This morning, Friday, July 12, 2013, at 6:45 a.m., Delta Sigma Thetas and their friends and families began gathering in front of the Lincoln Memorial for a 5K Centennial Walk and Health Fair. Sponsored by the Delta Research and Educational Foundation. the event included U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin as the Walk’s grand marshal. Fitness classes and challenges as well as health screenings were available until 11 a.m. It was but one of the many events that are part of the organization’s 51st convention. Washington, D.C. will, no doubt, be awash in crimson and cream, the sorority’s colors, until July 17 when the convention festivities conclude.
For the Deltas, the convention will be the culmination of a joyous seven months. The festivities kicked off on New Year’s Day. A float in the Tournament of Roses parade highlighted the organization’s centennial. The 55-foot long float had as its theme “Transforming Communities through Sisterhood & Service.” The Executive Committee and seven past National Presidents rode on the float. One hundred Deltas in crimson and cream flanked the float and marched the route accompanied by additional 22 marchers, symbolizing the founders. Delta Sigma Theta was the first African-American women’s organization as well as the first black Greek-letter organization to enter a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade.
That weekend, an Olympic-style torch was lit in Los Angeles. In the seven intervening months, the torch has traveled to 22 cities as well as Toyko and Bermuda. This week, the torch will be handed to National President, Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre, to symbolize the start of the convention.
Delta Sigma Theta was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on January 13, 1913. The Deltas were in Washington, D.C. earlier this year to celebrate Founders’ Day Weekend in January and in March for the 24th Annual Delta Days. In January, the festivities included a side trip to a media day event in New York City; 18 buses of Deltas left D.C. at 1 a.m. in order to get to New York City before the sunrise. There they met up with members from the metro New York area to form a group of 2,000 Deltas. They were a crimson and cream presence at all the morning television shows. Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared it Delta Day in New York City. Once back in D.C., the Deltas made a pilgrimage to Howard University for the Howard Walk and then took part in 22 impact projects to honor the 22 founders.
In March, to mark its 100th birthday, the group retraced the founders’ footsteps as it recreated the role the organization played in the 1913 suffrage parade. Delta Sigma Theta was the only African-American organization to march in that historic 1913 parade and it was one of the first things the founders did as an organization.
Another highlight of the 2013 convention festivities will be a Black Women’s Heritage Tour. Participants will visit sites associated with notable Black women, including the statue of Mary McLeod Bethune, noted educator and Delta member. Other sites to be visited are installations by sculptor Elizabeth Catlett, a building named in honor of Mary Church Terrell, and the last residence of Delta founder Eliza P. Shippen.
Best wishes to Delta Sigma Theta as it celebrates its centennial convention! I am certain the convention will be replete with memories to last a lifetime.
For the post that appeared on Delta Sigma Theta’s centennial, please visit, http://wp.me/p20I1i-vY
(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2013. All Rights Reserved.