On Jan. 15, 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first Greek-lettered African-American sorority was founded on Howard University’s campus in Washington, D.C.
Ethel Hedgeman Lyle saw a need for a sorority at Howard and believed it would enrich the social and intellectual experience of fellow women matriculating at the institution. She was inspired by her professor Ethel Robinson’s sorority stories at Brown University. Eight students expressed interest and Lyle led them in forming the organization. In 1912, Nellie Quander guided the sisterhood to being incorporated. Alpha Kappa Alpha also began engaging in issues outside the Howard community, founded chapters on other college campuses, and became involved in issues in the nation and the world.
The 107-year-old organization now has a membership of more than 265,000 women in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. In 2008, First Lady Michelle Obama was inducted as an honorary member of AKA.
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(Photo: Alpha Kappa Alpha)