In 1953, plans for organizing a local graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated in Elizabeth City, North Carolina were begun by Evelyn Johnson, Mamie Williams, and Alma Newby. These women were inspired by their love for the sorority and the need to share its principals of service to the larger local community. However, during that same period, it was determined that the time was right for the formation of an undergraduate chapter on the campus of Elizabeth City State Teachers’ College, known today as Elizabeth City State University. So, the plans for the graduate chapter were put on hold. After months of strategic planning between college officials and sorors, approval for the undergraduate chapter upon the recommendation of College President S. D. Williams, was granted by the Board of Trustees in 1953. The chartering of Delta Theta Chapter, the first undergraduate chapter to be chartered in the Mid-Atlantic Region became a reality on February 20, 1954 on Elizabeth City State’s Campus. Alma Newby served as the first undergraduate advisor. With the task of organizing an undergraduate chapter accomplished, plans could begin again for the chartering of a graduate chapter in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. These plans were realized in February, 1955 with the chartering of Zeta Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Regional Director for the Mid-Atlantic Region, Grace Pleasants of Richmond, Virginia conducted the chartering ceremony. The charter members were *Annie Gilmer, *Emma Louise Harris, *Irene Jackson, *Evelyn A. Johnson, *Constance Norman Jones, *Alma Newby, *Audrey M. Prather, *Cornelia Sharpe, *Betty Tillery, Mary Tillery, *Marguerite White, and *Mamie Williams, who served as the first President. Betty and Mary Tillery were graduate sorors who had transferred upon graduation from Delta Theta Chapter on the campus of Elizabeth City State University.
In order to increase the membership, new members were soon added. Among the first to join Zeta Kappa Omega Chapter were Estelle Eaton, *Virginia Robinson, *Clara G. Jones, *Von Beulah Spruill Jordan, and *Dorothy Elliott Thomas. The second group included Evelyn McFadden, Georgia Morgan,*Odessa Pendergrass, *Dorothy Robinson, *Elessie Roach, Macile Trafton, and *Julia Towe. Through the years, many more college trained, talented, civic minded women have become members and they have collectively and individually rendered outstanding service to all mankind at the local, state, and national levels under the capable leadership of the following women who have served as President: *Mamie Williams (1955-57), *Estelle Eaton (1958-59), *Von B. Jordan (1960-61), *Evelyn Johnson (1962-63), *Dorethea Jenkins (1964), *Alma Newby (1965), *Emma Louise Harris (1966-69), *Dorothy Robinson (1970-71), Carol Jones (1972-73), *Dorothy Thomas (1974-75), Edith Cole (1976-77), *Emma Louise Harris (1978), Joyce Nowell (1979-80), Rwanda Farrer (1981-82), Sandra Davis (1983-84), Helene Taylor (1985-86), *Emma Louise Harris (1987-89), Clydie Spence (1990-94), *Ruth Cooper (1995-98), Myrtle Johnson (1999-2002), Delphine Walton (2003-2004), *Linda Grimes (2005-2006), Virginia Houston (2007-2010), Lenora Mackey (2011-2012) and Myrtle Johnson (2013-).
During the past sixty-one years, Zeta Kappa Omega Chapter has successfully implemented and or supported many programs, projects, and activities that have enhanced the educational, social and cultural lives of citizens in Elizabeth City and surrounding communities beginning with the tenure of Soror Mamie Williams. Some of the earlier programs included Adopt-a-Family, Clothes, Shoe, and Milk Bank, Fuel and Rent Fund for the needy and sponsorship of an art exhibit featuring art pieces produced by students from schools in the Albemarle area of North Carolina. Zeta Kappa Omega sorors have continued to expand on these programs along with initiating other programs for the service of all mankind.
The chapter’s signature community program is the sponsorship of the Debutante Ball which Zeta Kappa Omega and Delta Theta chapters have sponsored for fifty-two years. The Debutante Ball was the brainchild of Doretha Jenkins and the first ball was held in November, 1963. When the Debutante Ball was first initiated, it was sometimes difficult for young ladies to get the financial support that was needed for them to obtain a college education. Zeta Kappa Omega understood this need and developed a venue to address it. During the months preceding the ball, the young ladies participate in several cultural, civic, community service and social workshops and programs that are designed to broaden their experiences. The Debutante Ball allows Zeta Kappa Omega and Delta Theta chapters along with community support to provide scholarships to talented young ladies following their senior year of high school.
Other programs and projects that the chapter has provided support include: Salvation Army (Bell Ringing) during the Christmas season, volunteers for HOST and other tutoring programs, can food drives for Albemarle Food Bank, Adopt- a- Family to provide food and clothing for needy families during Thanksgiving and Christmas, school supplies for students in local schools, partnership with Elizabeth City State University to support the MSEN Program, and an annual scholarship for an undergraduate soror at Elizabeth City State University. During 2013, Zeta Kappa Omega conducted a very successful Relay for Life campaign raising more than $7,000.00 for cancer support and research, a record amount for the chapter and placing the chapter in third place in money raised by other organizations in Elizabeth City and the Albemarle area.
In addition to supporting local community programs, Zeta Kappa Omega has always been diligently involved in implementing the Programs/Initiatives of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the Mid-Atlantic Region. Chapter support of the Educational Advancement Fund; (the chapter has won several awards for support of EAF) is an example of this commitment. Most recently, the focus has been on program initiatives that support Global leadership through timeless service. These community service projects include a successful EYL program, Pink Goes Red for a Day, Pink Power Sunday, Stop Hunger Now, the adoption of Garden of Hope Homeless Shelter for Women, the Angel Tree project, Relay for Life, voter registration drive, and a joint venture with River City Development to promote entrepreneurship.
Our current focus is on Launching New Dimensions of Service. The 2014-2018 International Program will focus on Launching New Dimensions of Service℠. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, through its 265,000 members and 986 chapters, will have an opportunity to address community needs with programs in five target areas:
The tradition of service and social action continues to characterize Zeta Kappa Omega Chapter, and it is because of the present leadership and membership that the chapter, with Soror Myrtle Johnson serving as President, is continuing to write the pages of history to carry on the proud legacy of service envisioned by the Founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the charter members of Zeta Kappa Omega Chapter. The Founders’ Day celebration each year is a solemn reminder to the chapter members’ vow to keep the Alpha Kappa Alpha torch burning bright.
|* Mamie Williams, President||* Bettye Tillery|
|* Louise Harris||* Constance Norman Jones|
|* Marguerite White||** Evelyn Johnson|
|* Audrey Prathers||* Alma Newby|
|* Cornelia Sharpe||** Mary Tillery|
|* Irene Jackson||* Annie Gilmer|
** Not Shown/Deceased