One cold day in 1908- January 15th to be specific- an elite group of top scholars, student athletes, and civic leaders gathered together in Miner Hall, on the prestigious campus of Howard University, in Washington, D.C. Though in the midst of post-slavery and gender discrimination, these young women of high scholastic and ethical standards obeyed the call on their lives and the vision set before them, to create something that had never existed before: an organization exclusively for college-trained women of color, dedicated to supreme service and sisterhood; known now and forever as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
These undaunted, undeniable, yet gracious young ladies made an immediate impact on the campus, the community and the country. They were dedicated to “ameliorate the plight” of Black women and girls, through scholarship, service, culture and friendship. Despite adversity and turmoil, these women continued their mission to provide a torch that would enlighten others.
Through the years, the service programs have evolved, but the commitment to service and excellence has remained the same. Alpha Kappa Alpha women have been significantly involved in every major social, political, and race movement since its inception, including the creation of the NAACP, World Wars I & II, women’s suffrage, civil rights, UNCF, national vocational training, innumerable political campaigns, and disaster relief, including assistance with the recent tragedy in Haiti. The organization continues to assist those who are in need or deserving of aid related to education, healthcare, finance, family, culture, politics and more.
Being the first organized and incorporated sorority for Black women is just the tip of the iceberg of a litany of Alpha Kappa Alpha firsts. Alpha Kappa Alpha women are as strong as the ivy, yet as precious as the pearls that represent them; encircling, cultivating and yes, beautifying the entire world with confidence, intelligence and charm.
The additional “stereotypical” qualities and image are mere bonuses to the multi-faceted Alpha Kappa Alpha woman. If you are member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, I encourage you to take this opportunity to appreciate our beloved Sixteen, by remembering the reason that you sought membership, re-activating your membership, donating your resources and gifts, and encouraging another sister to do the same. If you are not a member of the organization, I ask you to simply thank an AKA for the role that she has surely played in your life as an educator, mentor, healthcare provider, mother, sister, wife, or friend.
Who ever imagined that 102 years old would look this good? May God continue to bless all of us to be a blessing to mankind.
Alpha Psi 1995- Tennessee State University