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Template:Infobox Fraternity Delta Sigma Theta (ΔΣΘ) is a not-for profit Greek-lettered sorority of college-educated women who perform public service and place emphasis on the African American community. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913, by 22 collegiate women at Howard University. These students wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need. The first public act performed by the Delta Founders involved their participation in the Women's Suffrage March in Washington D.C., March 1913. Delta Sigma Theta was incorporated in 1930. Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is the largest African-American Greek-lettered sorority in the world.[1] Membership in Delta Sigma Theta is open to any woman who meets the membership requirements, regardless of religion, race, or nationality. Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university, or after acquiring a college degree through an alumnae chapter.

A sisterhood of more than 300,000 predominantly Black college-educated women, the sorority currently has over 1,000 chapters located in the United States, England, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Republic of Korea.

Delta Sigma Theta is a member of multiple organizations, including the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) – an organization of nine international Greek-letter sororities and fraternities - as well as the NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). The current 24th national president is Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre.

The organization will celebrate its 100th birthday with a float entitled "Transforming Communities through Sisterhood and Service" in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA.




Twenty-two Founders of Delta Sigma Theta in 1913

Creation of Delta Sigma Theta

Delta Sigma Theta was founded by 22 students who had earlier been initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha. Seven of them were the elected officers of the chapter: Myra Davis Hemmings, president; Ethel Cuff Black, vice-president; Edith Motte Young, secretary; Jessie McGuire Dent, corresponding secretary; Winona Cargile Alexander, custodian; Frederica Chase Dodd, sergeant-at-arms; and Pauline Oberdorfer Minor, treasurer. The 22 were dismayed at progress and wanted to reorganize the sorority. The new initiates wanted to establish a national organization, enlarge the scope of the sorority's activities, and change its name to reflect a true purpose. They felt Alpha Kappa Alpha was solely a female derivative of Alpha Phi Alpha with no individual meaning and were not "Greek distinctive" letters. They also wanted to change the symbols, change the sorority colors and be more politically oriented. In 1912 at Howard University, these 22 undergraduates voted to change the organization's name to Delta Sigma Theta. This new name was to reflect the group's desire to change the direction of the group[2] and change in the philosophical underpinnings. The collegiate students sought to move towards social activism and greater public service, rather than social activities.[3] According to Delta Sigma Theta's historian Paula Giddings, the 22 young women were concerned that since Alpha Kappa Alpha was not incorporated, there was no "legal entity". Since there was no charter, there was no authority to form other chapters."[2]

The undergraduate members wanted to establish a national organization, enlarge the scope of activities of the sorority, change the sorority's name and symbols, and be more politically oriented.[4] However, conflict arose between one alumnae member who wished to keep the previous name and the remaining collegiate members who voted to change the name to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.[3] When the graduate member Nellie Quander heard about their desire to change the sorority's name, she disagreed and gave the students a deadline to stop the efforts to reorganize the sorority.[5] The 22 declined and unanimously voted to reorganize.[6] Thus Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913, by the 22 students.[3][7] The new sorority was officially incorporated on February 18, 1913.[8] On January 20, 1930, the organization's Grand Chapter was nationally incorporated.

Participation in the 1913 Women Suffrage March

Less than two months after the sorority's founding, the Founders of Delta Sigma Theta began their political activism by participating in the historic 1913 Women's Suffrage March on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 1913.[9] The twenty-two Founders of Delta Sigma Theta marched with honorary member Mary Church Terrell under the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority banner on the day prior to Woodrow Wilson's inauguration; they were the only Black women's organization to walk in the march.[10] They believed that Black women needed the right to vote to protect against sexual exploitation, promote quality education, assist in the work force, and empower their race.[11]

Black female marchers were subjected to racism, not only by people who were opposed to the enfranchisement of women, but by march organizers reluctant to advocate suffrage for Black women.[11] Since 1890, white Democrats of the southern states of the former Confederacy had ratified new state constitutional amendments and passed legislation that effectively disfranchised most Blacks and many poor Whites. Black women marching for the right to vote reminded many that Black men had also been disenfranchised. Also, in those years, Washington was effectively a segregated city in public areas. Mary Church Terrell recounted that she and the Delta Sigma Theta Founders had to assemble in an area specifically allocated for Black women.[12] Several years later, Terrell confided her feelings about the National American Woman Suffrage Association and suffragist leader Alice Paul to NAACP representative Walter White. Terrell questioned Paul's loyalty to Black women's rights, saying, "If [Paul] and other White suffragist leaders could get the Anthony Amendment through without enfranchising African American women, they would do so."[12]

Although the young Founders were criticized for their participation in the suffrage march, none regretted her participation.[13] Florence Letcher Toms commented, "We marched that day in order that women might come into their own, because we believed that women not only needed an education, but they needed a broader horizon in which they may use that education. And the right to vote would give them that privilege."[14]



Members at 1921 national convention, hosted by Gamma Chapter (l to r): front, Virginia Margaret Alexander, Julia Mae Polk, Sadie Tanner Mossell; row 2, Anna R. Johnson, Nellie Rathbone Bright, Pauline Alice Young

The sorority expanded with a second chapter, Beta Chapter, established at Wilberforce University, February 5, 1914.[15] The third chapter, Gamma Chapter, was established in 1918 at the University of Pennsylvania. Soon after, Delta Chapter was established (April 4, 1919) at the University of Iowa and Epsilon Chapter at Ohio State University (November 19, 1919).[16]

The first graduate chapters were authorized in 1920 at the Second National Convention for graduate members in New York City and Washington, D.C.[17] With the chartering of the Kappa Chapter at the University of California in February 1921, Delta Sigma Theta became the first Black Greek-letter organization established on the Pacific Coast.[18] In 1930, the Grand Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was incorporated.[19]

Expansion programs


JabberwockTM, an annual variety show consisting of cultural expression and talent - such as music, skits, and dance - was initiated by Marion Conover-Hope in 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts. Locally produced Jabberwock shows served as fundraisers for many chapters of the sorority.[20] Funds from the programs support scholarships for youths and other public service projects.[21] The program encourages and assists in the development of young individual talents.[21] On December 28, 1947, the Delta Jabberwock was formally adopted and copyrighted by Delta Sigma Theta.[22]

May Week

May Week was created at the second national convention in 1920 at Wilberforce University. Local chapters began to observe it beginning in 1921.[23] The purpose of May Week is to emphasize the importance of higher education in the community, especially for Black women.[23] The slogan "Invest in Education" was adopted. A week in May is set aside for programs highlighting academic and professional achievement.[24]

The National Library Project

The sorority's first nationwide effort to provide library services in the rural South was the National Library Project, which it authorized in 1937.[25] The program was implemented in 1945, with the goal to establish a traveling library in the South, where library services were not generally available for blacks, both because of segregation and because so many blacks lived in rural areas, which had fewer services.[25] The project arose from concerns that few adequate resources were available, outside of those provided by segregated school systems.[25] In 1939, only 94 out of 774 public libraries in the South served blacks.[25] Additionally, only 5% of rural blacks had access to any public institution at all.[25] The first traveling library was based in Franklin County, South Carolina, where 23 book baskets, with 33 books, were circulated.[25]


Shaped to its Purpose, a fifty-year history of Delta Sigma Theta by Mary Elizabeth Vroman published in 1965

Job Analysis and Opportunity Project

The Job Analysis and Opportunity Project began in 1941.[26] It was to provide career, employment counseling, and job exposure for black women.[26] The sorority created the program to address concerns that black women were limited in their choices of occupations, and that they lacked training because of the economy and World War II. Some of the project's goals were to improve working conditions and to improve black women's opportunities to acquire a job.[26]

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority began a four-point approach to address these concerns:

  • fact-finding;
  • counseling workers on problem solving;
  • providing guidance and encouragement; and
  • assisting in changing public perception on working African-American women.[26]

Delta Founders

The twenty-two Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority are:

