First black sorority turns 100

July 14, 2008 at 10:44 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- Thousands of members of the nation's first black sorority gathered in Washington Monday for a weeklong convention marking the group's 100th anniversary.

The centennial meeting has attracted nearly 25,000 "sisters" from 975 chapters around the world, The Washington Post reports.

Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington by an undergraduate named Ethel Hedgeman Lyle who started it as a social and service organization.

Today the sorority has more than 200,000 members with civil rights leaders, judges, doctors, lawyers and educators among its ranks.

Famous members include civil rights activists Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, actresses Phylicia Rashad and Jada Pinkett, and singer Alicia Keys.

Among the events planned this week are a bevy of receptions, teas and parties as well as discussions of the sorority's future.

For those in a shopping mood, the exhibition hall at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center features everything Alpha Kappa Alpha from pink and green stationary to diamond and gold jewelry.

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