Delta Sigma Theta Art


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On January 13, 1913, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated was founded by twenty-two Howard University undergraduate students who had earlier been initiated into the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Seven of them were the elected officers of Alpha Kappa Alpha: 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 twenty-two were dismayed at the lack of progress of Alpha Kappa Alpha to move beyond its function of orchestrating the affairs of campus society at Howard and wanted to reorganize the sorority to address higher purposes, like public service and women's advancement. The new initiates wanted to establish a national organization, enlarge the scope of the sorority's activities, and change the sorority's name to reflect a true purpose. They felt Alpha Kappa Alpha was solely a female derivative of the Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity 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, 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 and change in the philosophical underpinnings. The 22 undergraduate Alpha Chapter students sought to move towards social activism and greater public service, rather than continue to focus on social activities. According to Delta Sigma Theta's historian Paula Giddings, the twenty-two 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, thus limiting their ability to enlarge the scope of activity. "