Our Legacy

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

Ethel Sargent

Mary Deleon

Sarah Strickland Scott

Florence Evans

Nora Waring

Anna Johnson Julian

Pauline Young

Marian Minton

 

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 oriented.

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 in Ghana.

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: 

D Educational Development

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.

D Economic Development

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.

D International 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 and sisters.

       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 for women.

D Political 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.

The rich 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 historical documents.

© 2007 Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated
All Rights Reserved