Osceola Macarthy Adams Edna Brown Coleman Pauline Oberdorfer Minor Ethel Carr Watson
Marguerite Young Alexander Jessie McGuire Dent Vashti Turley Murphy Wertie Blackwell Weaver
Winona Cargile Alexander Frederica Chase Dodd Naomi Sewell Richardson Madree Penn White
Ethel Cuff Black Myra Davis Hemmings Mamie Reddy Rose Edith Motte Young
Bertha Pitts Campbell Olive C Jones Eliza Pearl Shippen
Zephyr Chisom Carter Jimmie Bugg Middleton Florence Letcher Toms

National Presidents

  • Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander 1919-1923
  • Dorothy Pelham Beckley 1923–1926
  • Ethel Lamay Calimese, 1926–1929
  • Anna Johnson Julian, 1929–1931
  • Gladys Byram Shepperd, 1931–1933
  • Jeannette Tripplett Jones, 1933–1935
  • Vivian Osborne Marsh, 1935–1939
  • Elsie Austin, 1939–1944
  • Mae Wright Downs Peck Williams, 1944–1947
  • Dorothy Irene Height, 1947–1956
  • Dorothy Penman Harrison, 1956–1958
  • Jeanne Laveta Noble, 1958–1963
  • Geraldine Pittman Woods, 1963–1967
  • Frankie Muse Freeman, 1967–1971
  • Lillian Pierce Benbow, 1971–1975
  • Thelma Thomas Daley, 1975–1979
  • Mona Humphries Bailey, 1979–1983
  • Hortense Golden Canady, 1983–1988
  • Yvonne Kennedy, 1988–1992
  • Bertha Maxwell Roddey, 1992–1996
  • Marcia Lydia Fudge, 1996–2000
  • Gwendolyn Elizabeth Boyd, 2000–2004
  • Louise Allen Rice, 2004–2008
  • Cynthia Marie Antionette Butler-McIntyre, 2008–present


Many Delta women have been recognized as leaders in community activism, athletics, business, education and scholarship, entertainment, media and literature, as well as in government. Members excel in these roles at the local, national and international level.[27] Many Delta members continue to be active in alumnae chapters after graduating from college.[28] Often alumnae and undergraduate chapters will collaborate on large projects to benefit their community.[29]

National headquarters


Delta Sigma Theta's national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 1954, Delta Sigma Theta was the first African-American organization to purchase a national headquarters site.[30] Their headquarters is in Washington, D.C.[31] The sorority owns property located at 1703, 1705, 1707, and 1709 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W. in the historic Dupont Circle neighborhood.[30] In addition to serving as the national headquarters, the buildings house the Delta Research and Education Foundation (DREF), national staff and records, and equipment systems necessary to conduct Delta Sigma Theta's business.[30]


In 1925, the sorority began to organize its chapters into geographical regions. Initially, it created four regions: Eastern, Midwest, Far West, and Southern.[32] Seven years later, the Central Region was established.[33] In 1960, the Mid-Atlantic region was created.[34] North and South Carolina left the Southern Region to become part of the new South Atlantic Region.[34]

Each of the seven regions is led by a regional director and a collegiate regional representative, who provides a voice for the sorority's college-based members.[35]


Delta Sigma Theta's seven regions.
Correction: The State of Tennessee is part of the Southern Region, not the Midwestern Region.


File:DST Torch.svg

Symbol of Delta Sigma Theta's Torch

Delta Sigma Theta has provided assistance to address the challenges faced by people in the United States and internationally as well. Over the years, the sorority has established programs to provide and improve education, health care, and international development, and strengthen the African-American family. Delta Sigma Theta provides public service initiatives through the Five-Point Program Thrust.[36]

Five-Point Thrust

Delta Sigma Theta uses the Five-Point Thrust as an organizing structure as it creates programs to benefit the African-American community. The Five-Point Programmatic Thrust, which was established in 1955, includes:[36]

  1. Economic Development;
  2. Educational Development;
  3. International Awareness and Involvement;
  4. Physical and Mental Health; and
  5. Political Awareness and Involvement.

