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Image by Paige Johnson

History of Alpha Kappa Alpha
Sorority, Incorporated®

Image by Eugene Golovesov

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® was founded on January 15, 1908 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C.  It is the first Greek-letter organization founded by a group of African-American college-trained women. Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913.

Under the leadership of founder Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, the history Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® began with Anna Easter Brown, Beulah E. Burke, Lillian Burke, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Majorie Hill, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk Taylor.  The sophomore class consisted of Joanna Berry Shields, Norma E. Boyd, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Sarah Merriwether, Alice P. Murray, Carrie E. Snowden, and Harriet J. Terry.  The Incorporators were Norma Boyd, Julia Brooks, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Nellie Quander, Nellie Pratt Russell and Minnie Smith.

With the exception of Ethel, the original group of women was comprised of college seniors.  To ensure the continuity of the organization, seven scholastic leaders from the class of 1910 who had expressed interest were invited to join without initiation.

After the organization’s establishment over a century ago, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® has helped to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs.  Members have improved education through independent initiatives, contributed to community-building by creating programs and associations.  The sorority works with communities through service initiatives and progressive programs relating to education, family, health, and business.  

Image by Anton Darius

We did not abolish anything that had been handed down to us. We strengthened what we had.

Nellie M. Quander,

Principal Incorporator - First International President

January 29, 1913

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