National History

On January 13, 1913, on the campus of Howard University, 22 dynamic African-American women founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, founded on the principles of sisterhood, scholarship, and service. At its inception, the founders envisioned an organization of college women pledged to serious endeavor and community service. These young women wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and provide support to the underserved. These youthful students demonstrated a vital concern for social welfare, academic excellence, and cultural enrichment, de-emphasizing the social side of sorority life.

Our courageous founders are: Osceola Macarthy Adams, Jimmy Bugg Middleton, Marguerite Young Alexander, Pauline Oberdofer 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, Weartie Blackwell Weaver, Myra Davis Hemmings, Madree Penn White, Olive C. Jones, Edith Motte Young.

Their ideals have withstood the test of time. Surviving on the strength of its sisterhood, today Delta Sigma Theta is a non-profit organization providing programs and services to improve society. Commencing a long tradition of public service, the founders of Delta Sigma Theta represented Howard University in the women’s suffrage March of 1913.

Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. remains a service sorority dedicated to public service, and remains at the forefront of accomplishments for blacks and women. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is unparalleled in terms of accomplishments as a whole, as well as those of individual members. With a growing membership of over 250,000 women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority continues to attract the best and brightest college educated women. Delta Sigma Theta has been shaped by its members who have committed to a lifetime of public service as we continue to serve the community in numerous capacities providing services and programs to promote human welfare.