Margaret Flagg Holmes

Margaret Flagg Holmes was born in Greensboro, North Carolina to the Reverend Lewis and Callie McAdoo Flagg. She had one sister, Pearl Flagg Ransom, and three brothers, Charles, Lacey and Lewis. When Margaret was ten years of age, her family moved to Washington, D.C. where her father was appointed pastor of an African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Margaret Flagg attended the public schools in Durham, North Carolina in her early years. When the family moved to Washington, she was enrolled at the old M. Street High School in Georgetown where she was audacious enough to study advanced mathematics in a class of all boys. She entered Howard University on a scholarship in 1904 and majored in Latin, English and history. Shortly after her enrollment, her father was transferred to Baltimore, so she remained there and moved in with friends of the family, She was intrigued with the idea of establishing a sorority and was present at the first meeting of the group. With Ethel Hedgeman and Lavinia Norman, she developed the constitution as initially drafted by Lucy Diggs Slowe.

After graduation in 1908, Margaret Flagg became a substitute teacher in the elementary schools of Baltimore. When she passed the qualifying examinations, she was appointed to the Baltimore High School where Lucy Stowe also taught. There, for nine years, she taught Latin, English and history, During her summers, she studied at Columbia University earning the Master of Arts degree in philosophy, which she obtained in 1917.

On August 1, 19 1 7, Margaret Flagg married John Clay Holmes, a graduate of Howard University, and they moved to Chicago.

In Chicago, Mrs. Holmes again worked as a substitute teacher until she passed her qualifying examination and was appointed to the celebrated Wendell Phillips High School. She was so successful there, that she was rated the best Latin teacher in the city by the North Central Association. She was transferred to DuSable High School where she was head of the history department until her retirement in 1931.

Mrs. Holmes was an active participant in community organizations. She was a member of both the NAACP and YWCA in her early years in Baltimore and later in Chicago. Through her community work, she became friendly with Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Mary White Ovington, Dr. Joel Spingarn, and other leaders in the civil rights struggle. Margaret Flagg Holmes loved to travel and toured the United States and Canada with her husband. In the winter of 1931, the couple traveled in Europe for six months. in Rome, they were received by the Pope. In Paris, Mrs. Holmes - who made friends wherever she went - became acquainted with Josephine Baker, the famous performer.

From 1922 to 1953, Mrs. Holmes was an active member of Theta Omega Chapter in Chicago. She served as anti-basileus and grammateus of the chapter and attended several Boules as a delegate from her chapter.

In 1953, she retired from teaching and, having been widowed in 1946, moved to New York City to live with her sister. There she affiliated with Tau Omega Chapter in Manhattan.

In 1968, she was guest of honor at the 19th annual joint Founders' Day celebration of the chapters of greater New York. In response to her tribute delivered by Thelma Berlack Boozer, the first elected North Atlantic regional director, Mrs. Holmes stated that her philosophy of life was: "Life is for the living . to love, to share and give of one's self."

She wrote of her experiences as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha with much affection:

"It is with a feeling of justifiable pride that I am happy to be a founder of this organization which has many wonderful, talented, dedicated women who are contributing much to the world of today - a world which is so sadly in need of the talent, common sense and humanity of women."

Margaret Flagg Holmes died January 29, 1976, thirty years after her beloved husband. She was beloved by the sorors of Tau Omega Chapter in the metropolitan New York area as well as those of the North Atlantic Region. She made an impact upon those who were to become the future leaders of the sorority