Each program's development and implementation operates cooperatively, coordinated by committees, the national executive board, and national headquarters staff. Leaders belonging to the Program Planning and Development Committee, Social Action Commission, Commission on Arts and Letters, Information and Communications Committee, Membership Services Committee and Regional Officers also participate in developing programming to meet the Five-Point Thrust.[36]

Economic development

The Delta Challenge: Delta Homeownership Initiative

In 2003, the "Delta Challenge: DST Homeownership Initiative" was created to assist sorority members, family, friends, and the general public with owning their homes and investing in homeownership.[37] The program is a resource for individuals seeking information about homeownership; wishing to locate a loan representatives who partners with the Delta Challenge; information about mortgage insurance or other benefits; or who has questions regarding real estate or related financial topics.[37] In three years, the program has helped more than 400 families purchase homes.[37] The DST Homeownership Initiative is a partnership between Delta Sigma Theta's 950 chapters, Chase Bank, and Genworth Financial.[37]

The national directors of the DST Homeownership Initiative are Lori Jones Gibson and Lynn Richardson.[38] Gibson is the Genworth Financial's Vice-President of Affordable Housing and Industry Affairs,[38] and Richardson is Chase Bank's Vice President of National Strategic Partnerships.[39]

The Delta Challenge offers mortgage loans, insurance, and other home buyers' discounts through The Delta Chase Initiative.[40] The Delta Chase Initiative resulted in more than 100,000 consumer touch points worldwide and $35 million in closings for Chase, a staggering 389% increase over those closed over the previous three years.[39]

Delta Sigma Theta & Habitat for Humanity

Delta Sigma Theta was the first national African-American organization to collaborate with Habitat for Humanity International in 1992, during Delta President Bertha Roddey's administration.[41] Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates homes with the help of selected homeowners, volunteer labor, management expertise, and tax-deductible donations of money and materials.[42] Houses are sold to families without profit, and no-interest mortgages are issued over a fixed period.[42] Between 1992-1994, Delta Sigma Theta and Habitat for Humanity built twenty-two homes throughout the United States.[41] In 1996, sorority members and supporters traveled to Ghana, where they built forty Delta Habitat for Humanity homes.[42]

Financial Fortitude: Smart Women Finish Rich

Financial Fortitude was designed to help sorority members and local communities to attain personal wealth and financial security.[43] Financial Fortitude was established as a result of increasing unemployment, Social Security debts, and the widening gap between wealth and poverty. Financial Fortitude helps participants to set and define goals, to develop a financial plan to achieve goals, and to put their plan into action. Workshops are focused on topics such as debt management and reduction, retirement, financing for college, investing, insurance, estate and home ownership, savings, and entrepreneurship.[43]

Delta Towers I

In 1979, Delta Sigma Theta's Washington D.C. Alumnae Chapter and Delta's Housing Corporation planned and constructed Delta Towers as a multi-million dollar, ten-story building.[44] Delta Towers opened for occupancy in 1980.[44] Delta Sigma Theta established Delta Towers in the northeast area of Washington, D.C. Delta Towers is an apartment building for elderly and disabled individuals.[45] Delta Towers was the first retirement center founded by any of the African-American sororities or fraternities in the United States.[46] However, many of the African-American sororities and fraternities are planning to or have established retirement centers.[47] Delta Towers currently has 150 independent-living residential apartments.[44] Because of the success of Delta Towers, the chapter and housing corporation are constructing a second apartment building, Delta Towers II, near the first.[44]

Delta Towers II

The Washington D.C. Alumnae Chapter's Delta Housing Corporation is planning to construct Delta Towers II. Delta Towers II will provide 150 additional safe and affordable apartments for low to moderate income senior citizens.[48] Delta Towers II will be designed to provide a senior citizen wellness center, ground level commercial office and retail services, and a community room.[48] Together, Delta Towers I and Delta Towers II will offer 300 affordable apartments for senior housing (affordable to households earning 60% or less of the area's median income).[48] Construction on Delta Towers II is scheduled to begin in March 2009.[48]

Educational development

Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy


A dreamcatcher, Delta Academy's symbol

Dr. Betty Shabazz's Delta Academy ("Catching the Dreams of Tomorrow, Preparing Young Women For the 21st Century") is designed for girls ages 11 to 14, who have an interest in developing leadership skills.[49] The program is named in honor of sorority member, the late Dr. Betty Shabazz, wife of Malcolm X. It is for girls who demonstrate the potential for success, but may not have support systems or access to financial resources.[50] Participants are exposed to math, science, technology, and non-traditional careers.[49] The Delta Academy sessions may also include service learning activities, field trips and book clubs.[49]

