On February 3, 1921, nine graduates (Charter Members), realizing the need for a closer and stronger
relationship with other members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. petitioned the Grand
Chapter in December 1920 at the Second National Convention. Soror G. Dorothy Pelham
Beckley is credited with assembling the chapter. The chapter was officially recognized by
Grand Chapter on February 3, 1921 and became Beta Beta Chapter. As the second graduate
chapter chartered in 1956, Beta Sigma became the Washington DC Alumnae Chapter.
Mary Church Terrell, Nannie Helen Burroughs and Gabrielle Pelham, among the first honorary
members of Delta, were brilliant and indefatigable workers for human rights. Their spirit
broadened the base of service programs both nationally and locally. During the first fifty
years the Chapter reflected the goals, values and aspirations of the national body in
which various Five-Point Programs have historically encouraged social and individual
concerns as well as national and international interests. The present National Five-Point
Program has these emphases; Economic Development, Educational Development, International
Awareness and Involvement, Physical and Mental Health, and Political Awareness and
Involvement. Combining concerns for physical and mental health with economic development,
the Washington Chapter planned and constructed Delta Towers, a multi-million dollar,
ten-story, 150 bedroom unit residence for seniors and the handicapped, including
commercial use space. Delta Towers is located on Florida Avenue in Northeast Washington,
D.C. and was opened for occupancy in 1980. It is administered by the Delta Housing
The activities of the Chapter in those early years were very similar to those today,
except on a small scale since the total membership numbered twelve. Those Sorors were
dedicated to a program of sharing membership skills and organizational service in the
The Washington D.C. Alumnae Chapter has consistently utilized the talents, skills,
training, and other resources of its entire membership to implement social, cultural and
service programs, which sparked Delta's founding. It has executed local and national
projects, which reflect community and national life.
Today, with a roster of more than 500 members, Washington D.C. Alumnae is the second
largest chapter in the Sorority. The National Headquarters of Grand Chapter is located in
.Dorothy Pelham Beckley
Louise F. Denney
Edith Brinkley Howard
Jennie Baer Shief
Eliza Pearl Shippen*
Elsie Brown Smith
Florence Letcher Toms*
Wilma Green Williams
* Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Copyright © 2004-06
Washington DC Alumnae Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. All rights reserved.
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