History of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated
Twenty-two undergraduate women established Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, a private, non-profit organization on January 13, 1913 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. These young women wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need. Delta’s purpose is to provide services and programs to advance the well being of humankind.
Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is the largest African-American women’s service sorority and is comprised of professional women who are college graduates. It has collegiate members who are currently matriculating at colleges and universities. A sisterhood of more than 200,000 predominately African-American college educated women, the Sorority currently has over 900 chapters located in the United States, England, Panama Canal, Japan, Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Haiti, Liberia, the Bahamas and the Republic of Koreas.
Since its establishment, Delta Sigma Theta has clearly established itself as a public service organization that strives to confront the problems of African Americans and, hence, all Americans. A wide range of programs addressing education, health, international development, and strengthening of the African American family have emerged and evolved over the years. In realizing its mission, Delta Sigma Theta provides an extensive array of public service through its Five-Point Program Thrust:
International Awareness and Involvement
Physical and Mental Health
Political Awareness and Involvement
Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy: Catching the Dreams of Tomorrow, Preparing Young Women For the 21st Century
The Delta Academy was created out of an urgent sense that bold action was needed to save our young females (ages 11-14) from the perils of academic failure, low self-esteem, and crippled futures. Delta Academy provides an opportunity for local Delta chapters to enrich and enhance the education that our young teens receive in public schools across the nation. specifically, we augment their scholarship in math, science, and technology, their opportunities to provide service in the form of leadership through service learning, and their sisterhood defined as the cultivation and maintenance of relationships. A primary goal of the program is to prepare young girls for full participation as leaders in the 21st Century.
Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF)
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., established the Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) as a non-profit corporation. DREF was designed to help strengthen and expand the charitable, educational, scientific programs of Delta Sigma Theta and other organizations with similar community service goals.
- Benefits for contributors to the national, regional and chapter activities of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
- Research and Program Initiatives through The Center For Research on African American Women serving as a comprehensive database and resource on the diverse lifestyles of African American women and the roles they have played in contributing to the building of the United States. The Center is designed to present extensive research on Black women that will be of significance for policy decision-making on both local and national levels.
- Tools and Techniques for Parents As Partners In Science, Math, and Technology Education with the Dr. Betty Shabazz Academies and community resource collaboration to get young girls interested and competent in the science fields for 20th century careers and abilities to function well in a highly technology-oriented society.
INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS AND INVOLVEMENT
Thika Memorial Hospital: Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa
A maternity wing and health services in Thika Town were funded initially by Delta in 1955. Support in the form of monetary contributions continues to be required for property maintenance, equipment and program expansion at the Thika Memorial Hospital, renamed Mary Sick of the Mission Hospital. Funds designated for Thika should be sent to: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Thika Hospital Fund, P. O. Box 96181, Washington, D.C. 20009. All funds received will be forwarded by Delta to the appropriate authorities in Kenya. Sorors should not send monies directly to the hospital.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
Summit V: Health and Healing – Let It Begin Within!
Summit V is a campaign to educate and elevate awareness of health issues, especially those that seriously impact African American women. The centerpiece of Summit V is Clinical Depression Education Campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage individuals to recognize, get evaluated, and, if appropriate, seek treatment for symptoms that they may be experiencing which may be, in actuality, symptoms of clinical depression. African American women are prime targets for the disease because of their desire to do it all – juggle the demands of career, home and community without complaint.
Clinical depression is a serious medical illness that causes persistent changes in a person’s mood, behavior and feelings. If affects more than 17 million people each year and the prevailing rate of depression among African American women is about twice that found in all men. Unlike the feelings of depression, which come and go, the disease of depression persists and may deepen over several weeks, months or years. If left untreated, depression can be a factor in the development of even more serious mental illnesses and disorders, thereby threatening the productivity and survival of the African American family and community.
POLITICAL AWARENESS AND INVOLVEMENT
Voter Education and Registration, Public Policy and Legislation
Sorors are encouraged to continue to aggressively address voter education and registration. Set a target number of education sessions and register all who attend. Try to register all adults who participate or have family members who participate in Delta programs and projects. Further, pay special attention to the Social Action Commission publications and initiatives regarding your involvement in priority public policy and legislative activities.
For more information regarding our Five Point Thrust initiatives, please visit the
Delta Sigma Theta National Homepage.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., owns property located at 1703-1709 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C., which is its National Headquarters. Housed there are their national staff and records, systems and equipment necessary to conduct the business of the organization. Delta was the first African-American organization to purchase property for its headquarters operation.