Delta Academy's symbol is the dream catcher. In Native American culture, the dream catcher possesses power to capture bad dreams and entangle them into a web. The good dreams pass through the dream hoop's open center into the person.[49]

Delta GEMS: Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully

Delta GEMS is an outgrowth and continuation of the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy Program.[51] Delta GEMS was created to assist in facilitating the dreams and goals of at-risk, adolescent African-American girls, aged 14–18.[51] Goals for Delta GEMS are:

  1. To instill academic excellence
  2. To provide tools permitting the girls to sharpen and enhance their skills to achieve academic success
  3. To assist girls in setting and planning proper goal for their futures in ”high school and beyond
  4. To create compassionate, caring, and community minded young women by active involvement in community service opportunities.[51]

The Delta GEMS framework has five major components (Scholarship, Sisterhood, "Show Me the Money", Service, and Infinitely Complete), which forms a road map for college and career planning.[51] Topics within the five major components provide interactive lessons and activities which allow opportunities for individual growth.[51] Delta GEMS, like Delta Academy, is implemented by Delta Sigma Theta's chapters.[51]

Lawry's Delta GEMS Collegiate Challenge

Lawry's Foods partnered with Delta Sigma Theta to create the National Collegiate Public Service Caddy and Grant Recognition Program.[52] The Collegiate Challenge recognizes and rewards a Delta collegiate chapter in each of Delta's regions for the Delta GEMS program's outstanding implementation.[52] Regional winners receive $1,000, and the grand prize winner receives $5,000.[53] In 2006, collegiate chapters were asked to partner with other collegiate chapters, alumnae chapters or community organizations in their municipality.[53]

Maryland Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC)

The Maryland Educational Opportunity Center was established in 1979 and created with a special service grant of $450,000 – the largest grant awarded by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.[54] MEOC is a free program in Baltimore which provides information and counseling services to adults and youths interested attending college or vocational/technical school.[55] Having seven outreach centers, the program is sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta and funded by the federal government.[54] The MEOC is a federal TRIO program and one of 130 Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) in the country.[54] From 1979 to 2006, MEOC has served more than 78,000 individuals. Nearly 20,000 participants were enrolled in postsecondary institutions.[56]

Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence (EMBODI)

The EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) program is designed to refocus the efforts of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., with the support and action of other major organizations, on the plight of African-American males. Both informal and empirical data suggests that the vast majority of African-American males continues to be in crisis and is not reaching its fullest potential educationally, socially and emotionally. EMBODI is designed to address these issues through dialogue, and recommendations for change and action. EMBODI will include a program format and information template. The delivery options may include a town hall meeting, workshops, and/or teen leadership summits.[57]

Physical and mental health

The Total Woman: Mind, Body, and Spirit Lifestyle Change Initiative


DST's Total Woman: Mind, Body & Spirit Logo

The Total Woman: Mind, Body, and Spirit Lifestyle Change Initiative impacts the well-being of sorority members and members' families and communities at-large. The Lifestyle Change initiative was started in 2004 by the Health Taskforce, providing physical and mental health expertise.[58] Some of the program's goals are to educate on the importance and benefits of lifestyle changes affecting longevity, morbidity, and mortality; to identify organizational alliances that work towards address pertinent health issues; and to develop and implement health-focused programs.[58]

Through the Initiative, the sorority is working to combat the high incidence of women's obesity. The program's first component is a challenge to chapter members to achieve and maintain healthier weights.[58]

50 Million Pound Challenge Partnership

In 2006, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, in collaboration with Dr. Ian K. Smith and State Farm Insurance, began a partnership, encouraging members to become healthier by exercising and eating properly.[59] Members joined with others in the African-American community to reverse the deadly effects of obesity.[60] At the 2008 National Convention in Orlando, Florida, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was presented with an award for the most weight lost by any sorority or fraternity.[60]

American Heart Association Partnership “Go Red for Women” Campaign

Heart disease is the leading killer of women and of women of color in the United States.[58] Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was the first sorority to join the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" campaign as an organizational alliance working to educate women on heart disease.[61]

Political awareness and involvement

Delta Days in the Nation's Capital


Sen. Barbara Mikulski meets with Delta Members.

