New York Alumnae Chapter – The First Graduate Chapter: 100 Years of Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service


“Honoring our Past, Celebrating our Present, Envisioning our Future”

Submitted by Monique Jackson-Dickens


Pictured from Left to Right:
Florence Dykes assisted in the process of chartering Alpha Beta after serving as an Instructor at Howard University.
Frances Gunner served as Alpha Beta Chapter President 1924, chartered Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter in 1949.
Laila Lane served as Alpha Sigma Chapter President in 1930, Chairwoman of Delta’s Vigilance Committee (now Social Action).
Annie McCarey served as Alpha Beta Chapter Treasurer in 1925-1926

In the 1920s, the Women’s Suffrage Movement led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the Great Migration led to the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem was the right location to continue the social activism implemented by the 22 collegiate illustrious Founders who began at Howard University. Four dynamic Howard graduates – here in the midst of the Harlem Renaissance led the way and chartered Alpha Beta, the first alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. 

The first members to join the graduate chapter on February 16, 1921 were: May Chinn, Evelyn Adams, Eslanda Goode, and Florence D. Willis Bohannon. The charter members stated to the new members “we hope to adopt a program of literary and intellectual development which will make the Sorority a factor in New York life” (1921 Delta Journal)…and that it did.

The chapter is proud that have hosted three National Conventions. Alpha Sigma (the chapter’s second name) hosted two National conventions with Beta and Rho Chapters: the sixth at the Harlem YWCA in 1924, and the 15th at St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem in 1924.  New York Alumnae Chapter (NYAC) hosted the 23rd at Hotel Roosevelt in New York City in 1954. The first time a black organization met in a major downtown hotel. 


NYAC Notable Members

During the past 100 years, the chapter has addressed the service needs of the community through the sorority’s initiatives.

International Awareness and Involvement

The chapter has worked on International programs including the Thika Hospital Maternity Wing in Kenya and HIV/AIDS Awareness programs for the community.

Physical and Mental Health

The Greater Harlem Nursing Home is the longest program of service — 45 years.  The only nursing home in the Harlem community, it was adopted as a local project.

Political Awareness and Involvement – The chapter has presented political forums, increased registered voters and a U. S. Census Partner.

Arts & Letters-NYAC is located in the heart of New York City, Broadway is home to a thriving arts community.  Concerts, art exhibits and tributes to performers in various art genres were presented through Arts and Letters and May Week Programs.

As New York Alumnae Chapter moves forward into the next 100 years of sisterhood, scholarship and service, we will continue to serve the community to address the needs in our society.

Content gathered by NYAC Heritage and Archives Committee. Please visit www.dstnyac.org for the chapter’s centennial updates.


“Honoring our Past, Celebrating our Present, Envisioning our Future” Submitted by Monique Jackson-Dickens In the 1920s, the Women’s Suffrage Movement led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the Great Migration led to the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem was the right location to continue the social activism implemented by the 22 collegiate illustrious Founders who began …

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