National History

On January 13, 1913, on the campus of Howard University, 22 dynamic African-American women founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, 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 assistance to persons in need. These youthful students demonstrated a vital concern for social welfare, academic excellence, and cultural enrichment.

Our courageous Founders:

Osceola Macarthy Adams                                    Marguerite Young Alexander

Winona Cargile Alexander                                    Ethel Cuff Black

Bertha Pitts Campbell                                          Zephyr Chisom Carter

Edna Brown Coleman                                          Frederica Chase Dodd

Jessie McGuire Dent                                            Myra Davis Hemmings

Olive C. Jones                                                      Jimmie Bugg Middleton

Pauline Oberdorfer Minor                                     Vashti Turley Murphy

Naomi Sewell Richardson                                    Mamie Reddy Rose

Eliza Pearl Shippen                                              Florence Letcher Toms

Ethel Carr Watson                                                Wertie Blackwell Weaver

Madree Penn White                                              Edith Motte Young


These students demonstrated a vital concern for de-emphasizing the social aspect of sorority life. 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.

Our Founders had the wisdom and the foresight to know that there was, and would always be, a need for Black women to be politically aware and involved. The first public act performed by Delta's Founders was the Women's Suffrage March in Washington, D.C. (It was held on the eve of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration.) on March 13, 1913. They were the only group of black women to participate in the woman's suffrage march only two months after the sorority's inception.

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 brightest college educated women. Delta Sigma Theta has been shaped by its members who have committed to a lifetime of public service. The Sorority's initiatives are based on its Five Point Programmatic Thrust. Delta continues to serve the community in numerous capacities providing services and programs to promote human welfare. The Sorority's new initiatives are carried out under the leadership of 24th National President Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre and the National Executive Board.