR was proposed at the 1946 Boulé.[40] In October 1946, Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first sorority to obtain observer status at the United Nations.[41] On January 25, 1948, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho sororities and Alpha Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma fraternities were charter members of the ACHR.[42] Kappa Alpha Psi later was included in March 1949.[43][44]

On September 1, 1945, Alpha Kappa Alpha established The National Health Office in New York City.[33] The National Health Office coordinated activities with local chapters and worked with the ACHC to promote health initiatives before Congress, increase the number of student nurses, and improve the state of health programs at historically Black Colleges and Universities.[45] The National Health Office was dissolved in 1951, as its goals were incorporated into the sorority's international program.[46]

Civil rights and educational training: 1950–1970

Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, members helped to sponsor job training, reading enrichment, heritage and youth programs. By encouraging youth to improve math, science, and reading skills, the sorority continued a legacy of community service and pledged to enrich the lives of others. Financially, Alpha Kappa Alpha expanded funding for projects in 1953 through the creation and trademark of a fashion show called Fashionetta.[25][47] Politically, ACHR continued lobbying for equality concerning civil rights during the 1950s and 1960s. According to Collier-Thomas, the ACHR drew attention to legislation concerning education, transportation, employment, and improving equality in the armed forces and public places.[48] The ACHR participated in filing civil rights cases in amicus curiae with Bolling v. Sharpe and 1954's Brown v. Board of Education.[49] However, as a whole, ACHR voted to dissolve operations in 1963.[49]

Alpha Kappa Alpha contributed programs for inner city youth by capitalizing on political gains in the White House. On August 20, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, which allowed the creation of the Job Corps.[50] The sorority wanted to operate a job training center for students. Led by president Julia Purnell, ΆKΆ negotiated with the Office of Economic Opportunity to operate a women's center from October 1964 to January 1965.[50] Alpha Kappa Alpha was awarded a US$4 million grant to operate the Cleveland Job Corps on February 12, 1965, becoming the first sorority to operate a federal job training center.[32][50] Beginning in 1965, the Cleveland Job Corps trained female high school dropouts, aged 16 to 21, with job and educational skills. In 1976, the Cleveland Job Corps accepted males.[32] The sorority operated the Cleveland Job Corps until 1995.[51]

The sorority educated the community through highlighting the accomplishments of notable individuals by publishing The Heritage Series between 1968 and 1972.[16] These pamphlets were a series of biographies of top African-American women. Altogether, the entire collection contained "Women in the Judiciary," "Women in Politics," "Women in Medicine," "Women in Business," and "Women in Dentistry."[52] Alpha Kappa Alpha also donated $20,000 for preserving Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthplace in Atlanta, Georgia, in the early 1970s.[53] In 1978, during the sorority's seventieth anniversary, the Memorial Window at Howard University was dedicated to the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Surviving founders Lavinia Norman and Norma Boyd attended the celebration of unveiling the Memorial Window, designed by Lois Mailou Jones.[54]

Bridging toward the twenty-first century: 1980–2007

Soon after the sorority's 75th anniversary, Alpha Kappa Alpha contributed funds to decrease Africa's poverty with the establishment of African Village Development Program (AVDP).[55] As a conjoint program with Africare, the sorority sought to decrease poverty in African villages.[32][55] In collaboration with the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH), the sorority built ten schools in South Africa after apartheid ended, and it donated computer technology to the region.[32][56]

Throughout the 1990s, the sorority continued to provide after-school mentoring programs, such as ON TRACK.[32] ON TRACK, an acronym which stands for "Organizing, Nurturing, Team building, Respecting, Achieving, Counseling and Knowing," was designed to help the progress of 20,000 third graders who were at-risk of failing their education.[57] Sponsored by Daimler Chrysler, ON TRACK was designated to "improve communication, academics, physical and emotional health, peer leadership, etiquette, and interpersonal relationships."[32][57] In addition, programs such as the Ivy Reading AKAdemy and Young Authors Program improved elementary reading comprehension skills, while P.I.M.S. highlighted programs in math and science.[32]

