EPSILON OMEGA CHAPTER HISTORY
December 2, 1921 marks the beginning of an organization whose program has provided an on-going, ever-rewarded experience in the lives of the women who fostered it. This date marks a significant epoch in the life of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the date on which the first graduate chapter of the North Atlantic Region, Epsilon Omega Chapter, was organized. The Chapter was organized as Sigma Chapter, but a few weeks later was renamed Epsilon Omega in accordance with a rule adopted at the 1921 Boule' in Indianapolis, Indiana. A small body of 11 women (charter members) started the work of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Baltimore led by Soror Vivian Carter Mason who had been elected the first president of the chapter. The initiation took place at the residence of Soror Vivian Cook on the first Friday in December 1921. Soror Nellie M. Quander, Eastern Organizer, and Soror Evelyn Lightner, Basileus of Alpha Chapter, performed the initiation ceremonies.
By the end of her initial year of operation, Epsilon Omega gave her first scholarship; the first to be awarded to a high school student by a "Greek Letter" organization in the city of Baltimore. The first recipient was Enolia (Pettigew) McMillian, who later became the first Female National President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The scholarship program continues to be an important aspect of the Chapter's program. Since 1922, over 200 scholarships have been awarded to deserving high school students.
From her earliest years, Epsilon Omega believed in service to her community. The Concert Series was established to bring to the community outstanding cultural programs at reasonable rates, to promote and encourage young artists and to raise funds for scholarships and projects. It has been said that the Concert Series served as a cultural light for the city of Baltimore during the dark war years when community activities were extremely limited.
Many fine women led Epsilon Omega over the years, including one who served
as National President. As a fitting tribute for years of service to Epsilon Omega
Chapter and the national organization, Soror Edna O. Campbell was elected
Supreme Basileus at the Boule' in Los Angeles in the Summer of 1946, and was
re-elected in Cleveland in 1947. Soror Edna Over Campbell had the unusual
distinction of holding office as a chapter basileus on two separate occasions as
well as serving the Boule'as North Atlantic Regional Director, Anti-Tamiouchos
and Supreme Grammateus (1937-1939 and again in 1944-46). Soror Campbell's term as Supreme Basileus will be be remembered for the establishment of a full-time administrative secretary in the National Office in Chicago and the beginning of the American Council on Human Rights (ACHR). She was the president of the Board of Directors of ACHR from 1848 to 1951.
The Boule' again convened in the North Atlantic Region in December 1951 and Epsilon Omegaacted as hostess. Sessions were held on the campus of Morgan State College where more than 600 delegates engaged in a variety of activities planned around the theme, "Making Democracy Work at Home and Abroad".
In 1954, the Chapter felt the need to turn its thoughts inward and initiated a new activity to develop closer relationships within the Chapter. "Sisterly Yours Groups" were introduced and many new, close, and lasting ties among the Sorors developed.
During the turbulent 1960s, Epsilon Omega Sorors continued to be fruitful with ideas and activities to support social change and justice. A Freedom Ball was held with the funds from the affair being allocated to causes of freedom such as sit-in demonstrations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Sorors also worked with and received recognition attained from the NAACP for its Get-Out-the-Vote effort.
In its 50th year of existence, Epsilon Omega found itself more involved with total involvement nationally, regionally, and locally. Proudly through the efforts of Soror Flossie Dedmond, the Chapter made a contribution to the North Atlantic Regional Conference of 1971. The following recommendation was made:
"We recommend that any deceased soror, who until conditions over which she has not control intervened, was financial and dutiful to the chapter and its agreements, be entitled to the traditional service accorded an Ivy Beyond the Wall, and to any other appropriate services."
During her 6th decade, Epsilon Omega had much to be proud of with the election of Soror Idell S. Pugh as Regional Director of the North Atlantic Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In May 1989, the Pediatric AIDS program was initiated at the University of Maryland Hospital, and in June, the first AKA Cribs Baby Shower was held at the YWCA's Emergency Shelter for Children. The Chapter hosted its first Card Party as a scholarship fundraiser.
As the Chapter moved into the 1990s, it also found its permanent home. The Epsilon Omega Foundation was formed and secured the property at 3515 Dolfield Avenue. At this site, the Ivy Family Support Center was built and Epsilon Omega had a place to continue Her work for the community. From the EOTEP (Epsilon Omega Tutoring and Eating Together Program) for Senior Citizens, the Center is used not only by sorors but also by and for the community as a whole. Epsilon Omega continues to honor Her past as She embraces Her future with sisterly love.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC in 1908. AKA is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-trained women in the United States. The sorority's influence extends beyond the college campus and has a legacy of service that deepens, rather than ends, with college graduation. The goals of Alpha Kappa Alpha program activities center on significant issues in families, communities, government halls and world assembly chambers. The sorority's efforts constitute a priceless part of the global experience in the 21st century.
The founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha - Original Group: Anna Easter Brown, Beulah Burke, Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Slowe and Marie Woolfolk Taylor. Led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, the nine (9) Howard University students who came together to form Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority were the scholastic leaders of their classes. Each also had a special talent or gift that further enhanced the potential of this dynamic group. The Sophomores: Norma Boyd, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Alice Murray, Sarah Meriweather Nutter, Joanna Berry Shields, Carrie Snowden and Harriet Terry.