DST History

"A group of us felt that it was time for another sorority" (Naomi Sewell Richardson). "We had broader views. We wanted to reach out to the community. We wanted to be more than just a social group. We wanted to do more when we graduated for the community in which we were going" (Bertha Pitts Campbell).

And so on January 13, 1913, deeply inspired from the nation-wide feminist movement of 1912, 22 intelligent, talented, strong and courageous women founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C.. As the legacy continues, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated has progressed into an elite organization that continuously strives to uphold the principles and values that our illustrious founders believed in.

 
Founders

Osceola Macarthy Adams

Jimmie Bugg Middleton

Marguerite Young Alexander

Pauline Oberdorfer Minor

Winona Cargile Alexander

Vashti Turley Murphy

Ethel Cuff Black

Naomi Sewell Richardson

Bertha Pitts Campbell

Mamie Reddy Rose

Zephyr Chisom Carter

Eliza Pearl Shippen

Edna Brown Coleman

Florence Letcher Toms

Jessie McGuire Dent

Ethel Carr Watson

Frederica Chase Dodd

Wertie Blackwell Weaver

Myra Davis Hemmings

Madree Penn White

Olive C. Jones

Edith Motte Young

Our founders were interested in establishing an organization committed to the promotion of high cultural, intellectual, and moral standards among its members for its own benefits as well as for that of the larger society in which it existed.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is dedicated to the ideals of Sisterhood, Scholarship and Public Service. In accordance with these ideals, Delta has established a long and glorious history of educational, cultural, political, and social service in the public's interest. To further its public service goals, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated operates under Five Point Program Thrust:

  • Economic Development
  • Educational Development
  • International Awareness and Involvement
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Political Awareness and Involvement

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide services and programs to promote human welfare. As a public service organization Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated has traditionally addressed the issues of the time.

In 1913, our founders marched among thousands of others in the women's suffrage march. In 1980 Soror Bertha Pitts Campbell, one of our distinguished founders, and 17th National President, Mona Humphries Bailey, led 8,000 Deltas in a reenactment of that historic march in Washington, D.C. On March 26,1995 Deltas also participated in a march commemorating the 75th anniversary of the women's suffrage march of 1913.

Today, our glorious Sisterhood has a membership of over 190,000 predominately African-American, college-educated women. The Sorority currently has 900-plus chapters located in the United States, Japan, Germany, Bermuda, Haiti, Liberia, the Bahamas, the Republic of Korea and the Virgin Islands.

     
National Presidents Past and Present
     

1st

Sadie T. M. Alexander, Ph. D.

1919-1923

2nd

Dorothy Pelham Beckley

1923-1926

3rd

Ethel LaMay Calimese

1926-1929

4th

Anna Johnson Julian

1929-1931

5th

Gladys Byram Shepperd

1931-1933

6th

Jeannette Triplett Jones

1933-1935

7th

Vivian Osborne Marsh

1935-1939

8th

Elsie Austin

1939-1944

9th

Mae Wright Downs Peck Williams

1944-1947

10th

Dorothy I. Height

1947-1956

11th

Dorothy P. Harrison

1956-1958

12th

Jeanne L. Noble

1958-1963

13th

Geraldine P. Woods

1963-1967

14th

Frankie M. Freeman, Esq.

1967-1971

15th

Lillian Pierce Benbow

1971-1975

16th

Thelma Thomas Daley

1975-1979

17th

Mona Humphries Bailey

1979-1983

18th

Hortense Golden Canady

1983-1988

19th

Dr. Yvonne Kennedy

1988-1992

20th

Bertha M. Roddey, Ph. D.

1992-1996

21st

Marcia L. Fudge, Esq.

1996-2000

22nd

Gwendolyn E. Boyd

2000-2004

23rd Louise A. Rice 2004-2008

24th

Cynthia M.A. Butler McIntyre

2008-Present

For an in depth history of Delta Sigma Theta you may read:

  • In Search of Sisterhood: DELTA SIGMA THETA and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement by Paula Giddings, 1988, William Morrow and Co., Inc.


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