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50 Years/50 Collections: Alpha Kappa Alpha – Alpha Beta Omega Chapter Records, 1935-2008

A page from a 1943 AKA scrapbook with Marian Anderson, 1941.

The records of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority – Alpha Beta Omega Chapter (New Orleans, LA) at Amistad cover the rich history of the organization. The chapter was chartered in New Orleans in 1927. It became the thirtieth graduate chapter of the organization, and the very first Black Greek letter sorority in the state of Louisiana.

AKA leadership training handout, 1986

Alpha Kappa Alpha began on the campus of Howard University in 1908. Today, it boasts over 283,000 members in 992 chapters across the country and around the world. In correspondence from the Alpha Beta Omega chapter records, the AKA Executive Director tells new pledges that the group was founded in “Service to All Mankind.” Indeed, the organization is known nationally for its commitment to bettering social and economic conditions through community service with the implementation of an array of social programs, from the Mississippi Health Project of the 1930s to their signature ASCEND Youth Enrichment Program.

Children participating in Alpha Beta Omega chapter reading program, 1977

In 2005, former Alpha Kappa Alpha – Alpha Beta Omega Chapter president, Conchetta White Fulton, began donating material to the Amistad Research Center. She encouraged other members to do the same, and over the years the records at Amistad have grown. They document the chapter’s activities, as well as those of the sorority on the regional and national level. Materials date from circa 1935 to 2008, and include correspondence, programs, regional and national conference materials, photographs, certificates, membership rosters, constitutions and by-laws, minutes and agendas, financial records, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials.

September 1937 issue of The Ivy Leaf

There are several items of note within the records. One is an audio interview with Louise Metoyer Bouise, who was the graduate advisor for the Epsilon Tau chapter at Xavier University of Louisiana in the 1980s. Ms. Bouise was also one of the primary donors to the collection. Another interesting item is a scrapbook made in 1943 which includes photographs, clippings, and programs of AKA activities dating from 1935 onward. Membership intake correspondence also provides a unique insight into the inner workings of the sorority’s selection process. In addition to the records themselves, a run of the sorority’s national magazine, The Ivy Leaf, is also housed at Amistad in our library collection. The accession record for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Beta Omega chapter records can be found here.

Images from the Alpha Kappa Alpha – Alpha Beta Omega Chapter records and Amistad’s collections. Images from Amistad’s website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.

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