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Sorority celebrates anniversary of founding

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Marye Jeffries,11th Mid-Atlantic regional director; Sharon Williams, president of Chi Omega chapter; Ruth Smith, member of Chi Omega Chapter and 77-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; left to right, participate in a National Founders’ and Incorporators’ Day of Remembrance Wreath Laying ceremony.

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From Contributed Reports

Sunday, February 4, 2018

National Founders’ and Incorporators’ Day of Remembrance Wreath Laying ceremonies took place simultaneously at 9:08 a.m. Jan. 15 across the country honoring the founders and incorporators of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. was founded 110 years ago on Jan. 15, 1908, on the campus of Howard University. The founders were among the fewer than 1,000 black people enrolled in higher education institutions in 1908 and the 25 women who received bachelor’s 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 are acknowledged as Alpha Kappa Alpha’s original 16 founders. These distinguished women embarked on a journey that has birthed nearly 300,000 members in over 1,012 chapters in 42 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Liberia, South Korea, Japan, Canada, South Africa and the Middle East. The unwavering commitment to sisterhood, scholarship and service, 110 years later, remains the core tenements of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Sorority founder Anna Easter Brown was honored at the National Founders’ and Incorporators‘ Day of Remembrance Wreath Laying Ceremony that was held in Rocky Mount. Brown was born on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1879, in West Orange, N.J. She attended Howard University at a time when only a third of 1 percent of African-Americans attended college in 1908. Brown earned her graduate degree in social studies from Columbia University. After graduation, she worked at Bricks Junior College in Bricks, now known as Whitakers. Brown moved to Rocky Mount, where she taught at Lincoln High School and later Booker T Washington High School for over 30 years. This beloved national founder was a charter member and first president of Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, which was chartered in 1925.

Brown is a charter member of Rocky Mount’s YWCA, was also active in NAACP, N.C. Teachers Association and the American Red Cross. As a historian, she promoted community learning about black history by developing local exhibits annually. In 1951, her 25th exhibit received national attention during the 25th anniversary and was featured in Opportunity, the Urban League magazine. She served faithfully in several ministry positions at Holy Hope Episcopal Church in Rocky Mount, where she was a member for 30 years until her death at age 78 on March 5, 1957.

Joining the local members of Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. at the wreath laying ceremony were sorority members from Fayetteville, Cary, Goldsboro, Greenville and Wilson. Special sorority guests included 11th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Marye Jeffries, Eastern Carolina Cluster Coordinator Dr Carol Artis, Northern Carolina Cluster Coordinator Rosemary King and Mid-Atlantic Awards Chairman Jennifer King Congleton.

The members of Alpha Kappa Alpha are forever grateful and thankful for the vision and commitment of their founders “To be supreme in service to all mankind”.

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