Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated was founded on January 15, 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and became the first African American Greek-lettered sorority. The sorority’s founder, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, was inspired by two of her professors to establish a society that encouraged scholarship, friendship and service. She and a group of eight distinguished ladies worked together to ensure the sorority’s implementation. This group consisted of Anna Easter Brown, Beulah and Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg-Holmes, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Diggs Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk-Taylor.
The sophomore class of 1910, Joanna Berry Shields, Norma Elizabeth Boyd, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Sarah Merriweather Nutter, Alice P. Murray, Carrie Snowden, and Harriet Josephine Terry, were inducted into the sorority without initiation. Along with the incorporators, Julia Brooks, Nellie Quander, Nellie Pratt Russell, and Minnie B. Smith, these women became what are known as the 20 Pearls of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
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