History

founders2
Top row left to right:
Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Founder Ethel Cuff Black, Founder Naomi Sewell RichardsonFront row left to right:
Unknown, Soror Marion Waples, Soror Escobedo Posey 1936 or 1937

 

New York Alumnae Chapter, the first graduate chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was approved at the National convention in December 1920 and chartered in January 1921. Its first name, Alpha Beta was changed to Alpha Sigma and by 1960 changed to New York Alumnae.

During its 94 year history, the New York Alumnae Chapter has continually incorporated projects consistent with the directions and emphases recommended at the national level. Pledged to academic excellence, cultural enrichment, social welfare and community service, the 150 Deltas in New York Alumnae Chapter continue to demonstrate leadership skills as they work to programs and projects for the young, the needy, and the elderly.

Leadership Positions
Members of our chapter have held leadership roles in Delta’s local & national offices and committees. For example:

  • Sorors Marie Barksdale and Shirley Brown, former Executive Directors, both were members of New York Alumnae Chapter
  • The late Maude L. Watkins was acting Chairperson of the 1940’s National Library Project
  • Soror Winnie Norman was a National Nominating Committee member in 1963
  • Soror Phoebe C. LeSesne elected Chair National Finance Committee in 1963. In 1967 she was elected National Treasurer, then later re-elected Chair of National Finance Committee at the next National Convention

Conferences and Conventions
As a chapter in one of the largest cities in the United States, we have hosted conferences and conventions as listed below:

  • December 27 – 31, 1924 the chapter hosted the sixth National Convention at YWCA on 137th Street during which the Delta Hymn was adopted. Founder Naomi Sewell Richardson was a member of Alpha Beta Chapter
  • August 28 – 31, 1939 the chapter hosted the 15th National Convention at St. James Presbyterian Church
  • Under the leadership of Soror Dorothy I. Height, The Hotel Roosevelt was Headquarters for Delta’s 23rd National Convention in 1954 – the first time a black organization met in a major downtown Manhattan hotel
  • March 30 – April 2, 1978 the Eastern Regional Conference convened at the Americana Hotel
  • 1963, Delta’s Golden Anniversary Convention was held at the Americana Hotel during Soror Jeanne L. Noble’s administration