African-American Sororities

Autumn has “fallen” upon us. This is the season that I associate with Homecoming season. When I think of homecoming season, I don’t just think of football games and parties. Actually, Greek fraternities and sororities come to mind. Since the focus of this blog is African-American women, let’s talk about African-American sororities.

What do African-American sororities have to do with historical romance? I’m glad you asked. I think reading about how these organizations came to be and the women who founded them would be a great help to any romance writers who want place their heroine in the earliest decades of the 20th century. The popular image of women in the 1910s and 1920s include flappers and legendary blues singers. But if you research the biographies of the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho, you will discover a very different set of women. You will find ground-breaking educators, businesswomen and civil rights and women’s rights pioneers. Actually, the accomplishments of these women are quite remarkable when you consider their gender, the color of their skin and the time period into which they were born and came of age.

To find out more about these organizations, check out these resources:

African-American Fraternities and Sororities: The Legacy and the Vision
by Tamara L. Brown, Gregory S. Parks, and Clarenda M. Phillips

In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement
by Paula C. Giddings

Finer Women: The Birth of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, 1920-1935
by Tilu Khalayi

The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities
by Lawrence C. Ross, Jr.

Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities
by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley

I dedicate this post to my great-great aunt Dr. Florence Steele Hunt, one of the founders of Phi Delta Kappa. Phi Delta Kappa was founded in 1923 as sorority to promote sisterhood among African-American teachers.