International History



Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated was founded Wednesday, January 15, 1908 on the campus of Howard University at Miner Hall in Washington, DC., and became the first Greek-lettered organization created for African-American college women. Founder, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, envisioned the idea of formation of the sorority. Lyle was inspired by two of her professors to establish a society that encouraged scholarship, friendship, and service. She and a group of eight other distinguished ladies worked together to ensure the sorority’s implementation. This group consisted of 

Anna Easter Brown, Beulah and Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg-Holmes, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk-Taylor. On February 21, 1908, seven members of the class of 1910 were inducted into the organization. Together with the 9 original founders, Joanna Mary Berry Shields, Norma Elizabeth Boyd, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Sarah Merriweather Nutter, Alice P. Murray, Carrie Snowden, and Harriet Josephine Terry along with the incorporators Julia Evangeline Brooks, Nellie Quander, Nellie Pratt Russell, and Minnie B. Smith. These women became what are known as the 20 Pearls of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.


For over 100 years, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated has broken down barriers for African-American women and has helped to improve social and economic conditions through programs and service events.



Believing that Alpha Kappa Alpha should influence members throughout their lives and “horrified” when met with proposals by some members to form an entirely new organization *, Nellie M. Quander initiated a dynamic plan: the organization would incorporate and expand. A committee was formed to take appropriate action. Committee members included: Norma Boyd, Julia Evangeline Brooks, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Nellie Pratt Russell and Minnie Beatrice Smith. Along with Quander, these members are referred to as the organization’s “Incorporators.” Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was legally incorporated January 29, 1913.

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