PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – What a group of African-American women decided to do in the early 1900s on a university campus has withstood the test of time.
This sorority’s purpose is to provide assistance and support through programs in local communities throughout the world.
On Jan. 13, 1913, 22 college women created the Delta Sigma Theta sorority incorporated at Howard University in Washington, D.C. to promote social change.
“There was a need for social action is what they felt,” Diana Jaden said. “If you think back to 1913 and what was going on in America, African-Americans had very little rights, African-American women probably had even less rights.
Jaden currently works for Pittsburgh Glass on the North Side and said the 101-year-old sorority mission remains the same.
“We are advocates for social action. We are advocates for education. We have a five-point program,” Jaden said. “That focuses on economical development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, political awareness and involvement and physical and mental health.”
The sorority’s name is taken from the words change, some, degree. And that’s exactly what the women did the first time they acted.
“Shortly after Jan. 13, the first act of service that they did was to participate in the Women’s Suffrage March of 1913. And they were literally the very last group to participate in the parade because there were many who didn’t want any black people in the parade. But, they were resolute and did participate,” Jaden said.
Jaden said some people are surprised at the level of the sorority’s commitment.
“We function at both the collegiate level as well as the alumni level and a lot of people would say Delta’s, ‘Oh yes, I was in a sorority when I was in college.’ But, what do you guys do now? Jaden said. “What we do now is we provide service to the community.
Providing service is just one of the three components the organization believes is important. The others are sisterhood and scholarship.
“We really do have a rich heritage and we’ve been blessed through the years. We have so many women here in the City of Pittsburgh that are dynamic leaders within their communities, within their companies, that we’re fortunate to have now or in the past as members of the organization,” Jaden said.
The sorority currently has about 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters here and in other countries.
Since its founding, more than 200,000 women have joined the organization.