Acting Surgeon General Rear Admiral Kenneth P. Moritsugu addressing participants at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated's 98th National Founders Day in 2006. Then Alpha Kappa Alpha Executive Director Barbara McKinzie sits to the right.[58] .mw-parser-output .quotebox{background-color:#F9F9F9;border:1px solid #aaa;box-sizing:border-box;padding:10px;font-size:88%}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatleft{margin:0.5em 1.4em 0.8em 0}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatright{margin:0.5em 0 0.8em 1.4em}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.centered{margin:0.5em auto 0.8em auto}.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatleft p,.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatright p{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .quotebox-title{background-color:#F9F9F9;text-align:center;font-size:larger;font-weight:bold}.mw-parser-output .quotebox-quote.quoted:before{font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;font-weight:bold;font-size:large;color:gray;content:" “ ";vertical-align:-45%;line-height:0}.mw-parser-output .quotebox-quote.quoted:after{font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;font-weight:bold;font-size:large;color:gray;content:" ” ";line-height:0}.mw-parser-output .quotebox .left-aligned{text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .quotebox .right-aligned{text-align:right}.mw-parser-output .quotebox .center-aligned{text-align:center}.mw-parser-output .quotebox cite{display:block;font-style:normal}@media screen and (max-width:360px){.mw-parser-output .quotebox{min-width:100%;margin:0 0 0.8em!important;float:none!important}} The purpose of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of service to all mankind.

—Sorority Creed[59]

The sorority responded to the call for help in fall 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, by raising money for a disaster relief fund.[55] In July 2007, through Habitat for Humanity, the sorority helped build a house in New Orleans for a family that survived Hurricane Katrina.[60]

In addition to educational programs, Alpha Kappa Alpha contributed to drawing awareness to health-related issues, such as AIDS, sickle cell anemia, breast cancer, and the importance of staying in shape.[55][61][62] Recently, the sorority has supported the efforts of justice for the Jena Six.[63] Also, the sorority connects to the past by partnering with African Ancestry.[64] Sorority members may use African Ancestry's DNA testing to find genealogical data for themselves and their families. The purpose of the partnership is to help members trace family connections through the world as well as in Africa, to embrace African-American culture and the larger community.[65]

Centennial celebration: 2008

Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrated its centenary with a year-long commemoration in 2008. The celebration coincided with the sorority's biennial Boulé.[66] Internationally, some Alpha Kappa Alpha members began marking the festivities by making a pilgrimage to Howard University from January 12 to January 15, 2008.[66][67] The activities included sorority members financially donating $1 million in scholarship funds to Howard University,[68] contributing libraries for Middle School for Mathematics and Science and Asbury Dwelling for Senior Citizens, and unveiling a digital version of the entire Ivy Leaf publication.[69] In addition, sorority undergraduate and graduate members who were not available to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C., held celebrations in local cities.[70][71] On July 11 to July 18, 2008, Alpha Kappa Alpha held their 63rd Boulé. A town hall meeting with the public, a unity march in conjunction with other NPHC members, and a concert featuring R&B Grammy Award winning singer Patti LaBelle were some of the events which occurred at the centennial Boulé.[72] On July 17, 2008, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority set a Guinness World Record when 16,206 members set a record by having the largest-ever silver service sit-down dinner in a convention.[73]

ΑΚΑ's centennial museum at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Alpha Kappa Alpha's accomplishments were heralded by the United States Congress, with U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and sorority member U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, who both agreed to pass legislation in both houses of the United States Congress to commemorate the sorority's founding.[74] In addition, the toy company Mattel designed a Barbie collectible doll fashioned with a pink and green evening gown.[75][76]

Lawsuits, forensic audits, and IRS review of former president

On June 20, 2009, eight Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority members filed a complaint in D.C. Superior Court demanding that International President Barbara McKinzie be fired for improper use of sorority funds and the money be returned to the sorority.[77] The lawsuit claimed that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated's Executive Board approved the spending of substantial amounts on McKinzie's costs of living, including commissioning an expensive wax model of McKinzie, which cost $900,000. In response, McKinzie denied the allegations, describing them as "without merit." The memberships of the eight AKAs who filed the complaint were revoked by the sorority in retaliation for the lawsuit but later forced to be reinstated by a judge.[78][79][80][81]

In February 2010, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit.[82][83] On August 18, 2011, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed the previous decision.[84][85]

On March 22, 2012, a forensic audit of Alpha Kappa Alpha's 2010 financial records revealed troubling concerns with past president, Barbara McKinzie's development and access to a "secret" bank account. The audit of the sorority led to findings that supported the claims in the previous lawsuit. The audit also found two former officials continued to use sorority credit cards after their service ended, failing to appropriately document charges. Another lawsuit against the organization, the former president McKinzie and other officials contained similar allegations. The audit found that McKinzie and the other officials secretly created a second set of financial books to get around the sorority's accounting policies. According to the audit, "(n)early $1.7 million in payments were made to the former president, Barbara McKinzie, without authorization. Approximately $282,000 in credit card charges on a second set of books appear to be fraudulent, including personal charges the sorority wasn't reimbursed for."[86] The sorority later expelled McKinzie[87] and won an arbitration award of $1.6 million against her, which (as of January 2017) was challenged by McKinzie in court.[88]

