About Us

Alpha Kappa Alpha History

In 1908, several educated, determined, insightful, and motivated women had a passion to serve. They believed that college women owed an everlasting debt to the community; one that should be repaid with the sole purpose of making things better for people of color, especially women and girls. The women envisioned a powerful women’s organization that would promote the empowerment of women, an alliance of its membership, and service to the community. As a result of their passion and desire to make a difference, the women organized themselves and answered the call to service. For them, it was time to go above and beyond the norm; to build a sisterhood that not only defined the culture of their time, but one that would withstand the tests of time and impact the world for years to come. With this in mind, the women moved forward and fulfilled the vision by creating the prototype service organization. Founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC on January 15, 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority stands as the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-trained women (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 2010).

The small group of women who organized the sorority were conscious of their privileged position as college-trained women of color. Just one generation removed from slavery (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 2010), it is with this humble spirit and determined attitude that they pressed forward. Overcoming obstacles to forge as way for generations of women to come, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was later incorporated on January 29, 1913 to ensure timeless service. The sixteen founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated included nine original members: – Lucy Diggs Slowe, Vice President – Ethel Hedgeman (Lyle), Secretary – Marie Woolfolk, Treasurer – Anna Easter Brown, Beulah Elizabeth Burke, Lillie Burke, Margaret Flagg, Marjorie Hill, Lavinia Norman; and seven Sophomores President: Joanna Berry, Norma Boyd, Ethel Jones, Sarah Meriwether, Alice P. Murray, Carrie E. Snowden, and Harriet J. Terry.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated continued growing with an emphasis on two major themes: the importance of the individual and the strength of an organization of women. Furthermore, there was a need for associations which cut across racial, geographical, political, physical and social barriers (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 2010). Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated not only achieved this feat, but grew to supreme heights in service. The program goals centered on significant issues in families, communities, government halls, and world assembly chambers. Its efforts contributed to a priceless part of the global experience in the 21st century.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated was based on the foundation of sisterhood, scholarship, and service to all mankind. Through the years, however, Alpha Kappa Alpha’s outreach and its missions evolved. After incorporation, the sorority gradually branched out and became the avenue through which selected college-trained women improved the socioeconomic conditions in their communities, the country, and the world. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated has grown through the years to become an international organization with a membership in excess of 260,000 women. This esteemed organization’s membership consists of women of distinction and exemplary character, women who excel in all areas of life, and women who work closely with the community. Alpha Kappa Alpha has undergraduate and graduate chapters located in the United States, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Germany, Korea West Africa, Great Britain, and the Bahamas (Psi Iota Omega 2012). Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is privileged to have 403 undergraduate and 556 graduate chapters.  Alpha Kappa Alpha continues to grow through the initiation of new member and the establishment of chapters throughout the world.

Having laid the foundation for future organizations, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated has propelled itself to be one of the most visible BGLOs in the world.  Recognizable through it many brands, its colors of salmon pink and apple green are synonymous with its name.  Ivy a symbol of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s expansive and perpetual reach of service continues to grow from the grounds of Howard University, where the first sprigs were pulled, to every corner of the world.  Symbols of its founders and incorporators, pearls adorn its members and distinguish them as women of grace and class.  Whether their wearing the pink tea rose or their crest, Alpha Kappa Alpha women are always cloaked by their motto, “by merit and by culture”, and ready to answer the charge of service to all mankind.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated story includes many distinctions. From organizing the first Civil Rights Lobby, to contributing over a half million dollars to the United Negro College Fund, the organization’s influence extends beyond campus quads and student interest. Alpha Kappa Alpha has dedicated itself to improving the quality of life for citizens worldwide (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 2010) and the legacy of service continues to saturate communities.  Just as they were in 1908, the goals of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated remain the same: to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to alleviate problems concerning girls and women, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of “supreme service to all mankind”.