A History of the Founding of the
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
In 1908 at Howard University, Washington D.C., Miss Ethel T. Robinson, then a member of the faculty, formed the upperclassmen of young women of the school of Liberal Arts, a girls club known as A.K.A. Sorority. Up until 1912, the club continued to function, and in the fall of the year, Myra L. Davis, then a senior was completing her term as president.
During her administration there came a demand from the members of the club that steps be taken to justify the name "Sorority", for the club had no legal entity, and, unincorporated as it was, had neither chapter nor power to form other chapters and function as a real sorority should function.
The need was there. To remedy this defect, a committee on constitution and organization was formed and Madree Penn, then a junior, named as chairman.
The work of the committee may be grouped as follows:
These changes were made and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, has the distinction of being the first Sorority composed of colored women to apply to the Trustees of any University for the right to become an incorporated body.
To summarize, in November, 1912, the above mentioned constitutional committee was appointed, its report adopted and application made to the University authoritites for the right to apply for charter. Charter was granted in January, 1913. In March, 1913, Madree Penn was elected president. During her administration, Beta Chapter was formed at Wilberforce University, in Wilberforce, Ohio. This chapter was set up by Ruby Martin in 1914.
One other result attendant on the formation of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority should, for the sake of clarity, be mentioned here. It was, in the beginnning intended to make internal changes only, in the then-existing college club and, after formal chartering, link up its graduate members. Because of the one dissenting vote on the part of one of the graduates present at the meeting, this could not be done.
Nellie M. Quander felt that the old name and the old pin should be retained. So strong was her feeling that she went from the meeting, gathered together a group of women and applied for a charter for a group to be known as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. This was granted, also, in the year of 1913.
Thus 1913 is a red letter year. In it there became the existence of two real Greek letter Sororities. Both organized at Howard. Both chartered the same year. Both an outgrowth ofthe college club organized in 1908 by Ethel T. Robinson. The histories of each are things of which to be proud. Each has fully justified her existence. Each points with prode to the record of her achievement. Each looks to brighter future greatness.
No history of Delta would be complete unless some tribute be given to its Founders.