This Day in Black History: Jan. 16, 1920

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. founded.

Posted: 01/16/2015 12:00 AM EST

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 16, 1920, by five young African-American students. 

The women formed the sorority with the mission of putting scholarship, service, sisterly love and finer womanhood first in their organization. Founders Arizona Cleaver Stemons, Pearl Anna Neal, Myrtle Tyler Faithful, Viola Tyler Goings and Fannie Pettie Watts desired to be part of a sorority that was not focused on "sorority elitism" and "socializing," according to their website.

In its early years, Zeta Phi Beta expanded first to other historically Black colleges and universities, such as Morris Brown College and Morgan State University. The organization now has more than 800 chapters in the U.S., Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.

Notable members include late authors Zora Neale Hurston and Gwendolyn Brooks, comedienne Sheryl Underwood and singer Syleena Johnson

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(Photo: Zeta Phi Beta)

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