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pink milestones

Historical milestones and achievements characterize our Sorority’s journey from the vision of Ethel Hedgemon Lyle to the global entity we are today. Throughout the Sorority’s 109 years, we have witnessed many “firsts” in leadership. This section of the exhibit draws attention to the significant artifacts of our Sorority that underscore our steady flow of innovation and expansion. The Alpha Kappa Alpha family of 290,000 members from all over the world continuously contribute to our multidimensional success as we embrace new milestones in service to humankind.

  • In the Year 1907

    founder slide 400

    In the Beginning

    The Nine Founders

    hedgemanIn 1907 Ethel Hedgeman Lyle began the process of translating her vision of a sorority for African American women into the actual organization, reaching out to eight of her Howard University classmates. The next year, the nine women became The Founders of America’s first Greek-letter organization, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.


    Ethel Hedgemon Lyle, Beulah Elizabeth Burke, Lillie Burke, Anna Easter Brown, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg-Holmes, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk

  • In the Year 1908

    l d slowe nameplate

    1st President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

    Lucy Diggs Slowe became the first elected President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Howard University.

    Also that year. . .
    January 15, 1908
    becomes the official date of the founding of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Together its members build a dynamic organization for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with unique focus upon the principles of Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service to All Humankind.

    February 21, 1908 Meeting: Name, Colors, Constitution, Insignia, and Officers. Read more.

    The Sophomores (class of 1910) who were invited to join the 1st Alpha Chapter without initiation. - Link

    May 1, 1908 was the date of the first in a series of Ivy Day celebrations, which in time came to symbolize the aims and ideals of the Sorority. That year, the group planted ivy and a tree on the campus. Many significant spots on the campus of Howard University are reminders of other Ivy Day services in the years following. On May 25, 1909, Lavinia Norman presided over the second Ivy Day exercises. - Link

  • In the Year 1909

    1st initiates2

    1st Initiates

    February 11, 1909 in Miner Hall, Alpha Kappa Alpha’s first ritualistic initiation is held. The new members are Ella Albert Brown, Mary Clifford, Lena Jenkins, Mable Gibson, Ruth Gilbert and Nellie Pratt Russell.

    (click to view larger image)

  • In the Year 1910

    ivy beyond wall

    1st Ivy Beyond the Wall

    Soror Marjorie Arizona Hill, Founder (1885-1910) was a senior at Howard when she joined the small group that went on to form the sorority and graduated in May of 1908. She chose to pursue a teaching career at Morgan College in Lynchburg, VA immediately after her undergraduate degree was conferred.

    She died on December 17, 1910 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Washington, DC.

  • On January 29, 1913

    1st pres gold grame

    Nellie May Quander - 1st President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®

    Miss Quander believed that Alpha Kappa Alpha could and should be a continuing factor in the lives of its members. She believed that the influence of a sorority should not be limited to college days but should continue through the adult life of the members. On January 29, 1913, under the provisions of Sub-chapter Three of Chapter XVII of the Code of Laws of the District of Columbia, Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated as a perpetual body, with “power to organize, institute, and charter subordinate chapters whose particular purpose and objective would be educational,” and would “promote the intellectual standards and mutual uplift of its member.” Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®.

    Also that year. . .
    Certificate of Incorporation - Link
    1st Honorary Member: Jane Addams - Link

  • In the Year 1921

    coat of arms

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Coat of Arms

    The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, COAT-OF-ARMS is designed by Phyllis Wheatley Waters.

    Also that year. . .

    4th boule1st Ivy Leaf Magazine; Link
    In 1921, the members of Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha at Howard University released a magazine entitled The Ivy.

    December 28-31 the 4th Annual Boule (National Meeting) was held in Indianapolis, Indiana; Link

  • In the Year 1925

    na 1930 regional

    1st Regional Conferences

    The 1925 Alpha Kappa Alpha Constitution provided for Regional Conferences in April of each year, if possible. One of the earliest photos of a Regional Conference is actually from the 1930 - the First North Atlantic Regional Conference (pictured left).

    North Atlantic Region – July 19-20, 1930, New York City, New York
    Mid-Atlantic Region – April 1954, Newport News, Virginia
    South Atlantic Region – May 2-4, 1930, Richmond, Virginia
    Great Lakes Region – April 1931, Columbus, Ohio
    South Eastern Region – April 1954, Normal, Alabama
    Central Region – May 23-24, 1931, Indianapolis, Indiana
    South Central Region – March 11-12, 1933, Nashville, Tennessee
    Mid-Western Region – May 1, 1931, Topeka, Kansas
    Southern Region –March 11-12, 1933, Nashville, Tennessee
    Far Western Region – July 29 - August 2, 1929, Los Angeles, California
    International Region – July 12-13, 1989, Freeport, Bahamas

  • In the Year 1933

    25th vector 350

    25th Anniversary

    porter 7th framedAlpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Silver Anniversary.

