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What You Didn’t Know About The Ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

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Michelle-Obama-flexing-muscle

Michele Obama is an Honorary AKA

By Marie Seva

The Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority, which was founded on Jan. 15, 1908 at Howard University in Washington D.C., is the pioneer in the establishment of a Greek-lettered sisterhood by African-American women in college.

Here are more facts about this notable sisterhood:

1. AKA has over 250,000 members. The organization has more than 900 chapters which are grouped into ten regions:  Far-Western, Mid-Western, South Central, Central, South Eastern, South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, North Atlantic, Great Lakes, and International.
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2. To obtain AKA membership, a particular grade point average and amount of community service must be fulfilled. ‘Pledge Week’ is dedicated to evaluate the grades and behavior of aspirants.  However, there are also honorary members. Some of the most famous honorary AKAs are Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama.  Hillary Clinton initially accepted the invitation, but later had to reject it because it required exclusivity, which would prevent her from accepting membership into other NPHC organizations.

3. In 1934, Ida Jackson, then-president of the organization, learned that teachers in a school in Lexington, Mississippi only finished the seventh grade.  She then created the “Summer School for Rural Teachers.” Trained there were 48 adults, 22 students ascribing to be teachers and 243 young students. She collected a total of 2600 books for its library, which paved the way for it to be the biggest library in Holmes County.
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4. AKA began the Mississippi Health Project, which was the first roving infirmary in the U.S., which aided some 15,000 people. It was marked for helping in the downturn of the incidences of smallpox and diphtheria in the region. AKA also created the NPC (National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights) and was the pioneer in holding full-time congressional campaigns for the civil rights of minorities. AKA also had the privilege of being the first sorority to be welcomed with an Observer Status and participate through speaking and voting at the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

5. In 1953, AKA hosted a fashion show called ‘Fashionetta’ in order to increase funding needed for various projects in the organization.

6. From 1968 to 1972, AKA released “The Heritage Series,” which were pamphlets that focused on the lives of accomplished African-American women and featured their various achievements and contributions in different fields like medicine, dentistry, politics, business and judiciary.

7. AKA was the first sorority to manage the Cleveland Job Corps in 1965. They received a $4,000,000 grant to fund the project where they provided job training for young women (16-21 years of age) who dropped out of school.  In 1976, the training was made open to young men as well.  They held the operation until 1995.
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8. In 1970, AKA contributed $20,000 for the improvement and preservation of the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., located in Atlanta, Georgia.

9. AKA’s efforts toward aiding education abounds. Sponsored by Daimler Chrysler, the sorority created ON TRACK (Organizing, Nurturing, Team Building, Respecting, Achieving, Counseling and Knowing) to help children in the 3rd grade who are struggling with their lessons in school.  They also have programs they conduct nationally such as the Young Authors Program, the PIMS (Partnerships in Mathematics and Science), and the Ivy Reading AKAdemy (with ideals focused on the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001).

10. AKA through its subsidiary, the Senior Residences, Incorporated is creating Ivy Acres. It is a retirement center that will be open to all, regardless of religion, ancestry or background. It is being developed at a 48-acre location in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and will have 188 residential units with assistance and nursing care.  Monthly fees for services will range from $1890 to $2890.