Nashville Alumnae Chapter of DST celebrates Centennial

NAC members in Washington, D.C (l-r) Valerie Smith, Keena Brown (treasurer) Janie Latten, Dr. Gloria Johnson (first vice-president), Norma Drake, Contessa Alexander, Rev. Olivia Cloud (president), Cathy Hunt and State Representative Brenda Gilmore.

Members of Delta Sigma Theta (DST) Sorority are celebrating their 100th anniversary with a series of events, including a Founders’ Day weekend scheduled for Jan. 11-13 in Washington D.C.

The Centennial celebration kicked off New Year’s Day when the sorority, founded in 1913 on the campus of Howard University, had a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., the site of the Rose Bowl. The Delta Float marks the first time a Black Greek organization has participated in the parade.

Other national activities included the carrying of the Delta Touch. On New Year’s Day, a 22-city tour of the Delta Torch, which symbolizes the “passion and commitment of the organization’s global reach,” began in Los Angeles, according to a spokesperson. The scheduled stops on the tour were Seattle, Dallas, Little Rock, Detroit, Atlanta, Charlotte, New York City and Baltimore. The tour ended in Washington D.C.

The torch tour culminated at DST’s 51st national convention in Washington, D.C., which is scheduled for July 11-17, when it is passed to national president, signifying the start of the convention.

“We honor our Founders and Past National Presidents as we bring the flame they ignited in us so many decades ago back to their cities and gladly carry the ever-burning torch of sisterhood, scholarship and service into the next 100 years,” said, Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre, the national president.

She said the stops represent jurisdictions that are “infused into the history of this organization. ”The torch will also visit international chapters in Japan and Bermuda. At each location, programs were held including historical reflections, music and acknowledgements from elected officials and other invited guests.

More than 50 members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nashville Alumnae Chapter attended their centennial Founders Day Weekend celebration. Olivia M. Cloud, President of Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta said that the trip was restoring, rejuvenating, fun, and truly a lifetime experience.

“The activities that had been planned for us reinforced the meaning of sisterhood,” said Cloud. “We had so many members there, which speaks to the significance of that day. And, the realization that from 22 very young women the organization has grown to 300,000 was awe inspiring.” She said Nashville Alumnae chapter is thriving with more than 500 active members, including Judge Rachel Bell, Senator Thelma Harper, and Representative Brenda Gilmore.

According to Cloud, on the 13th, right here in Middle Tennessee, hundreds of women joined in the celebration with a series of events dedicated to commemorate this historic occasion and reaffirm our continued commitment to community service. The event held in Nashville was hosted by the Nashville Alumnae Chapter.

“This event was held at historic Fisk University, said Cloud, “more than 200 members from Nashville and the surrounding area convened in the university’s chapel for a private ceremony followed by a sisterhood reception in Jubilee Hall.”

LaMonica Stewart, Ph.D., President, Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. said that she was pleased that over twenty of their organization were able to attend the national centennial celebration. “It is our goal to continue in the footsteps of our founders — to do even greater works in the area of public service within the Nashville community,” said Stewart.

“I had a wonderful time, my experience at Howard School as well as the whole weekend was a breathtaking experience,” said Karen A. Cooperwood, Social Action co-chair, Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter and member of the Regional Leadership Team.

Festivities for the 100th Founders Day Celebration in Washington included: Participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade and the “Delta Style” Hollywood Gala Founder’s Day Week End in Washington, D.C.; Delta in New York City! Sorority members gathered in Times Square for appearances on the TODAY Show and Good morning America; and a caravan to Washington; Howard University Day – Howard University is the birthplace of the Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; 22 Impact Projects- public service; Centennial Welcome Reception – DC Convention Center; Rededication Luncheon; Delta Centennial Honors Gala at the DC Convention Center; A Black Tie event; Ecumenical Service at the Verizon Center; and Founders Day Dinner.

The nearly 1,000 Delta chapters around the world will host a variety of local celebrations and observances. Local chapters of Delta Sigma Theta include four alumnae and six collegiate chapters. Collegiate chapters also will host events on their campuses—Fisk, Tennessee State, Vanderbilt, Belmont, MTSU and Austin Peay—and will join in with the alumnae chapter celebrations in Nashville, Murfreesboro and Clarksville.

The membership of Delta Sigma Theta is comprised of more than 300,000 college-educated women, most of African-American descent. The sisterhood was founded at historic Howard University in Washington, D.C. on January 13, 1913 by 22 young women committed to “sisterhood, scholarship and service.”