In 1989, the National Social Action Commission instituted Delta Days in the Nation's Capital. Delta Days is an annual legislative conference to increase sorority members' involvement in the national public policy-making process.[62] The annual conference includes legislative briefings, issue forums, and developing advocacy skills.[62] Featured speakers include key policy makers, members of the United States Congress, staff members, and national policy experts.

In 2009, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Delta Days in the Nation's Capital. The theme was "Advocacy in Action: Strengthening Our Legacy".[62] Topics included empowering membership to be effective social action advocates in the areas of quality education, affordable health care, Census 2010, and economic viability.[62] An orientation for first-time attendees providing "how to's" on navigating the legislative process, legislative letter writing, congressional testimony, resolution writing, and coalition building was provided.[62]

Delta Days at the United Nations

On March 27, 2003, Delta Sigma Theta became a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with special consultative status at the United Nations.[63] National President Gwendolyn Boyd accepted the credentials on behalf of the sorority, before 150 UN members from across the world, in a presentation by Hanifa Mezoui, Chief NGO Secretary in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN (ECOSOC).[63] Delta Sigma Theta was welcomed to the United Nations by Assistant Secretary General for External Affairs, Gillian Sorensen, who advised the sorority, "[to] use your NGO status to monitor the status of women and children in the world and bind together with other NGOs to insure that the UN honors its commitments."[63] Delta Sigma Theta was granted Special Consultative Status as an NGO to the Economic and Social Council of the UN as a result of volunteer services and humanitarian efforts around the world.[64] Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is the first African American Sorority, and one of only three African-American organizations with the NGO special consultative status with the United Nations, the other two African American organizations with this status are the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. and The Links, Inc.[65]

Voting rights

The sorority made a commitment to creating programs advocating:

  1. Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.
  2. Repeal of Voter Disenfranchisement laws.
  3. Full restoration of Voting Rights for former Felons.
  4. Full implementation of the Help America Vote Act.[66]

International awareness and involvement

File:World Aids Day Ribbon.svg

World AIDS Day ribbon

World AIDS Day

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority supported the World AIDS campaign in observance of World AIDS Day, on December 1, 2008. With the slogan "Stop AIDS! Keep the Promise," Delta Sigma Theta promotes workshops, programs, and information dissemination. Individual chapters and members continue increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS in the community[67]

Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital (formerly Thika Memorial Hospital)

Concerns about inadequate prenatal and maternity care for women in Africa prompted Delta Sigma Theta to invest in health care for women in Kenya.[68] In 1955, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority established a maternity wing and health services in Thika Town. The sorority began planning for a larger facility in the early 1960s, and financed construction of Thika Maternity Hospital. The first hospital to open after Kenya gained independence in 1963, it is now known as Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital. Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary operate the facility.[68]

In 1985, Delta Sigma Theta members visited the hospital. They were able to see the positive results of an increased population and improved infant mortality rate in and around Thika. In response, the sorority donated another $20,000, to establish two additional maternity wards and an administrative office.[68]

Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital now has 121 beds, and provides affordable prenatal and postnatal care, nutritional education, child immunization, and family planning. The hospital gives prenatal care, including lab work, blood tests, and examinations for 200 women each day. The facility also has a special-care nursery for newborn babies. The hospital serves to educate nurses and midwives. Over 66 students are trained each year.[68]

Summit VI: Health Issues Impacting Women of African Descent

In April 2006, Delta Sigma Theta commemorated 25 years of providing summit programs with an International Awareness Program: "Summit VI: Health Issues Impacting Women of African Descent".[53] Held in Jamaica, the health issues summit heightened awareness of increases in diabetes, heart disease and obesity among African-American women.[69] The conference included various formats for a variety of health care experts to disseminate information, such as workshops, panels, and town hall formats.

