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    Home / College Guide / Alpha Kappa Alpha
     Posted on Saturday, January 15 @ 00:00:05 PST

    Sergeant at Arms A close up of an Alpha Phi Alpha delegate badge from the 23rd Boulé. The tri-convention—consisting of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, and Kappa Alpha Psi —was held from December 27–31, 1940, in Kansas City , Missouri . [17] [25] Expansion and implementation of programs: 1913–1940 Alpha Kappa Alpha continued to grow nationally. A second chapter at the University of Chicago was chartered in fall 1913. [26] The sorority was the first a Black Greek letter organizations at Howard University to offer a scholarship program. [27] In addition, Alpha Kappa Alpha helped to support members by providing scholarship funds for school and foreign studies. [28] Alpha Kappa Alpha began to unite members at the annual Boulé , the sororitys governing body. [2] The sororitys pledge was written by Grace Edwards and was adopted by the 1920 Boulé. [1] In addition, the sororitys crest was designed by Phyllis Wheatley Waters and accepted in the same Boulé. [1] A year later, at the 1921 Boulé, the Ivy Leaf was designated as the official organ of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Founders Week, paying honor to ?K?s founders was established. [1] [29] Pearls were first introduced to the sorority in the same year.

    [1] The sorority membership pin was accepted in the following Boulé in Kansas City , Missouri . [30] At the 1947 Boulé, pins for honorary members were designed and approved. [31] On May 10, 1930, Alpha Kappa Alpha, along with the fraternities Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi and sororities Delta Sigma Theta and Zeta Phi Beta , formed the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) at Howard University. [32] Currently consisting of nine predominately black fraternities and sororities, NPHC promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions. [32] A 1934 issue of Ivy Leaf , Alpha Kappa Alphas official organ [2] Throughout the Great Migration , members assisted the Travelers Aid Society , to help thousands of Southern Blacks adjust to Northern society, find housing and navigate around the city. They also volunteered at the Freedmans Hospital . [29] In April 1933, during the Great Depression , International President Ida Jackson visited All Saints Industrial School in Lexington , Mississippi . She found difficult conditions in the Mississippi Delta .

    Some of the teachers did not have an education past the seventh grade. African Americans were trying to make a living sharecropping on plantation land as agricultural prices continued to fall. [33] [34] In summer 1934, Ida Jackson initiated the Summer School for Rural Teachers to train future teachers. She worked with a total of 22 student teachers and 243 school children. In addition, she held night classes for 48 adults. [35] By obtaining 2600 books for the schools library, Jackson made it the largest library owned by white or colored in all Holmes County. [35] In summer 1938, Ida Jackson focused on poverty and established a regional health clinic. She had acquired $1,000 from the Boulé to fund the project in December 1935. [36] The clinic evolved into the Mississippi Health Project , with Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee appointed as the director. [36] The Mississippi Health Project brought primary medical care to the rural Black population across the state for six summers. [37] [38] The program has been recognized as the first mobile health clinic in the United States, assisting approximately 15,000 people in the Mississippi Delta. [39] The project was noted for helping to decrease cases diphtheria and smallpox in the region and to improve nutritional and dental practices throughout rural Mississippi.

    [40] [41] Led by incorporator Norma Elizabeth Boyd, the sorority created the National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights (NPC) in 1938, later renamed the National Non-Partisan Council on Public Affairs. It was the first full-time congressional lobby for minority group civil rights. [42] [43] Throughout the organizations life, the Non-Partisan Council worked with the NAACP , National Urban League , The United Office and Professional Workers of America, The National Association of Graduate Nurses, the American Federation of Churches, the Colored Womens Club, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Auxiliary, and the New York Voters League. [44] The NPC was dissolved on July 15, 1948, by twelfth Supreme Basileus Edna Over Gray-Campbell. [43] A year later, Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first sorority to apply for life membership in the NAACP . [45] To replace the NPC, in August 1945, Alpha Kappa Alpha established the American Council on Human Rights (ACHR). The council made recommendations to the government concerning civil rights legislation. [46] The ACHR was proposed at the 1946 Boulé. [46] In October 1946, Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first sorority to obtain observer status at the United Nations .

