The History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®


In 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority became America's first Greek-letter organization established by Black college women. Her roots date back to Howard University, Washington, D.C., where the idea for formation was conceived by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle of St. Louis, Missouri. She viewed the Sorority as an instrument for enriching the social and intellectual aspects of college life by providing mental stimulation through interaction with friends and associates. Through the years, however, Alpha Kappa Alpha's function has become more complex. After her incorporation as a perpetual body in 1913, Alpha Kappa Alpha gradually branched out and became the channel through which selected, college-trained women improved the socioeconomic conditions in their city, state, nation, and the world.


Alpha Kappa Alpha is a sisterhood composed of women who have consciously chosen this affiliation as a means of self-fulfillment through volunteer service. Alpha Kappa Alpha cultivates and encourages high scholastic and ethical standards; promotes unity and friendship among college women; alleviates problems concerning girls and women; maintains a progressive interest in college life; and serves all mankind through a nucleus of more than 170,000 women in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.


The Pearls of Our Sorority

The nine Howard University students who were led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle into a sisterhood in 1908, Nellie Quander and her gallant group who contributed the added dimension of a national organization and perpetual membership--and those who have come after them--the never-ending stream of eternally young, hopeful enthusiastic women, must be remembered.


The Original Group

Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, Anna Easter Brown, Beulah E. Burke, Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk Taylor











The Sophomores of 1908

Norma E. Boyd, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Alice P. Murray, Sarah Meriweather Nutter, Joanna M. Berry Shields, Carrie E. Snowden, and Harriett Josephine Terry











The Incorporators

Norma Boyd, Julia E. Brooks, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Nellie M. Quander, Nellie Pratt Russell, and Minnie B. Smith



The Current Administrator

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the 29th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®.  Buckhanan, a Senior Vice President of Goodwill Industries, was installed in Charlotte, North Carolina in July 2014.  Buckhanan Wilson makes history as the only member to serve four consecutive terms on its international board of directors and the first Wisconsin resident to be elected to this position.  


Continuing the Alpha Kappa Alpha Legacy

The 2014-2018 Program theme is Launching New Dimensions of Service.  Since 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® has implemented programs of service impacting countless lives in such key areas as Education, Health, the Family and Economics. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® will have an opportunity to address community needs with programs in traditional and new target areas.  The five target areas are:

I. Educational Enrichment

II. Health Promotion

III. Family Strengthening

IV. Environmental Ownership

V. Global Impact