Also the sorority's tax returns were audited by the Internal Revenue Service. As of December 2010[update] the audit was expected to be concluded sometime in January 2012.[86]

CSULA hazing death lawsuit

On September 9, 2002, pledges Kristin High (22 years old mother of one) and Kenitha Saafir (24 years old) from California State University – Los Angeles (CSULA), were pronounced dead as a result of an illegal and dangerous pledging ritual. The women were instructed by members of Alpha Kappa Alpha to perform a series of activities blindfolded on Dockweiler State Beach when a high tide came and eventually drowned both of them. The next day when sorority members brought Kristin's car and cellphone to her mother, she noticed Kristin's pledge journal always kept in her car suddenly missing and numbers deleted from her cellphone. Prior to Kristin's death, Kristin's mother encouraged her to fully disassociate herself from the sorority after Kristin discussed unsisterly behavior displayed by members of AKA such as disrespecting pledges and forcing them to run late night errands for AKA members. A year after the tragic incident, the families of the deceased settled with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated after filing a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit. The sorority initially denied having an active chapter at CSULA in an effort to deny responsibility for the deaths but evidence and sworn testimonies proved otherwise so the court dismissed their claim and held the whole sorority accountable for the deaths.[89]

Alpha Beta Chapter prostitution investigation

In May 2018, the Alpha Beta Chapter at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) was placed under investigation by the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations due to compelling allegations of the chapter's graduate advisor instructing low-income prospective members to have sex with affluent men in the Fort Valley area to pay approximately $1,500 in membership intake fees. The chapter's graduate advisor resigned in light of the investigation and hired legal representation to combat the allegations.[90][91][92] In October 2018, six of the seven individuals involved in the prostitution ring turned themselves in to authorities.[93]

Membership Further information: List of Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters Alpha Kappa Alpha's National Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois

Alpha Kappa Alpha reports a membership of over 283,000 women internationally. The sorority has over 65,000 active members with many different backgrounds and professions.[3] Graduate members constitute the largest percentage of membership.[94] Alpha Kappa Alpha has 992 chapters, located in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, and South Africa.[95]

The term soror, derived from the Latin for "sister",[96] is used between members of the sorority. Membership of the Directorate includes the Board of Directors. For graduate chapters, "Omega" is added to distinguish those which consist of college graduates from undergraduate chapters. "Supreme," as a term, is preposed to the title of an international officeholder, such as Supreme Basileus.[2] Deceased members are referred to as "Ivies Beyond the Wall".[2]

Honorary membership[97] is Alpha Kappa Alpha's highest honor.[94] For example, Jane Addams, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is among the first honorary members.[98] Eleanor Roosevelt, a former First Lady and wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was made an honorary member. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Senator and First Lady, and wife of President Bill Clinton, accepted honorary membership into Alpha Kappa Alpha.[99] However, Clinton later declined initiation into the organization due to the sorority's exclusive requirement preventing acceptance into other Pan-Hellenic organizations, and desired her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha to be "non-exclusive."[99][100]

Membership interest and intake

The Ivy Leaf Pledge Club was the official pledge club of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.[101] Potential candidates who were interested in joining the sorority would join the pledge club before being inducted into the sorority.[102]

An "Ivy Leaf Pledge Club" located at Wilberforce University in 1922

In Our Kind of People: Inside America's Upper Class, Lawrence Otis Graham tells of his aunt's experience in joining the Ivy Pledge Club:

.mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

We had to learn a lot more about the historic beginnings of the AKAs, and we did it by writing long letters of application to the Ivy Leaf Pledge Club—the senior wing of the sorority that regulated the admissions process—and then attending monthly meetings where the older students tutored us on the history.[103]

In addition, according to Graham, the sorority would have "Pledge Week", a period where a candidate's grades and behavior were reviewed by chapter members. Candidates who withstood this period were initiated into the sorority.[103] Membership interest is processed by an interest meeting, known as a "rush". After the candidate receives an official letter from the sorority, she can participate in the membership intake process. Prospective members must have a C+ average or better prior to their membership submission, as well as a record of community service. If a prospective member has graduated, that member could be invited to join the sorority at the discretion of the graduate chapter.[104]

