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National History

An Overview

In 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. became America’s first Greek-letter organization established by Black college women. Her roots date back to Howard University, Washington, D.C., where the idea formation was conceived by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle of St. Louis, Missouri. She viewed the Sorority as an instrument for enriching the social and intellectual aspects of college life by providing mental stimulation through interaction with friends and associates. Through the years, however, the function of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has become more complex.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is that vital organization. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is a sisterhood composed of women who have consciously chosen this affiliation as a means of self-fulfillment through volunteer service. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. cultivates and encourages high scholastic and ethical standards; promotes unity and friendship among college women; alleviates problems concerning girls and women; maintains a progressive interest in college life; and serves all mankind through a nucleus of more than 300,000 college-trained members in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. Candidacy for membership into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is open to women of high ethical and scholastic standards who are pursuing or have completed courses leading to a degree at an accredited college or university. Our official headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois.

Our Founders

Nine Howard University students were led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle into a sisterhood in 1908. Nellie Quander and her gallant group contributed the added dimension of a national organization and perpetual membership. Those who have come after them, the never-ending stream of eternally young, hopeful and enthusiastic women, must be remembered.


The Original Group

  • Marjorie Hill

  • Lucy D. Slowe

  • Lillie Burke

  • Ethel Hedgeman Lyle

  • Anna E. Brown

  • Marie Woolfolk Taylor

  • Beulah E. Burke

  • Margaret Flagg Holmes

  • Lavinia Norman


The Sophomores of 1908

  • Norma Boyd

  • Ethel J. Mowbray

  • Alice P. Murray

  • Sarah M. Nutter

  • Joanna B. Shields

  • Carrie E. Snowden

  • Harriett J. Terry

The Incorporators

  • Norma Boyd

  • Julia E. Brooks

  • Ethel Jones Mowbray

  • Nellie M. Quander

  • Nellie Pratt Russell

  • Minnie B. Smith


Beta Beta Omega Chapter History

An Overview

Through the vision of Beta Beta Omega’s charter members, Emma Barnes, Cleopatra Brown, Kathryn Elizabeth Burke, Lillyan Crichlow, Anne Davis, Elsie Davis, Anna Gardner, Jessie Hall, Helen Jones, Edna Page, Florence Seals, Thelma White, Octavia Williamson, and Margaret Wooster.

Beta Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated chartered on April 21, 1934, in Charleston, West Virginia. The membership of this chapter includes talented and professional women who are dedicated to carrying on the traditions, ideas, and goals established by the founders. As community leaders, the women of Beta Beta Omega Chapter have pulled their resources and talents to help improve the quality of life in the Charleston, WV metropolitan area.

Beta Beta Omega Chapter women, bonded in sisterly commitment to serve, focus on various projects that support, Family Unity, Education, Health, the Arts, Economic Growth, and assistance to senior citizens and families in need. The chapter successfully supports the International Programs of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. The chapter has awarded substantial annual scholarships to students at West Virginia State University, recognized creative and talented students in area schools through the Annual Martin Luther King Poster Contest during Black History Month. Beta Beta Omega Chapter has continued to make Alpha Kappa Alpha “supreme in service to all mankind.

Leadership Anchor

After her incorporation as a perpetual body in 1913, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. gradually branched out and became the channel through which selected college-trained women improved the socioeconomic conditions in their city, state, nation, and the world. In a world in which materialism is pervasive, and technology and competition have decreased the need for collaboration and cooperation, it is critical to have an association that cuts across racial, international, physical, and social barriers to help individuals and communities develop and maintain constructive relationships with others.

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