Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is the first intercollegiate historically African American sorority. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at the historically black Howard University in Washington, D.C., by a group of sixteen students led by Ethel Hedgemon Lyle. Forming a sorority broke barriers for African American women in areas where they had little power or authority due to a lack of opportunities for minorities and women in the early 20th century. Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913.

The sorority is one of the nation’s largest Greek-letter organizations, having had more than 350,000 members in 1,024 chapters in the United States and several other countries. Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university, or they may be invited to join by a graduate chapter after acquiring an undergraduate or advanced college degree.

Alpha Kappa Alpha is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council(NPHC). The current International President is Danette Anthony Reed, and the sorority’s document and pictorial archives are located at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.


Motto“By Culture and By Merit”

Founded: January 15, 1908, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

HeadquartersChicago, IL

Colors: Salmon Pink; Apple Green

Member number350,000 members


AffiliationNPHC: Alpha Kappa Alpha is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council(NPHC). The current International President is Danette Anthony Reed, and the sorority’s document and pictorial archives are located at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

Expansion and implementation of programs: 1913–1940

Alpha Kappa Alpha continued to grow internationally, due to an effort that began in 1910 by the Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. A second chapter at the University of Chicago was chartered in fall 1913. The sorority was the first a Black Greek letter organizations at Howard University to offer a scholarship program. In addition, Alpha Kappa Alpha helped to support members by providing scholarship funds for school and foreign studies.

Civil rights and educational training: 1950–1970

Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, members helped to sponsor job training, reading enrichment, heritage and youth programs. By encouraging youth to improve math, science, and reading skills, the sorority continued a legacy of community service and pledged to enrich the lives of others. Financially, Alpha Kappa Alpha expanded funding for projects in 1953 through the creation and trademark of a fashion show called Fashionetta.

Centennial celebration: 2008

Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrated its centenary with a year-long commemoration in 2008. The celebration coincided with the sorority’s biennial Boulé. Internationally, some Alpha Kappa Alpha members began marking the festivities by making a pilgrimage to Howard University from January 12 to January 15, 2008. The activities included sorority members financially donating $1 million in scholarship funds to Howard University, contributing libraries for Middle School for Mathematics and Science and Asbury Dwelling for Senior Citizens, and unveiling a digital version of the entire Ivy Leaf publication.

Educational Advancement Foundation

Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Educational Advancement Foundation(EAF) is a separate and tax-exempt branch of the sorority, which “provide[s] financial support to individuals and organizations engaged in lifelong learning.” The foundation awards academic scholarships(for undergraduate members of the sorority, as well as non-members), fellowships, and grants for community service.

Partnerships in Mathematics and Science

Partnerships in Mathematics and Science(PIMS) began in Eva Evans‘s administration in 1994, and was a part of the SPIRIT program during the Linda White administration. Eva Evans mentioned the need for a math and science program, “As a college sorority, we’ve always advanced an educational agenda. We always had high GPA requirements. And more than ever, we’re pushing the importance of math and science for our girls. We need more black women in those fields.

Young Authors Program

In Linda White’s administrations, the Young Authors Program was born. The purpose of the program is to encourage and raise involvement in reading and writing in children in kindergarten through third grade. Each of the ten regions in the sorority had the opportunity to choose a child’s story to be published in a two-volume anthology entitled The Spirit Within: Voices of Young Authors. In 2004, twenty children were honored in the first anthology


List of Alpha Kappa Alpha Boulés
The Boulé is the regulating institution of the sorority and currently meets every two years. Throughout the years, notable individuals such as civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins were speakers at past Boulé conferences.

Ivy Acres

Ivy Acres will be a retirement center located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The retirement center is sponsored by Senior Residences, Incorporated, a subsidiary of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Ivy Acres will be one of the first retirement centers founded by African Americans and minorities in the United States. It will offer assisted or individual living for individuals who are over fifty-five, regardless of background, ethnicity or religion.

Ivy Reading AKAdemy

The Ivy Reading AKAdemy provides programs that encourage the entire community to become involved. The concept serves as an educational and human resource center for programs provided by Alpha Kappa Alpha.

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