Leadership: founders and executive directors

The leadership of the sorority in the early years was derived from three separate groups—the original group, the sophomores and the incorporators, who together were known as "The Twenty Pearls."[2][105] The Executive Director position has been held by eight members since the office's creation on October 9, 1949.[106]

Original group of 1908:

  • Anna Easter Brown
  • Beulah Elizabeth Burke
  • Lillie Burke
  • Marjorie Hill
  • Margaret Flagg Holmes
  • Ethel Hedgeman Lyle
  • Lavinia Norman
  • Lucy Diggs Slowe
  • Marie Woolfolk Taylor

Sophomores of 1910:[14]

  • Norma Elizabeth Boyd
  • Ethel Jones Mowbray
  • Alice P. Murray
  • Sarah Meriweather Nutter
  • Joanna Berry Shields
  • Carrie Snowden
  • Harriet Josephine Terry

Incorporators of 1913:[107]

  • Nellie Quander
  • Julia Evangeline Brooks
  • Nellie Pratt Russell
  • Minnie B. Smith

Executive Directors:[108]

  1. Carey B. Maddox-Preston (1948–1974)
  2. Anne Mitchem-Davis (1974–1980)
  3. Earnestine G. McNealey (1980–1985)
  4. Barbara McKinzie (1985–1987)
  5. Nan D. Johnson (1987–1988)
  6. Alison Harris (1989–1996)
  7. Emma Lilly Henderson (1997–1998)
  8. Carey B. Maddox-Preston (1998–1999)
  9. Betty N. James (1999–2009)
  10. Deborah Dangerfield (2009–2013)
  11. Cynthia Howell (2013–Present)
International Presidents

Listed below are the twenty-nine International Presidents since the 1913 institution of the office.[109]

  • Nellie Quander (1913)
  • Loraine R. Green (1919)
  • L. Pearl Mitchell (1923)
  • Pauline S. Puryear (1925)
  • B. Beatrix Scott (1927)
  • Maudelle B. Bousfield (1929)
  • Maude B. Porter (1931)
  • Ida L. Jackson (1933)
  • Margaret D. Bowen (1936)
  • Dorothy B. Ferebee (1939)
  • Beulah T. Whitby (1941)
  • Edna O. Campbell (1946)
  • Laura Lovelace (1949)
  • Arnetta G. Wallace (1953)
  • Marjorie H. Parker (1958)
  • Julia B. Purnell (1962)
  • Larzette Hale (1966)
  • Mattelia B. Grays (1970)
  • Bernice I. Sumlin (1974)
  • Barbara K. Phillips (1978)
  • Faye B. Bryant (1982)
  • Janet Jones Ballard (1986)
  • Mary Shy Scott (1990)
  • Eva L. Evans (1994)
  • Norma S. White (1998)
  • Linda White (2002)
  • Barbara A. McKinzie (2006)
  • Carolyn House Stewart (2010)
  • Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson (2014)
  • Glenda Glover (2018)
Boulé Main article: List of Alpha Kappa Alpha Boulés

The Boulé[A] is the regulating institution of the sorority and currently meets every two years.[2] Throughout the years, notable individuals such as civil rights activists Martin Luther King, Jr. and Roy Wilkins were speakers at past Boulé conferences.[16]

Regions The nine regions of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority within the United States[110]

After the establishment of 32 graduate and undergraduate chapters in 1924, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority organized chapters according to their regions in the United States and abroad. The Boulé determines the boundaries of the regions.[111] The ten regions are each led by a regional director, where she serves a member of the sorority's Board of Directors. In addition to serving on the sorority's Board of Directors, the regional director also follows guidelines, program targets set by the International President, as well as procedures.[111] Almost two-thirds of the sorority's regional directors have been elected international presidents.[111]

National programs Educational Advancement Foundation

Alpha Kappa Alpha's Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF) is a separate and tax-exempt branch of the sorority, which "provide financial support to individuals and organizations engaged in lifelong learning."[112] The foundation awards academic scholarships (for undergraduate members of the sorority, as well as non-members), fellowships, and grants for community service.[113]

History and donations

The foundation was the brainchild of Constance Holland, the sister of former Alpha Kappa Alpha International President Dr. Barbara Phillips, in 1978. The foundation had official beginnings in 1980 and the sorority donated US$10,000 for the project. Eight years later, the organization first awarded $10,000 to fourteen students. In 1991, EAF first awarded mini-grants to community organizations. In 1998, EAF provided the first Youth Partners Accessing Capital (PAC) award to an undergraduate member.

