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Rocky Mount Deltas celebrate Founders Day

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The Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is commemorating the founding of the sorority on Jan. 13, 1913 at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

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From Contributed Reports

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. has been dedicated to developing and enhancing a program of community service in the Edgecombe and Nash communities.

The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. was founded on Jan. 13, 1913. The Rocky Mount Deltas are remembering and celebrating this occasion. This organization was born when 22 dynamic and courageous women on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., envisioned the need to promote academic excellence and provide assistance for those in need.

Now, our chapter is one of 1,000-plus chapters in the United States and abroad. With a membership of 125 Deltas, the Rocky Mount Chapter has worked and partnered with businesses and organizations in the area to help make better lifestyles for all citizens.

The Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter, established April 4, 1947, by Muriel Johnson, eastern regional director, is celebrating 70 years of sisterhood, scholarship and service. Twenty-one charter members organized this chapter under the leadership of Marquerite Carson Armstrong. After the chapter was established, sorors from surrounding areas were affiliated. Originally, the chapter was called Gamma Kappa Sigma. At that time all chapters received Greek names. Due to the growth in number, only undergraduate chapters receive Greek names. Katherine Neal Lucas joined this chapter June 1950 and presently is the only member still active.

Several activities have been planned for January. Many chapter members will attend Founders Day East Celebration which will be held at Greenville Convention Center in Greenville. With honor and pride, the Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter will accept a proclamation from the city of Rocky Mount declaring Jan, 13, 2018 as Delta Day. This presentation will be made at the regular City Council meeting. Flags honoring Rocky Mount Deltas will be flying throughout the city, Also the Founders Day East Committee has more events planned for the upcoming months in recognition of Founders Day.

Through expert leadership and commendable commitment on local, state and national levels the Rocky Mount Chapter members have and continue to fulfill the Sorority’s service plan: Economic and Education Development, Physical and Mental Health, Political Awareness and International Awareness and Involvement. These services help to define Who They Are, What They Do and Why They Commit Themselves. During the 70 years, the chapter has been quite visible and involved on all levels.

At the 52nd National Convention in Houston, Texas, the chapter was nominated for awards in several categories and was the recipient of five awards. The Delta Gems, young ladies in grades 9-12, won first place and EMBODI, young males in grades 6-12, were third-place winners. Our Project 13 Partnership with Union Hill Baptist Church in Nashville received third place for the Blood Drive held there. Ann Edge, a former president, was named Delta Dear of the Year. Jessie Jones, a former president, was awarded for 67 years of service.

In April 2017, the chapter celebrated its 70th Anniversary. What a fantastic weekend, which included a rededication of sisterhood, a well-attended luncheon, an evening of jazz and Sunday service with Soror and Pastor Audrey McCarter Hedgepeth fully in charge. Highlighting the event was the National President Dr. Paulette C, Walker, who made timely remarks on the theme: “Treasuring The Past And Embracing The Future.”

At the 53rd Grand Chapter meeting in Las Vegas, again the chapter received recognition. Representing the South Atlantic Region, one of five regions making up Grand Chapter and the Rocky Mount Chapter were Christine D. Horne, winner of the Delta Dear of the Year Award and Tia Lucas, the Small Business Plan Award. In a Special Christmas Edition: “Winter 2017 Delta Journal” articles featuring Christine and Tia were included. Beverly E. Smith, recently elected National President and CEO, stated that the sorors at this convention “hit the jackpot.”

The chapter has served in numerous capacities and has been recipient of honors and awards in community public service including the Community Organization Award for outstanding achievement in Human Relations, recognition for volunteer work with the Red Cross and for Distinguished Community Service in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition, outstanding accomplishments with the Mental Health Association, Cancer II Prevention Survey, North Carolina Olympics have been done. It has a lifetime membership with NAACP.

Locally, the chapter involvements include civic, educational and social projects such as but not limited to Sickle Cell Anemia, Operation Santa Claus, Boys & Girls Clubs, Communities in Schools, Martin Luther King Oratorical and Breakfast, Jabberwock (scholarships totaling $1 million), Visions Inc. (Senior Citizens Daycare), United Negro College Fund, American Field Service Sponsor, Delta Day at the State Capital, Delta Days on Capitol Hill, Friends of Braswell Memorial Library, My Sister’s House, Golf Tournament, Habitat for Humanity, Read-in for Tots, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, Homeownership Initiative, United Community Ministries Shelter, Relay for Life, the American Heart Walk. One of the most rewarding programs is teaching and mentoring boys and girls in the Delta Academy for middle school girls, Delta Gems for senior high girls and EMBODI for sixth- to 12th-grade boys.

Representation on all levels is evidenced through services of Eastern Regional Director Jennie D. Taylor, South Atlantic Regional Director Edythe R. Tweedy and South Atlantic Regional Director Mary B. Sutton. Other members too numerous to name, have held many positions.

In appreciation and gratitude, we recognize those members who were always there and steered the sorority in the right direction. Listed are the presidents in the order of their service: Marquerite Carson Armstrong, Sarah Leonard, Edythe Tweedy, Jessie Pash, Julia Sessoms, Ethel Bryant, Juanita Burnett, Alice Roberson, Jessie Jones, Evelyn Scott, Irma Brown, Edythe Tweedy, Naomi Locus, Kay Thomas, Mabel Williams, Jessie Jones, Brenda Edge, Mary Sutton, Leorita Hankerson, Gwendolyn Wigen, Rita Henning, Claudia Spencer, Evelyn Hart, Lesterine Sturdivant, Lesterine Sturdivant, Penelope Vaughan, Ann P. Edge, Ann P. Edge, Katrina Alston Joyner, Katrina Alston Joyner, and Natalie Brooks. These Deltas have been members for 50 years or more: Florence Armstrong, Jeanette Belfield, Frances Davis, Ann P. Edge, Brenda Edge, Carolyn Edge, Fatina Gaston, Mary Hannon, Jessie Jones, Gertie P. Lewis, Naomi Locus, Katherine N. Lucas, Jessie Pash, Lesterine Sturdivant, Mary B. Sutton, Kay Thomas, Marilyn Hart Vines, Gwendolyn Wigen an d Mabel Williams.

Finally, the Deltas in Rocky Mount and worldwide are proud and appreciative of and will always hold these founders in very high esteem for initiating the idea that service is a great tool for uplifting women and men so that they can achieve desirable lifestyles.

Special thanks is extended to the Founders Day East Committee members, Chairperson Tasha Jones Butts, Co-Chairperson Kay Thomas and President Natalie Brooks for helping to make Founders Day a success.

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