Alpha Kappa Alpha is the oldest Greek-letter organization established in America by Black college women. The record of its origin, growth and development, activities, evolving goals and accomplishments is more than an interesting chronicle of a colorful bit of college-based Americana. It is, rather, a significant and inspiring reflection of the development of a minority group in a changing culture.
In 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority became the first Greek-letter organization established by and for Black women.
Her roots date back to Howard University, Washington, DC, where the idea for formation was conceived by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle of St. Louis, Missouri. She viewed the Sorority as an instrument for enriching the social and intellectual aspects of college life by providing mental stimulation through interaction with friends and associates.
Through the years, how Alpha Kappa Alpha functions has become more complex. After her incorporation as a perpetual body in 1913, Alpha Kappa Alpha gradually branched out and became the channel through which selected college-trained women improved the social and economic conditions in their city, state, nation and the world.
Today, that tradition has continued--internationally, nationally and locally. Alpha Kappa Alpha cultivates and encourages high scholastic and ethical standards; promotes unity and friendship among college women; alleviates problems concerning girls and women; maintains a progressive interest in college life; and serves all mankind through a nucleus of more than 140,000 women in over 860 chapters.