At the organization's twentieth anniversary in 2000, EAF published Perpetuating Our Posterity: A Blueprint for Excellence. The book served as a comprehensive history of the organization and as a source of advice for other beginning philanthropies. EAF went online with a website in 2003.

The organization celebrated a silver anniversary in Nassau, Bahamas, in 2005. EAF is incorporated into the International President's centennial program for funding under Excellent Scholarly Performance. Overall, EAF has donated more than $200,000 in grants and awarded 1,400 students with scholarships.[114] Other major donors to EAF include Continental Airlines and Northern Trust.[115]

Projects Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated assisting Delaware's Department of Highway Safety in distributing booster seats to low income children
  • Advocates for Black Colleges – The purpose of the Advocates for Black Colleges is to raise $100,000 for a selected historically black college and university, to support the institution's scholarships and program grants. Corporations as well as minority graduates of historically black colleges are encouraged to donate funds as well. The first college receiving aid is Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.[116]
  • Howard University Fund – Alpha Kappa Alpha is celebrating the centennial of the sorority's founding by donating $2 million to Howard University though two facets. First, the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center houses the historical artifacts, photographs, documents, and recordings of Alpha Kappa Alpha's contributions to community service. One million dollars will be used to improve Alpha Kappa Alpha's archives. In addition, one million dollars will be donated to the Nellie M. Quander Scholarship Fund. The fund will be used to finance partial or full scholarships for Howard University women in their junior and senior years.[116]
  • Chapter Scholarships – Undergraduate and graduate members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's chapters send separate dues to the Educational Advancement Foundation to fund local scholarships.[116][117] Depending on the size of the contributions by the chapter, the scholarships generally range from $100 to $500. For a chapter to donate under the EAF's Endowment Fund, a chapter needs to raise $20,000.[118]
  • The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Traveling Exhibit chronicles achievements of Alpha Kappa Alpha members through the organization's one-hundred years. The exhibit appears in several cities across the nation from 2006 to 2008.[119]
Ivy Acres

Ivy Acres will be a retirement center located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The retirement center is sponsored by Senior Residences, Incorporated, a subsidiary of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.[120] Ivy Acres will be one of the first retirement centers founded by African-Americans and minorities in the United States. It will offer assisted or individual living for individuals who are over fifty-five, regardless of background, ethnicity or religion.[120][121] Barbara K. Phillips, former Vice-President and Project Coordinator for Senior Residences, Incorporated, explains the purpose of Ivy Acres, "We determined that there is a need out there, but this will be open to all. We want to be diverse, we want to be multicultural. Anyone who wants to come will be welcome."[120]

The gated community will be located on a 48-acre (190,000 m2) site. The planning for Ivy Acres cost approximately $32 million USD.[120] In addition, according to Business Wire, Ivy Acres will comprise "188 independent residential units, which will be both apartments and cottages, forty assisted-living apartments and twenty private accommodations for skilled nursing care."[120] Residents are expected to pay $1,890 to $2,890 per month for services.[120]

Alpha Kappa Alpha's Alpha Epsilon chapter at Virginia State University in 1994. Ivy Reading AKAdemy

The Ivy Reading AKAdemy provides programs that encourage the entire community to become involved. The concept serves as an educational and human resource center for programs provided by Alpha Kappa Alpha. Working with No Child Left Behind in mind, "The Ivy Reading AKAdemy," a reading initiative, focuses on early learning and mastery of basic reading skills by the end of third grade. The Ivy Reading AKAdemy has a $1.5 million proposal pending with the United States Department of Education to fund a three-year nationwide after-school demonstration project in low-performing, economically deprived inner city schools in 16 sites within the continental United States.[32]

Leadership Fellows Program

The Leadership Fellows Program is a fully funded event in which thirty Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sophomore and junior undergraduate members worldwide are individually trained for professional leadership roles. In addition, the fellows contribute to community service for one week. One of the selection criteria is that members must have at least a 3.0 GPA.[122] The program initially was planned in 1978. In the following year, the first program was held in Indiana with twenty-nine students.[32] Various cities around the United States have held the Leadership Fellows Program. In the past, Alpha Kappa Alpha has sponsored the event through the Educational Advancement Foundation. Also, the program has been financed by Pillsbury, Tyson Foods, Johnson & Johnson, and most recently General Electric.[123][124][125]