    [47] On January 25, 1948, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho sororities and Alpha Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma fraternities were charter members of the ACHR. [48] Kappa Alpha Psi later was included in March 1949. [49] [50] On September 1, 1945, Alpha Kappa Alpha established The National Health Office in New York City . [39] The National Health Office coordinated activities with local chapters and worked with the ACHC to promote health initiatives before Congress , increase the number of student nurses , and improve the state of health programs at historically Black Colleges and Universities . [51] The National Health Office was dissolved in 1951, as its goals were incorporated into the sororitys international program. [52] 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.

    [31] [53] Politically, ACHR continued lobbying for equality concerning civil rights during the 1950s and 1960s. According to Collier-Thomas, the ACHR drew attention to legislation concerning education, transportation, employment, and improving equality in the armed forces and public places. [54] The ACHR participated in filing civil rights cases in amicus curiae with Bolling v. Sharpe and 1954s Brown v. Board of Education . [55] However, as a whole, ACHR voted to dissolve operations in 1963. [55] Alpha Kappa Alpha contributed programs for inner city youth by capitalizing on political gains in the White House . On August 20, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act , which allowed the creation of the Job Corps . [56] The sorority wanted to operate a job training center for students. Led by president Julia Purnell, ?K? negotiated with the Office of Economic Opportunity to operate a womens center from October 1964 to January 1965. [56] Alpha Kappa Alpha was awarded a $4 million grant (equivalent to $32.8 million in 2020) to operate the Cleveland Job Corps on February 12, 1965, becoming the first sorority to operate a federal job training center. [38] [56] Beginning in 1965, the Cleveland Job Corps trained female high school dropouts, aged 16 to 21, with job and educational skills.

    In 1976, the Cleveland Job Corps accepted males. [38] The sorority operated the Cleveland Job Corps until 1995. [57] The sorority educated the community through highlighting the accomplishments of notable individuals by publishing The Heritage Series between 1968 and 1972. [17] These pamphlets were a series of biographies of top African-American women. Altogether, the entire collection contained Women in the Judiciary, Women in Politics, Women in Medicine, Women in Business, and Women in Dentistry. [58] Alpha Kappa Alpha also donated $20,000 for preserving Martin Luther King Jr.s birthplace in Atlanta , Georgia , in the early 1970s. [59] In 1978, during the sororitys seventieth anniversary, the Memorial Window at Howard University was dedicated to the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Surviving founders Lavinia Norman and Norma Boyd attended the celebration of unveiling the Memorial Window, designed by Lois Mailou Jones. [60] Bridging toward the twenty-first century: 1980–2007 Soon after the sororitys 75th anniversary, Alpha Kappa Alpha contributed funds to decrease Africas poverty with the establishment of African Village Development Program (AVDP). [61] As a conjoint program with Africare , the sorority sought to decrease poverty in African villages.

    [38] [61] In collaboration with the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH), the sorority built ten schools in South Africa after apartheid ended, and it donated computer technology to the region. [38] [62] Since, 1990, the sorority continued to provide after-school mentoring programs, such as ON TRACK. [38] ON TRACK, an acronym which stands for Organizing, Nurturing, Team building, Respecting, Achieving, Counseling and Knowing, was designed to help the progress of 20,000 third graders who were at-risk of failing their education. [63] Sponsored by Daimler Chrysler , ON TRACK was designated to improve communication, academics, physical and emotional health, peer leadership, etiquette, and interpersonal relationships. [38] [63] In addition, programs such as the Ivy Reading AKAdemy and Young Authors Program improved elementary reading comprehension skills, while P.I.M.S. highlighted programs in math and science. [38] Acting Surgeon General Rear Admiral Kenneth P. Moritsugu addressing participants at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporateds 98th National Founders Day in 2006. Then Alpha Kappa Alpha Executive Director Barbara McKinzie sits to the right. [64] The purpose of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of service to all mankind.

