Sorority celebrates anniversary

GW’s first historically black Greek-letter organization, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., celebrated its 25th anniversary this weekend.

The festivities were part of the many events of Alumni Weekend.

I think it’s a testament to the strength of our sisterhood, said 1977 GW graduate Monica Jordan, who was a charter member of the sorority. It’s a connection of African Americans to the GW community.

The sorority held a banquet at Howard University’s Blackburn Center Friday to begin the weekend’s celebrations, at which Gwendolyn E. Boyd, the organization’s national president, spoke.

Boyd is the first black woman to graduate from the Yale University’s engineering school.

The sorority made gift packages of school supplies for children Saturday morning at the Marvin Center. Saturday afternoon the sorority met for a reception at the Alumni House and a group photo before a rededication ceremony at the Marvin Center in the evening.

Sunday the women worshipped at Howard’s Rankin Chapel.

We do all the social events that other sororities do, but public service is also a top priority for our sorority, said Adrienne Mauney, vice president of GW’s Mu Beta chapter of the sorority.

Mauney said this year the sorority started a program to raise awareness about black women’s issues titled, Sister to sister: I am my sister’s keeper.

We’re working to break down negative media stereotypes of black women, Mauney said.

When it was granted its charter in 1975, Delta Sigma Theta had nine members.

Black Greek organizations have a history of fellowship, community service and leadership, Jordan said. There were none (at GW) at that time – we needed that kind of thing.

Jordan, a D.C. native, majored in political science, earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and currently practices law. She said the time was right in the mid-1970s to form a black Greek-letter organization that focused on political awareness.

Black Power was strong, Jordan said. African Americans were striving for political leadership.

The nation’s second-oldest black sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, was started by 22 dynamic women at Howard in 1913, Mauney said.

She said it currently has more than 200,000 members in 844 chapters. Mauney said the sorority developed many trailblazing political figures, including the first black congresswoman, former Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-TX), the first black woman senator, former Sen. Carol Mosely Braun (D-Ill.), and the first black woman ambassador in Europe, Patricia Roberts Harris, who was ambassador to Luxembourg.

About 50 sorority alumnae participated in the weekend events.

I’m glad they did something like this, said sorority alumna Annette Ffolkes, a 1982 GW graduate who works as an administrator for the Montgomery County School District. Twenty-five years is a milestone.

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