Partnerships in Mathematics and Science

Partnerships in Mathematics and Science (PIMS) began in Eva Evans's administration in 1994, and was a part of the SPIRIT program during the Linda White administration.[126] Eva Evans mentioned the need for a math and science program, "As a college sorority, we've always advanced an educational agenda. We always had high GPA requirements. And more than ever, we're pushing the importance of math and science for our girls. We need more black women in those fields."[127] The program's purpose is to increase the successes of youth in mathematics and science, as well as technology. Campaigns to highlight the program's importance were sponsored by the National Science Foundation and historically black colleges from across the country.[126] Several chapters provided two-week math and science summer camps on college and day school campuses, which consisted of hands-on-learning through laboratory interactions, field trips to important sites, youth camps, and speeches from influential experts in specific areas of studies.[32][57] For example, a PIMS program at Park Street Elementary School in Marietta, Georgia, consisted of third through fifth grade girls and provided educational field trips in order to stimulate involvement in math and science.[116][128] Also, a national P.I.M.S. Olympiad, deriving from knowledge of math and science, in conjunction with the PIMS Community Parade was held at the 58th Boulé in Dallas, Texas.[32][57]

Alpha Kappa Alpha tree at Howard University. Young Authors Program

In Linda White's administrations, the Young Authors Program was born. The purpose of the program is to encourage and raise involvement in reading and writing in kindergarten through third grade school children. Each of the ten regions in the sorority had the opportunity to choose a child's story to be published in a two volume anthology entitled, The Spirit Within: Voices of Young Authors.[32] In 2004, twenty children were honored in the first anthology.[129] The authors were recognized and performed book signings in the 2004 and 2006 Boulés.[32] At the 2004 Boulé in Nashville, Tennessee, former Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige attended. On July 15, 2004, First Lady Laura Bush spoke on the Ivy AKAdemy's dedication to reading initiatives, "Teaching our children to read is the most critical educational priority facing our country. Children who do not learn to read by third grade continue to find reading a challenge throughout their lives. These expectations increase in amount and complexity each year."[129][130]

