On July 23, 1927 the Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Sorority was chartered in New Orleans, Louisiana by seven visionary women. Its members enjoyed the distinction of becoming the 1st Black Greek Letter sorority in the State of Louisiana as well as the 30th graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Pictured above are its 1927 officers – Standing (left to right) – Hattie Price Jones, Lucille A. Dejoie, Susie Ione Brown. Seated – Mary Henrietta Jones, Betty Estelle Graves.
Being a part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908, meant that these ladies were conscious of a privileged position as college-trained women of color, formed just one generation removed from slavery. They knew the importance of families, communities, government halls, and world assembly chambers. They were women of ability and strength.
Community service was always the heart of Alpha Beta Omega. In its earliest years they provided scholarships to young women at Talladega College, hosted vocational guidance teas for junior high students, donated toys to nurseries, and distributed vaccines to prevent small pox and diphtheria to sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta.
During the 1930s the chapter started the May Day Court that raised money for scholarships. In the 1940s a parade of fashion became a successful fundraiser. Other successful programs over the years have been sending eyeglasses to Africa, hygiene kits for the homeless, AKA Coat Day, Poise N’Ivy etiquette workshops for junior high girls, and countless more.
With more than eighty years of service, these women have pooled their resources and talents to help improve the quality of life in Orleans Parish and the metropolitan New Orleans Area.
Sources: The Louisiana Weekly, 09 July 1927; Alpha Beta Omega Chapter History http://alphabetaomega.org/drupal