In 1927, eleven members of Gamma
Chapter, led by Sadie T. M. Alexander, formed the nucleus of Xi Sigma. In 1956,
nomenclature of all graduate chapters was changed and Xi Sigma was renamed
Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter. Our eleven charter members are:
Sadie T. Mossell Alexander
Julia Polk Parham
Nellie R. Bright
Sarah Strickland Scott
Anna Johnson Julian
The first Xi Sigma president was
Sara Strickland Scott. She and the other officers were installed by Gladys
Byron Sheppard, then-Eastern Regional Director. The impact of Xi Sigma during
the early part of the 20th Century could be felt locally through
programs and discussions that stressed academic excellence.
Our charter members became
leaders in the communities in which they lived. The impact of Sadie T. Mossell
Alexander is well documented. Nellie
Bright spent her entire career as a teacher after graduating from the
University of Pennsylvania in 1923. Her
efforts as an educator, spanning more than thirty years, focused not only on
the schools but also on the housing and neighborhoods in which her students
lived. She was also a writer, contributing to black literary reviews to writing
history for children.
Anna Johnson Julian taught
briefly in Bordentown, New Jersey before enrolling in the University of Pennsylvania’s
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, receiving a Master of Arts in Sociology
in June 1925. In 1931, she became the first African American woman to earn a
Ph.D. in Sociology from Penn. She married Percy Lavon Julian, a prominent
African American research chemist and a professor of Chemistry at Howard
University. She would later go on to become the fourth National President of
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Sarah Strickland Scott graduated
from the Philadelphia High School for Girls. After majoring in English at the
University of Pennsylvania, she began her career as a teacher in Philadelphia.
She went on to become a co-founder and first National President of The Links,
Incorporated. Soror Scott projected a
deep and abiding concern for the well being of young people who needed some
direction in their life choices. Many of her activities were youth and family
At the national level, the Grand
Chapter encouraged local chapters to deal head-on with issues relating to the
political and civil unrest of this country and how this unrest directly
affected the ‘Negro” in general. Xi
Sigma/Philadelphia Alumnae protested against unfair, un-American acts and
discriminatory practices. We became
life members of the NAACP, established a Job Opportunities project where we
took area students by bus to various work sites. We served as YMCA and YWCA
volunteers, sponsored panel discussions in schools, supported our men and women
serving in the war, and also provided assistance for the striking workers of
the American Tobacco Company.
The Golden Anniversary of Delta
Sigma Theta occurred during the height of the Civil Rights movement and members
of Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter were at the frontlines, marching, registering
voters and working with the NAACP to raise awareness about equal access to jobs
and education. We also recognized sorors who were jailed in Mississippi for
registering blacks to vote.
We provided scholarships and
renewed those scholarships so our young people could continue their education.
Additionally, we established an annual matching fund contribution to the United
Negro College Fund in support of HBCUs. The chapter’s commitment to scholarship
was further enhanced by supporting the establishment of the Dr. Constance E.
Clayton Chair in Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania. The Scholarship Endowment Foundation, Inc.
was reactivated through an agreement between Soror Liller Green and the
chapter. Again, in response to a
National Initiatives, Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter support was provided for the
Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy. Today, the academy provides an opportunity to
enrich and enhance the academic, emotional and personal development of females
ages 11-18 through the Delta Gems programs.
During the 1990’s, Deltas everywhere
were challenged by executing programs in response to the needs of our
communities and global community at large.
Philadelphia Alumnae addressed the economic challenges facing our
community. We partnered with Habitat for Humanity International and
rehabilitated a house in Camden, New Jersey, contributing with our time and
sweat and by providing financial support. Our programs were also international
in scope ad we contributed to the costs of building a Habitat for Humanity home
Since its founding in 1913, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has
clearly distinguished itself as a public service organization that boldly
confronts the challenges of African Americans and hence, all Americans. As we
near the end of our first decade in the new Millennium, we are continuing on
the path of our illustrious Founders, creating new venues and seeking new
opportunities in which to serve our community.
In realizing our mission, new programs evolved to carry out our latest
national theme of “Empowering Communities through Committed Service.”
Our chapter’s commitment to the
sorority’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust continues to be focused on addressing
the needs of the underserved. Our
successful programs include:
The Delta Academy and Delta Gems - A continuation of
the highly successful Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy, Delta Gems provide the
framework to actualize those dreams through the performance of specific tasks
that develop a “can do attitude.” We
continue to support the UNCF, provide college-bound students with a free SAT
Prep Workshop and our Adopt-A-School Program, where we strive to support
students in local public schools.
The Juanita Kidd Stout Economic Youth Conference is an annual program
we do in conjunction with Gamma Chapter, providing young people with a free
daylong workshop on financial fortitude.
Awareness and involvement
Most recently, we’ve engaged in the Change for Darfur Project where sorors give
their spare change to help raise much-needed funding for our African brothers
D Physical and Mental Health
“The Total Woman: Mind, Body and Spirit”
focuses on the achievement and maintenance of a healthy weight. Our chapter supported
the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” campaign, raising funds for
education and research of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death
Awareness and Involvement
Not only are our chapter members supportive
of Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital and United Nations, but we are advocating
locally for change. For the past few years, we’ve traveled to Harrisburg to
meet with leaders of the Commonwealth from both sides of the aisle hoping to
raise awareness of the needs of Philadelphia residents.
history of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter is a part of the history of our
community, as well as that of Delta Sigma Theta in general. As we continue to break new ground in the 21st
Century, we will continue the Legacy of sisterhood and service to our community
while blazing new trails at the local, national and international levels.
History based on excerpts from the 75th
Anniversary Souvenir Journal, the Internet and Xi Sigma/Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter