Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

The twenty-two founders in 1913

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913, at Howard University by twenty-two former members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

As Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority began to grow on the campus of Howard University, some members began to become unhappy with the state of the organization. In 1913, some members felt that changes needed to be made and that a permenant organization needed to be established.

History of Delta Sigma Theta

The founding members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were originally initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in October of 1912. The twenty-two new members, however, voted to change the name of the organization and many of its identifying characteristics. These women also wanted the sorority to become more politically active to reflect the philosophical underpinnings of the times.

After a graduate member of the chapter gave the members a deadline to stop the reorganization of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the twenty-two women split off and formed Detla Sigma Theta on January 13, 1913. Delta Sigma Theta recieved its articles of incorporation from the District of Columbia on February 18, 1913, and was nationally incorporated in 1930.

Delta Sigma Theta’s first public appearance was made at the Women’s Suffrage March the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1913. The twenty-two founding members and honorary member Mary Church Terrell walked under the new sorority’s banner as the demonstration made its way down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

In 1930, representatives from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity met on the campus of Howard University and formed the National Pan-Hellenic Council. This organization served to unify what would become known as the “Divine 9,” or America’s nine historically African-American sororities and fraternities.

In 1954, Delta Sigma Theta became the first of the Divine 9 organizations to purchase and occupy its own national headquarters site. The building, which is located at 1703, 1705, 1707, and 1709 New Hampshire Avenue Northwest in Washington, D.C., houses the offices of national officers and sorority offices and infrastructure.

Delta Sigma Theta Today

Today, Delta Sigma Theta supports over 950 collegiate and alumnae chapters in the United States, England, Japan, Germany, Bermuda, the Bahamas, South Korea, and U.S. Virgin Islands. Over 350,000 women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds hold membership in Delta Sigma Theta.

Delta Sigma Theta’s community serivce, social, and philanthropic projects revolve around the Five-Point Thrust, a concept developed and implented by the organization in 1955. The five points include economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement.

Delta Sigma Theta can be distinguished from other fraternal organizations through various distinct insignia adopted throughout the organization’s history.

  • Colors: crimson and cream
  • Symbol: fortitude
  • Flower: African violet
  • Social Initiative: programs coinciding with the Five-Point Thrust
  • Motto: Intelligence is the Torch of Wisdom

Founded in 1913, Delta Sigma Theta became the result of twenty-two women’s dreams to do something more with the fellowship they had found in a sorority. Today, Delta Sigma Theta continues to be an active part of communities across the United States, but also throughout the world.