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A Brief History of Alpha Kappa Alpha's Founders


On January 15, 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., nine young ladies came together to start a sorority that would pioneer the advocacy of service, sisterhood, and high standards for African-American women. Shortly thereafter, seven sophomores were admitted into the sorority to continue the organization's legacy on Howard's campus in the years to come. 


When the sorority was incorporated in 1913, the idea of everlasting excellence resonated in the promulgation of core ethical values through service and consciousness of issues that affected African-Americans living in the early twentieth century. Under the motto, "Service to All Mankind," the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha have positively impacted several lives while promoting the pursuit of success in college.

Deemed "The Twenty Pearls," the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated ® have established a legacy that has impacted over 250,000 women worldwide for 114 continuous years.


The purpose of Alpha Kappa Alpha 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.

The Founders

​Ethel Hedgeman Lyle

Lucy Slowe

Lillie Burke

Beulah Burke

Marjorie Hill

Margaret Flagg Homes

Anna Easter Brown

Lavinia Norman

Marie Woolfolk Taylor

The Sophomores

Norma Boyd

Ethel Jones Mowbray

Joanna Berry Shields

Sarah Merriweather Nutter

Alice Murray

Carrie Snowden

Harriet Terry


The Incorporators

Nellie Quander​

Nellie Pratt Russell​

Minnie Smith​

Julia Brooks​

Norma Boyd​

Ethel Jones Mowbray

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