This Day in Black History: March 30, 1923

Zeta Phi Beta sorority was chartered in Washington, D.C.

Posted: 03/30/2014 12:00 AM EDT
This Day in Black History: March 30, 1923

Zeta Phi Beta, one of the prominent national African-American sororities, was chartered on March 30, 1923, three years after the organization was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The sorority was chartered by members Myrtle Tyler, Gladys Warrington, Joanna Houston, Josephine Johnson and O. Goldia Smith.

Zeta Phi Beta is the only member of the National Man-Hellenic Council that is constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma. The organization was also the first sorority to expand to Africa, when it established a chapter in the Liberian capital of Monrovia in 1948.

The sorority has grown dramatically, with more than 800 chapters throughout the United States, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Zeta Phi Beta was founded on the simple belief that sorority elitism and socializing should not overshadow the real mission for progressive organizations: to address societal mores, ills, prejudices, poverty and health concerns of the day.

The sorority’s list of prominent members include, author Zora Neale Hurston, singers Minnie Ripperton and Sarah Vaughn and United States Congresswoman Julia Carson of Indiana. Sheryl Underwood, a nationally renowned comedian, served as the organization’s president.

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(Photo: Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)

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