Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated had its humble beginnings as the vision of nine college students on the campus of Howard University in 1908. Since then, the sorority has flourished into a globally-impactful organization of over 290,000 college-trained members, bound by the bonds of sisterhood and empowered by a commitment to servant-leadership that is both domestic and international in its scope. As Alpha Kappa Alpha has grown, it has maintained its focus in two key arenas: the lifelong personal and professional development of each of its members; and galvanizing its membership into an organization of respected power and influence, consistently at the forefront of effective advocacy and social change that results in equality and equity for all citizens of the world.
When founded on January 15, 1908 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC; its founders were among the fewer than 1,000 Negroes enrolled in higher education institutions in 1908 and the 25 women who received Bachelor of Arts degrees from Howard University between 1908 and 1911. Nine juniors and seniors who constituted the initial core group of founding members and seven sophomores who were extended an invitation for membership without initiation comprised what are acknowledged as Alpha Kappa Alpha’s original 16 founders. Led by Ethel Hedgeman (Lyle), the nine Howard University students who came together to form Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority were the scholastic leaders of their classes. Each also had a special talent or gift that further enhanced the potential of this dynamic group.
After attending a sorority meeting in 1912 where she heard proposals from then-current members to change the group’s name, colors, symbols and motto, Nellie May Quander (inducted in 1910; president of Alpha chapter from 1911-1912) realized that the need for an intervention to preserve the original premise of the sorority that she and its founders held dear was urgent. Quander quickly formed a committee comprised of a trio including herself and members Norma E. Boyd and Minnie Beatrice Smith—and later expanded to include sorority officers Julia Evangeline Brooks, Ethel Jones (Mowbray) and Nellie Pratt (Russell)—whose mission was to seek and acquire incorporation.
These women committed to Alpha Kappa Alpha fanned out to solicit the support of other like-minded undergraduate and graduate members who held true to the vows they had taken upon their initiation. The effort culminated in the successful protection and subsequent perpetuity of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority through its incorporation on January 29, 1913, with Quander, Boyd and Smith as signers of the petition. It was the first black Greek-letter organization to attempt and complete such a measure. The incorporation of the sorority positioned it to broaden its service concept offerings while ensuring the preservation of its founding principles and brands.
The Original Nine: Anna Easter Brown, Beulah Burke, Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Ethel Hedgeman (Lyle), Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe and Marie Woolfolk (Taylor)
The Sophomores: Norma E. Boyd, Ethel Jones (Mowbray), Alice P. Murray, Sarah M. Nutter, Joanna Mary Berry Shields, Carrie Snowden, and Harriet Josephine Terry
History of The Sophisticated South Eastern Region
Alpha Kappa Alpha established itself in the South Eastern part of the United States with the chartering of Pi Chapter at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee, on April 12, 1921. In 1932, the Southern Region’s name was changed to the South Eastern Region. From its inception, the South Eastern Region was composed of eight states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida.
To facilitate the responsibilities of the Regional Director, in 1953, the region was realigned. Kentucky was assigned to the Central Region, Arkansas and parts of Louisiana to the South Central Region, and Georgia and Florida to the South Atlantic Region. Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and parts of Louisiana remained as the new South Eastern Region. In 1962, another re-alignment resulted in the remainder of Louisiana being removed from the South Eastern Region, leaving the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee to operate as the South Eastern Region. This realignment enabled the Regional Director to work more closely with the chapters.
Beta Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is located in Tuskegee, Alabama and is apart of the Sophisticated South Eastern Region.
Source: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated International Website