Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was 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.
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)
With the exception of Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, the original group of nine women was comprised of college seniors. To ensure the continuity of the organization, seven Class of 1910 honor students who had expressed interest were invited to join without initiation.
The Sophomores: Norma Boyd, Ethel Jones (Mowbray), Alice Murray, Sarah Meriweather (Nutter), Joanna Berry (Shields), Carrie Snowden and Harriet Terry
Believing that Alpha Kappa Alpha should influence members throughout their lives and “horrified” when met with proposals by some members to form an entirely new organization *, Nellie Quander initiated a dynamic plan: the organization would incorporate and expand. A committee was formed to take appropriate action. Committee members included: Norma Boyd, Julia Brooks, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Nellie Pratt Russell and Minnie Smith. Along with Quander, these members are referred to as the organization’s “Incorporators.” Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was legally incorporated January 29, 1913.
* The dissatisfied members withdrew from the Alpha Kappa Alpha and went on to found Delta Sigma Theta.