    Maude Brown Porter
    7th International President

    25th anniversary ivy leaf cover 350

    (click to view larger image)

    The Ivy Leaf Silver Anniversary Cover - Link
    Minutes of the Sixteenth Annual Boule - Silver Anniversary - Link

  • health project

    The Mississippi Health Project was launched

    ida jackson framedd ferebeeThe Mississippi Health Project was launched by (l) Ida Louise Jackson, the 8th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, with (r) Dorothy Ferebee, 10th International President, as Medical Director.

    Health Project Publications 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938 (click to view publications)

  • In the Year 1938

    boyd gold frame

    Norma Boyd initiated the Non-Partisan Council

    The Non-Partisan Lobby for Economic and Democratic Rights, renamed the Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs, was created by Xi Omega Chapter as a local project in 1938, and adopted as the National Project that same year, with Soror Norma E. Boyd, Founder, as its initiator and director. It was the first group representing minorities that had the mission to Lobby the United States Civil Service Commission, and, ultimately, the United States Congress.

    Article by Norma Boyd in theIvy Leaf, Summer 1976, view

  • In the Year 1948


    1st known Song Book

    e campbell songbook2


    The first known song book was published in 1948 during Edna Over Gray Campbell administration (12th International President).



    Also that year...
    The 1st Undergraduate Second Anti-Baselius is Irene Wood DeLily.
  • In the Year 1951


    1st Official Handbook

    The HANDBOOK has been compiled to facilitate the administration and interpretation of the Constitution and By-Laws. It is to be used as a supplement to the Constitution rather than a substitute for it. Each soror should familiarize herself with both documents to order that she might improve her efforts in promoting the aims and ideals of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The document is now called: The Manual of Standard Procedure
  • In the Year 1958

    50th vector 350

    50th Anniversary

    wallace 50th president framedAlpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Golden Anniversary.

    Arnetta G. McKamey Wallace
    14th International President

    50th Anniversary boule cover

    50th Anniversary Boule Cover - Link
    Minutes of the Thirty-Seventh Boule - Golden Anniversary -

    Also that year. . .
    1st Official History Book Link
    1st International Chapter Link. Charter Member Angie Brooks  became the first African female to serve as President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1970.

  • In the Year 1965

    mary chambers

    Mary Chambers - 1st Cleveland Job Corps Center Director

    job corps btn job corps news job corps resumeOn February 12, 1965, the Sorority was awarded a $4 million, 2-year contract to establish, administer and operate the Cleveland Job Corps, the first women's center. The Center opened on April 9, 1965; the first 50 students arrived on April 29, 1965.

    The Cleveland Job Corps, originally located at 1588 Ansel Road was home to 325 young women until 1971, when it relocated to the Tudor Arms Hotel, A Case Western Reserve University graduate dormitory at 10660 Carnegie Avenue.

    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® operated the Cleveland Job Corps with pride and distinction until 1995 when it was succeeded by Management and Training Corporation, a Utah based firm.

    (Click to view larger images)

  • In the Year 1966

    ivy primer

    The Ivy Primer

    An orientation and training document for members of the Ivy Leaf Club of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®.

  • In the Year 1968

    heritage series 1

    1st Heritage Series

    In August 1968, this pamphlet series was launched to chronicle the lives and achievements of remarkable women.

    (Click to view larger images)
    heritage series 2 heritage series 3 heritage series 4 heritage series 5

  • In the Year 1972

    mlk home

    1st Black History Preservation Purchase by Alpha Kappa Alpha - The Birth Home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    m graysAt the 45th National Convention of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, Mattelia B. Grays, 18th National President presented at $20,000 check to Honorary Member Coretta Scott King. The gift permitted acquisition and restoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s boyhood home as part of the Center for Social Change.
    Letter from Mrs. Coretta S. King. View
  • In the Year 1976

    natl reading project

    National Reading Project

    bernice sumlinJune Morehead MarableThe National Reading Project provided members of the sorority the opportunity to work with minority children and their parents to overcome reading difficulties whenever and wherever such problems are found. The theme of the program was: READING IS A RIGHT AND A RESPONSIBILITY – a shared responsibility.