    —Sorority Creed [65] The sorority responded to the call for help in fall 2005 after Hurricane Katrina , by raising money for a disaster relief fund. [61] In July 2007, through Habitat for Humanity , the sorority helped build a house in New Orleans for a family that survived Hurricane Katrina. [66] In addition to educational programs, Alpha Kappa Alpha contributed to drawing awareness to health-related issues, such as AIDS , sickle cell anemia , breast cancer , and the importance of staying in shape . [61] [67] [68] Recently, the sorority has supported the efforts of justice for the Jena Six . [69] Also, the sorority connects to the past by partnering with African Ancestry. [70] Sorority members may use African Ancestrys DNA testing to find genealogical data for themselves and their families. The purpose of the partnership is to help members trace family connections through the world as well as in Africa , to embrace African-American culture and the larger community. [71] Centennial celebration: 2008 Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrated its centenary with a year-long commemoration in 2008. The celebration coincided with the sororitys biennial Boulé. [72] Internationally, some Alpha Kappa Alpha members began marking the festivities by making a pilgrimage to Howard University from January 12 to January 15, 2008.

    [72] [73] The activities included sorority members financially donating $1 million in scholarship funds to Howard University, [74] 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. [75] In addition, sorority undergraduate and graduate members who were not available to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C., held celebrations in local cities. [76] [77] On July 11 to July 18, 2008, Alpha Kappa Alpha held their 63rd Boulé. A town hall meeting with the public, a unity march in conjunction with other NPHC members, and a concert featuring R&B Grammy Award winning singer Patti LaBelle were some of the events which occurred at the centennial Boulé. [78] On July 17, 2008, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority set a Guinness World Record when 16,206 members set a record by having the largest-ever silver service sit-down dinner in a convention. [79] ???s centennial museum at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Alpha Kappa Alphas accomplishments were heralded by the United States Congress, with U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and sorority member U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee , who both agreed to pass legislation in both houses of the United States Congress to commemorate the sororitys founding.

    [80] In addition, the toy company Mattel designed a Barbie collectible doll fashioned with a pink and green evening gown. [81] [82] Lawsuits, forensic audits, and IRS review of former president On June 20, 2009, eight Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority members filed a complaint in D.C. Superior Court demanding that International President Barbara McKinzie be fired for improper use of sorority funds and the money be returned to the sorority. [83] The lawsuit claimed that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporateds Executive Board approved the spending of substantial amounts on McKinzies costs of living, including commissioning an expensive wax model of McKinzie, which cost $900,000. In response, McKinzie denied the allegations, describing them as without merit. The memberships of the eight AKAs who filed the complaint were revoked by the sorority in retaliation for the lawsuit but later forced to be reinstated by a judge. [84] [85] [86] [87] In February 2010, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit. [88] [89] On August 18, 2011, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed the previous decision. [90] On March 22, 2012, a forensic audit of Alpha Kappa Alphas 2010 financial records revealed troubling concerns with past president, Barbara McKinzies development and access to a secret bank account.

    The audit of the sorority led to findings that supported the claims in the previous lawsuit. The audit also found two former officials continued to use sorority credit cards after their service ended, failing to appropriately document charges. Another lawsuit against the organization, the former president McKinzie and other officials contained similar allegations. The audit found that McKinzie and the other officials secretly created a second set of financial books to get around the sororitys accounting policies. According to the audit, (n)early $1.7 million in payments were made to the former president, Barbara McKinzie, without authorization. Approximately $282,000 in credit card charges on a second set of books appear to be fraudulent, including personal charges the sorority wasnt reimbursed for. [91] The sorority later expelled McKinzie [92] and won an arbitration award of $1.6 million against her, which (as of January 2017) was challenged by McKinzie in court. [93] Sigma Chapter hazing death lawsuit On September 9, 2002, Kristin High (22) and Kenitha Saafir (24) from California State University – Los Angeles (CSULA), died following an illegal hazing activity. The women were instructed by members of Alpha Kappa Alpha to perform a series of activities blindfolded on Dockweiler State Beach when a high tide came and eventually drowned both of them.

    The next day when the women brought Kristins car and cellphone to her mother, she noticed her pledge journal missing from the car and numbers deleted from her cellphone. Prior to Kristins death, Kristins mother encouraged her to fully disassociate herself with the sorority after Kristin discussed inappropriate behavior by members of AKA. A year after the incident, the families of the deceased settled with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated after filing a $100 million civil wrongful death lawsuit . The sorority denied having an active chapter at CSULA but this was dismissed by the court which found the sorority accountable for the deaths. [94] [95] [96] No criminal charges were filed. The CSULA chapter had previously been sanctioned for hazing , and the sorority permanently expelled all members involved with this lawsuit. [97] [98] [99] Alpha Beta Chapter prostitution investigation In May 2018, the Alpha Beta Chapter at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) was placed under investigation by the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations due to compelling allegations that the executive assistant to the university president and chapters graduate advisor, Alecia Johnson, instructed low-income interested candidates to have sex with random affluent men in Georgia to cover approximately $1,500 in membership intake fees.

