Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

National History

First African American sorority spanning over 100 years

In 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority became America’s first Greek-letter organization established by Black college women. Her roots date back to Howard University, Washington, D.C., where the idea for formation was conceived by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle of St. Louis, Missouri. She viewed the Sorority as an instrument for enriching the social and intellectual aspects of college life by providing mental stimulation through interaction with friends and associates. Through the years, however, Alpha Kappa Alpha’s function has become more complex. After her incorporation as a perpetual body in 1913, Alpha Kappa Alpha gradually branched out and became the channel through which selected college-trained women improved the socioeconomic conditions in their city, state, nation, and the world.

In a world in which materialism is pervasive, and technology and competition have decreased the need for collaboration and cooperation, it is critical to have an association that cuts across racial, international, physical, and social barriers to help individuals and communities develop and maintain constructive relationships with others. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is that vital organization.

Alpha Kappa Alpha is a sisterhood composed of women who have consciously chosen this affiliation as a means of self-fulfillment through volunteer service. Alpha Kappa Alpha cultivates and encourages high scholastic and ethical standards; promotes unity and friendship among college women; alleviates problems concerning girls and women; maintains a progressive interest in college life; and serves all mankind through a nucleus of more than 170,000 women in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.

Candidacy for membership into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is open to women of high ethical and scholastic standards who are pursuing or have completed courses leading to a degree in an accredited college or university. Our official headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois.

Visit the Official National Website of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated for more information. 

Our Founders

Anna Easter Brown
1879 – 1957

Margaret Flagg (Holmes)
1886 – 1976

Marie Woolfolk (Taylor)
1893 – 1960

Sarah Meriwether (Nutter)
Unknown – 1950

Beulah Elizabeth Burke
1885 – 1975

Ethel Hedgeman (Lyle)
1887 – 1950

Joanna Berry (Shields)
1884 – 1965

Alice Porter Murray
Birth & Death Unknown

Lillie E. Burke
1884 – 1949

Lavinia Norman
1882 – 1983

Norma Elizabeth Boyd
1888 – 1985

Carrie E. Snowden
Unknown – 1948

Marjorie Hill
Unknown – 1909

Lucy Diggs Slowe
1885 – 1937

Ethel Jones (Mowbray)
Unknown – 1948

Harriet Josephine Terry
1885 – 1967

The Original Nine: Anna Easter Brown, Beulah Burke, Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Ethel Hedgeman (Lyle), Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe and Marie Woolfolk (Taylor)

With the exception of Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, the original group of nine women was comprised of college seniors. To ensure the continuity of the organization, seven Class of 1910 honor students who had expressed interest were invited to join without initiation.

The Sophomores: Norma Boyd, Ethel Jones (Mowbray), Alice Murray, Sarah Meriweather (Nutter), Joanna Berry (Shields), Carrie Snowden and Harriet Terry


Nellie May Quander, Minnie Beatrice Smith, Julia Evangeline Brooks, Nellie Pratt (Russell) in addition to Members Norma Boyd and Ethel Jones (Mowbray)

2018 Founders' Day

Prayer Breakfast Video