    Bernice I. Sumlin (19th International President), President
    Soror June Morehead Marable, Ph.D., Reading Project Coordinator

  • founders window

    70th Anniversary (Founders Window & Archives)

    lois mailou jonesLocation: Rankin Chapel, Howard University; View:  Program Cover

    This Stained Glass window is known as the Founders Window which depicts the names of the first members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.®. It was designed by internationally renowned African American artist and long-time professor of art at Howard University, Soror Lois Mailou Jones (1905 – 1998).

    founders library

    The International Archives of Alpha Kappa Alpha is Established

    Location: Moorland-Spingarn Research Center of the Founders Library, Howard University
    View: Pictorial History and Historic Bell Tower
    Opening: Nov. 6, 1993 - Link

  • In the Year 1979

    1979 leadership fellows

    Leadership Fellows Project Began

    b phillipsj ballardAt the 45th National Convention of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, in 1979, Barbara K. Phillips (pictured left), 20th National President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® established the Leadership Fellows Project. She believed that leaders could be developed and nurtured. Janet Ballard (pictured right) who later became the 22nd President of the sorority wrote the program outline used in the project development.

    Each summer, thirty undergraduate members who have at least a 'B' average are chosen to go under a one-week intensive training session.

    Article from The Ivy Leaf, view

  • In the Year 1983

    75th vector 350

    75th Anniversary

    bryant 75th framedAlpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Diamond Jubilee Celebration

    Faye Beverly Bryant

    21st International President

    diamond celebration 2Minutes of the Fifty-First Boule Cover - Diamond Jubilee Celebration - Link; 75th Anniversary Song - Link; Energizing for the 21st Century Logo - Link

    Also that year. . .
    1st Diamond Sorors Norma Boyd and Lavinia Norman
    Ivy Leaf's 75th Anniversary link
    1st EAF Director is Earnestine Green McNealey, Ph.D.; EAF Book Cover Link

  • In the Year 1995

    1st pub policy conf

    1st Public Policy Conference

    e evans1st Public Policy Conference was in Washington, DC. on May 21, 1995. Eva Evans, 24th International President.

    Click Public Policy doc to view larger image.

  • In the Year 2000

    2000 1st legacy celebration

    1st Legacy Celebration

    The 1st Legacy Celebration was held on July 11, 2000 at the National Convention in Dallas, Texas. The 1st Legacy President, Norma White (25th International President) and her mother Ruth Solomon were joined by the 18th and 23rd International Presidents, Mattelia Grays and Mary Shy Scott and their daughters, as leaders of a parade in which over 700 members the AKA family legacies participated. Acknowledgement of Legacies has become a Regional Conference and National Convention event.

    The Ivy Leaf, view

    n whitem graysm shy scott

    (pictured from l-r) Norma White, Mattelia Grays, Mary Shy Scott

  • In the Year 2008

    100th vector 350

    100th Anniversary

    McKinzie 100th framedAlpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® celebrates it's 100th Anniversary.

    Barbara Anne McKinzie - No longer a member pursuant to action of the 67th Boule - July 2016
    27th International President

    Also that year. . .

    At the Centennial Convention, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority set a Guiness World Record at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, holding the largest sit-down dinner in the history of conventions worldwide (July 17, 2008). Read article from

    View 2008 Centennial Boule Report Cover

  • In the Year 2012

    c stewart

    1st International President to launch an on-line exhibit featuring Alpha Kappa Alpha women who had participated in the Civil Rights Movement

    unsung sorors websiterCarolyn House Stewart, 1st International President to launch an online exhibit featuring Alpha Kappa Alpha women who had participated in the Civil Rights Movement.

  • In the Year 2014

    wilson frame

    July 2014 - The Epilogue: The Firsts Continue

    Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, 29th International President

    Doors Continue to Open as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Launching New Dimensions.

    lnd framed education health family environmental global conversations

+ -

Research & Design Team

Project Manager & Research Team Manager

Soror Hansonia Caldwell Harriford
Far Western Region
Alpha Gamma Omega Chapter
Research Team Member, Archivist & Oral History Curator
Soror Linda Simmons-Henry
Mid-Atlantic Region
Sigma Tau Omega Chapter
Research Team Member, Project Historian & Librarian
Soror Chrystal Tibbs
Great Lakes Region
Tau Alpha Omega Chapter
Research Team Member & Video Designer
Soror Cheryl Pender
Mid-Atlantic Region
Sigma Tau Omega Chapter
Project Intern
Soror Brittney Christianna Yancy
Great Lakes Region
Tau Alpha Omega Chapter
Ivy Leaf® Operations
Soror Eva Smith
General Member
Deputy Director
Soror Nicole Barrett
General Member
Online Exhibit Web Developer
Judith Blakey
Page Design,
Los Angeles
Senior Client Solutions Manager
Wendy Austwick
Freeman XP