    Johnson resigned from her position at the university and hired legal representation to contest the allegations. [100] [101] [102] In October 2018, six of the seven individuals involved in the prostitution ring turned themselves in to authorities. [103] In June 2019, Johnson plead guilty to prostituting herself and one FVSU student. Also as part of her plea deal, she testified against the men charged in the prostitution ring. Her plea deal resulted in her getting five-years of probation, 180 days of house arrest, and a $1,000 fine. [104] AKAs internal investigation into the matter was completed with the chapter remaining in good-standing with the sororitys highest leadership. [105] Gamma Chi Chapter suicide lawsuit In a 2019 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of Illinois, the family of Jordan Hankins blames Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. for her 2017 suicide . Hankins was a sophomore basketball player at Northwestern University while pledging the sorority. And while pledging, Hankins was subjected to physical abuse including paddling, verbal abuse, mental abuse, financial exploitation, sleep deprivation, items being thrown and dumped on her, and other forms of hazing intended to humiliate and demean her, according to the lawsuit.

    An official statement from Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. says the sorority is “deeply saddened” by Hankins’ death and declined to comment on the details of the complaint and her suicide due to the “sensitive nature” of the incident and “the ongoing grief her family is experiencing.” [106] [107] [108] Membership Alpha Kappa Alphas National Headquarters in Chicago , Illinois Alpha Kappa Alpha has a membership of over 300,000 women internationally, with 90,000 active members of diverse backgrounds and professions. [3] Graduate members constitute the largest percentage of membership. [109] Alpha Kappa Alpha has over 1000 chapters, located in the United States , the Caribbean , Canada , and South Africa . [110] The term soror , derived from the Latin for sister, [111] is used between members of the sorority. Membership of the Directorate includes the Board of Directors. For graduate chapters, Omega is added to distinguish those which consist of college graduates from undergraduate chapters. Supreme, as a term, is preposed to the title of an international officeholder, such as Supreme Basileus . [2] Deceased members are referred to as Ivies Beyond the Wall. [2] Honorary membership [112] is Alpha Kappa Alphas highest honor.

    [109] Jane Addams , winner of the Nobel Peace Prize , is among the first honorary members. [113] Eleanor Roosevelt , a former First Lady and wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt , was made an honorary member. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton , former Senator and First Lady, and wife of President Bill Clinton , accepted honorary membership into Alpha Kappa Alpha. [114] However, Clinton later declined initiation into the organization due to the sororitys exclusive requirement preventing acceptance into other Pan-Hellenic organizations, and desired her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha to be non-exclusive. [114] [115] Membership interest and intake The Ivy Leaf Pledge Club was the official pledge club of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. [116] Potential candidates who were interested in joining the sorority would join the pledge club before being inducted into the sorority. [117] An Ivy Leaf Pledge Club located at Wilberforce University in 1922 In Our Kind of People: Inside Americas Upper Class, Lawrence Otis Graham tells of his aunts experience in joining the Ivy Leaf Pledge Club: We had to learn a lot more about the historic beginnings of the AKAs, and we did it by writing long letters of application to the Ivy Leaf Pledge Club—the senior wing of the sorority that regulated the admissions process—and then attending monthly meetings where the older students tutored us on the history.

    [118] In addition, according to Graham, the sorority would have Pledge Week, a period where a candidates grades and behavior were reviewed by chapter members. Candidates who withstood this period were initiated into the sorority. [118] Membership interest is processed by an interest meeting, known as a rush. After the candidate receives an official letter from the sorority, she can participate in the membership intake process. Prospective members must have a C+ average or better prior to their membership submission, as well as a record of community service. If a prospective member has graduated, she could be invited to join the sorority at the discretion of the graduate chapter. [119] Leadership: Founders and Executive Directors The leadership of the sorority in the early years was derived from three separate groups—the original group, the sophomores and the incorporators, who together are known as The Twenty Pearls. [2] [120] The Executive Director position has been held by eight members since the offices creation on October 9, 1949. [121] Original group of 1908:

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