  • The sorority is featured on the documentary series Profiles of African-American Success.
See also
  • List of social fraternities and sororities
  1. ^ The word boulé, derived from ancient Greek βουλή and originally referring to a council of nobles advising a king, is also used by the African-American professional organization Sigma Pi Phi.
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  • Brown, Tamara L., Parks, Gregory and Phillips, Clarenda M. (2005) African American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky
  • McNealey, Earnestine G. (2006). Pearls of Service: The Legacy of America's First Black Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. LCCN 2006928528.
  • Parker, Marjorie H. (1958). Alpha Kappa Alpha: 1908–1958. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
  • Parker, Marjorie H. (1966). Alpha Kappa Alpha: Sixty Years of Service. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
  • Parker, Marjorie H. (1979). Alpha Kappa Alpha: In the Eye of the Beholder. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
  • Parker, Marjorie H. (1990). Alpha Kappa Alpha Through the Years: 1908–1988. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
  • Parker, Marjorie H. (1999). Past is Prologue: The History of Alpha Kappa Alpha 1908–1999. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-933244-00-9.
  • Ross, Jr., Lawrence (2000). The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities in America. New York: Kensington. ISBN 978-1-57566-491-0.
  • Whaley, Deborah Elizabeth. Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (State University of New York Press; 2010) 206 pages; sociological study combines ethnographic, archival, oral-historical, and other approaches
External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alpha Kappa Alpha.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Official Website
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Centennial Celebration
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha – Educational Advancement Foundation, Incorporated
  • Ivy Leaf: 1921–1998 Microfiche Guide (PDF)
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National Pan-Hellenic Council (in order by founding date)
  • Alpha Phi Alpha 1906
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha 1908
  • Kappa Alpha Psi 1911
  • Omega Psi Phi 1911
  • Delta Sigma Theta 1913
  • Phi Beta Sigma 1914
  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920
  • Sigma Gamma Rho 1922
  • Iota Phi Theta 1963
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Fraternities and sororitiesHistory
  • Fraternities and sororities
  • History of North American fraternities and sororities
  • High school fraternities and sororities
  • Professional fraternities and sororities
  • Service fraternities and sororities
  • Fraternities and sororities in Canada
  • List by country/territory
    • France
    • Philippines
    • Puerto Rico
  • List of fictional fraternities and sororities
Related concepts
  • Freemasonry
  • Odd Fellows
  • Secret society
  • Colony
  • North American fraternity and sorority housing
  • Stepping
  • Hazing
  • Hazing in Greek letter organizations
  • Hazing deaths by country
    • United States
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  • Mother of Fraternities
  • ΑΚΑ
  • ΑΦΑ
  • ΔΣΘ
  • ΖΦΒ
  • ΙΦΘ
  • ΚΑΨ
  • ΣΓΡ
  • ΦΒΣ
  • ΦΡΗ
  • ΩΨΦ
Asian/Pacific Islander-American
  • αΚΔΦ
  • ΑΦΓ
  • ΒΧΘ
  • ΔΕΨ
  • ΔΚΔ
  • ΔΦΩ
  • ΙΝΔ
  • ΚΦΛ
  • ΛΦΕ
  • ΠΑΦ
  • ΠΔΨ
  • ΣΒΡ
  • ΣΟΠ
  • ΣΨΖ
  • ΣΦΩ
fraternities and sororities
  • ΑΔΓ
  • ΑΔΧ
  • ΑΓΩ
  • ΑΛΩ
  • ΑΝΩ
  • ΒΣΨ
  • ΒΥΧ
  • ΓΦΔ
  • ΣΑΩ
  • ΣΘΕ
  • ΣΦΛ
  • ΦΒΧ
  • ΧΑΩ
Historically Jewish
  • ΑΕΠ
  • ΑΕΦ
  • ΖΒΤ
  • ΣΑΕΠ
  • ΣΑΜ
  • ΣΔΤ
  • ΤΔΦ
  • ΤΕΦ
  • Delphic
  • ΔΞΝ
  • ΔΞΦ
  • ΓΗ
  • ΖΣΧ
  • ΖΦΡ
  • ΖΧΦ
  • ΘΝΞ
  • ΛΤΩ
