National Park Service, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority engage African American women, young girls in historic preservation

The National Park Service and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority have established a partnership to promote the study of natural and cultural resource preservation and management to African American women and other diverse groups.

WASHINGTON, D.C – The National Park Service (NPS) and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (Zeta) have established a national partnership that will provide new opportunities for African American women and young girls to experience national parks, historic sites and monuments as well as promote interest in historic preservation careers.

Recognizing the strength and potential in linking the two organizations, NPS Deputy Director David Vela and Zeta International Centennial President Valerie Hollingsworth Baker formalized the partnership during a signing ceremony at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on January 16, 2020, the 100th anniversary of the founding of Zeta Phi Beta.

“We are honored to celebrate this momentous partnership with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority on their centennial anniversary,” Vela said. “This partnership is not just about this day or this single celebration, but about every day that follows and the work that both of our organizations will put into this effort. The National Park Service is proud to join Zeta in this effort and will continue to build on our progress toward our shared goals as both of our organizations move into their second century of service.”

Zeta Phi Beta was founded on January 16, 1920 at Howard University and includes a membership of more than 125,000 college-educated, dynamic, community service-driven, diverse and professional women. Notable Zetas include Maggie L. Walker and Zora Neale Hurston.

“This signing commemorates the centennial celebration of Zeta Phi Beta and showcases our dedication to providing opportunities for African American women and young girls,” Hollingsworth-Baker said. “We are committed to celebrating the roles women have played in America and continue to create programs and training for women advancement. With the National Park Service providing access to experience parks, historic sites and monuments, we will make our communities better.”

Among the 419 national parks managed by NPS is Maggie L Walker National Historic Site in Richmond, Virginia, which preserves the home and tells the story of the esteemed Zeta. As bank president, newspaper editor and fraternal leader, Walker served as an inspiration of pride and progress. The site provides visitors the opportunity to learn about the legacy of Maggie Walker and her contribution to civil rights advancement, economic empowerment, and educational opportunities for Jim Crow-era African Americans and women.