Notable political Deltas

  • Sadie T. M. Alexander, Ph.D, was appointed to President Truman's Commission on Civil Rights (1945).
  • Brigadier General Hazel Johnson-Brown, Ph.D., was the first African American woman general in the United States Army.
  • Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman member of the U.S. Congress, was the first African American and first woman to run as a major party candidate for the presidency of the United States.
  • Frankie M. Freeman, noted attorney and 14th National President (1967–1971), was the first woman appointed to the Civil Rights Commission by President Lyndon B. Johnson and served 16 years.
  • Patricia Roberts Harris served as Delta Sigma Theta's first Executive Director. She was the first black woman to be appointed ambassador to a European country (Luxembourg) and to be appointed to a presidential cabinet post as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She was later appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. In January 2000, she was honored on the 23rd commemorative stamp in the United States Postal Service's Black Heritage Series. Other Deltas that have been ambassadors are Ann Holloway and Bynthis Perry.
  • Alexis Herman was the Secretary of Labor and a Cabinet Member in the administration of President William Clinton.
  • Jewel S. Lafontant was the first American woman to be admitted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. She was also the first female Deputy Solicitor General of the U.S. during the Nixon Administration.
  • Mary Church Terrell was the first African American chosen to represent the United States Congress of Women and to serve on the board of education of a major city.
  • Barbara Watson was the first African American woman to serve as chief of a State Department bureau. She became Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs on July 31, 1968, served until December 31, 1974, and was re-appointed on April 7, 1977. On August 17 of that year, she became Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.[70]

Texas rapist

In October 2011, a serial rapist in the Dallas area was reported to be targeting Delta Sigma Theta alumnae, attacking four alumnae in their mid-50s to mid-60s over an eleven-month period.[71] The sorority issued a release advising its members not to identify their affiliation with the sorority via their cars, key chains, clothing, or Facebook postings.[71]

The case was featured on the December 9, 2011, episode of America's Most Wanted.

See also

Portal icon African American portal
  • List of Delta Sigma Theta National Conventions


  • A Life of Quiet Dignity: Naomi Sewell Richardson by Alice Jefferson Marshall, Estella Henderson Boyd, Leola Murrary Mason, and Karen J. Wilson.
  • Delta Memories: A Historical Summary by Robert Ewell Greene.
  • Delta Sigma Theta: Its History and Development by Edna B. Johnson Morris, Grand Historian Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
  • In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement by Paula Giddings.
  • Shaped to its Purpose: Delta Sigma Theta - The First Fifty Years by Mary Elizabeth Vroman.
  • Too Young to be Old: Bertha Pitts Campbell by Pauline Anderson Simmons Hill and Sherrilyn Johnson Jordan.
  • The Divine Nine: The History of African-American Fraternities and Sororities in America by Lawrence Ross, Jr.


  1. "Delta Sigma Theta, "Black Sorority Project reach settlement agreement on film, painting.". Frost Illustrated. Retrieved January 1, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Giddings 1998, op. cit., p. 48.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ross, Jr., Lawrence C.. The Divine Nine: The History of African-American and Sororities in America. Kensington Books
  4. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 49.
  5. Giddings, 1998, op. cit., p. 50-51.
  6. Giddings, 1998, op. cit., p. 51.
  7. Mason, Skip. "THE APA/DST Connection". Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  8. Giddings 1998, op. cit., p. 52
  9. "History of Marches and Mass Actions". National Organization for Women. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  10. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 55.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Giddings 1988, op.cit., p. 56.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn (1998). African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 (Blacks in the Diaspora). Indiana University Press
  13. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 60.
  14. Founders' Greeting. p. 18. The Delta. May 1963
  15. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 69-70.
  16. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 73-74.
  17. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 86.
  18. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 89.
  19. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 125.
  20. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 110.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Vroman 1965, op. cit., p. 83.
  22. "Chapter Programs - Jabberwock". New Haven Alumnae Chapter - Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.. Retrieved December 15, 2008.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Vroman 1965, op. cit., p. 85.
  24. Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 87.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 182-186.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Giddings 1988, op. cit., p. 194-198.
  27. "Membership Demographics". Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.. Retrieved 08-12-30.
  28. "About Sacramento Alumnae Chapter". Sacramento Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.. Retrieved 08-12-30.
  29. Id.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Delta History. Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
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