  • ΛΨΔ
  • ΜΣΥ
  • ΣΛΓ
  • ΤΦΣ
  • ΨΣΦ
  • ΩΔΦ
  • ΩΦΧ
  • ΑΛΖ
  • ΑΠΔ
  • ΔΛΦ
  • ΓΡΛ
  • ΚΑΛ
  • ΚΘΕ
  • ΟΕΠ
  • ΣΦΒ
  • ΘΠΣ
Native American
  • ΑΠΩ
  • ΦΣΝ
  • ΣΟΕ
Latino and Puerto Rican
  • ΑΨΛ
  • ΔΤΛ
  • ΓΑΩ
  • ΓΖΑ
  • ΗΓΔ
  • ΚΔΧ
  • ΛΑΥ
  • ΛΠΧ
  • ΛΠΥ
  • ΛΣΥ
  • ΛΘΑ
  • ΛΘΦ
  • ΛΘΝ
  • ΛΥΛ
  • ΝΑΚ
  • ΜΑΦ
  • ΝΣΒ
  • ΣΔΑ
  • ΣΙΑ
  • ΣΛΑ
  • ΣΛΒ
  • ΣΛΥ
  • ΣΠΑ
  • ΦΔΓ
  • ΦΗΜ
  • ΦΙΑ
  • ΦΣΑ
  • ΧΥΣ
  • ΩΦΒ
Major specific
  • ΑΓΡ
  • ΑΓΣ
  • ΑΚΨ
  • ΑΣΚ
  • FarmHouse
  • ΚΚΨ
  • ΣΑΙ
  • ΤΒΣ
  • Triangle
  • ΦΣΓ
  • ΦΣΡ
Social sororities
  • ΑΓΔ
  • ΑΔΠ
  • ΑΕΦ
  • ΑΞΔ
  • ΑΟΠ
  • ΑΣΑ
  • ΑΣΤ
  • ΑΦ
  • ΑΧΩ
  • ΓΦΒ
  • ΔΔΔ
  • ΔΓ
  • ΔΖ
  • ΔΦΕ
  • ΖΤΑ
  • ΘΦΑ
  • ΚΑΘ
  • ΚΒΓ
  • ΚΔ
  • ΚΚΓ
  • ΠΒΦ
  • ΣΔΤ
  • ΣΚ
  • ΣΣΣ
  • ΣΨ
  • ΦΜ
  • ΦΣΣ
  • ΧΩ
Social fraternities
  • Acacia
  • ΑΔΦ
  • ΑΚΛ
  • ΑΣΦ
  • ΑΤΩ
  • ΑΦΔ
  • ΑΧΑ
  • ΑΧΡ
  • ΒΘΠ
  • ΔΚΕ
  • ΔΣΦ
  • ΔΤΔ
  • ΔΥ
  • ΔΦ
  • ΔΧ
  • ΔΩΕ
  • ΖΨ
  • ΘΔΧ
  • ΘΞ
  • ΘΧ
  • ΚΑ Order
  • ΚΑ Society
  • ΚΔΡ
  • ΚΔΦ
  • ΚΛΨ
  • ΚΣ
  • ΛΧΑ
  • ΠΚΑ
  • ΠΚΦ
  • ΠΛΦ
  • ΣΑΕ
  • ΣΔΑ
  • ΣΘΠ
  • ΣΝ
  • ΣΠ
  • ΣΤΓ
  • ΣΦ
  • ΣΦΔ
  • ΣΦΕ
  • ΣΧ
  • ΤΚΕ
  • ΦΓΔ
  • ΦΔΘ
  • ΦΚΘ
  • ΦΔΨ
  • ΦΚΣ
  • ΦΚΤ
  • ΦΚΨ
  • ΦΛΧ
  • ΦΜΑ Sinfonia
  • ΦΜΔ
  • ΦΣΚ
  • ΦΣΦ
  • ΧΓΕ
  • ΧΦ
  • ΧΨ
  • ΨΥ
  • v
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Historically black colleges and universitiesPublic
  • Alabama A&M
  • Alabama State
  • Albany State
  • Alcorn State
  • Arkansas–Pine Bluff
  • Bishop State CC
  • Bluefield State
  • Bowie State
  • Central State
  • Cheyney
  • Coahoma CC
  • Coppin State
  • Delaware State
  • Elizabeth City State
  • Fayetteville State
  • Florida A&M
  • Fort Valley State
  • Gadsden State CC
  • Grambling State
  • Harris–Stowe
  • Hinds CC
  • Jackson State
  • Kentucky State
  • Langston
  • Lincoln, Missouri
  • Lincoln, Pennsylvania
  • Maryland, Eastern Shore
  • Mississippi Valley State
  • Morgan State
  • Norfolk State
  • North Carolina A&T
  • North Carolina Central
  • Prairie View A&M
  • Savannah State
  • Shelton State CC
  • South Carolina State
  • Southern
  • Southern–New Orleans
  • Southern–Shreveport
  • Tennessee State
  • Texas Southern
  • UDC
  • UVI
  • Virginia State
  • West Virginia State
  • Winston-Salem State
  • Allen
  • Arkansas Baptist
  • Barber–Scotia
  • Benedict
  • Bennett
  • Bethune–Cookman
  • Claflin
  • Clark Atlanta
  • Dillard
  • Edward Waters
  • Fisk
  • Florida Memorial University
  • Hampton
  • Howard
  • Huston–Tillotson
  • Interdenominational Theological Center
  • Jarvis Christian
  • Johnson C. Smith
  • Knoxville
  • Lane
  • LeMoyne–Owen
  • Livingstone
  • Meharry
  • Miles
  • Morehouse
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Morris Brown
  • Morris
  • Oakwood
  • Paine
  • Paul Quinn
  • Philander Smith
  • Rust
  • Selma
  • Shaw
  • Simmons College (Ky.)
  • Southwestern Christian
  • Spelman
  • Stillman
  • St. Augustine's
  • Talladega
  • Texas College
  • Tougaloo
  • Tuskegee
  • Virginia Union
  • Virginia University
  • Voorhees
  • Wilberforce
  • Wiley
  • Xavier (Louisiana)
  • Bishop
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Carver
  • Collier-Blocker
  • Concordia Alabama
  • Daniel Payne
  • Gibbs
  • Guadalupe
  • Hampton
  • Jackson
  • Johnson
  • Kittrell
  • Lewis College of Business
  • Lincoln Junior College
  • Mississippi Industrial College
  • Morristown
  • Mount Hermon Female Seminary
  • Roosevelt
  • Rosenwald
  • Saint Paul's
  • Storer
  • Straight
  • Suwannee River
  • Volusia County
  • Western
  • Atlanta University Center
  • Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
  • Southwestern Athletic Conference

Authority control
  • WorldCat Identities
  • ISNI: 0000 0000 9683 4181
  • LCCN: n86078716
  • VIAF: 143151649



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