Chapter History

The Des Moines Alumnae Chapter
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After Delta Chapter was established at the University of Iowa in 1919, the Grand Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta convened to explore the increase in the number of African American women attending colleges and universities. The decision was made to establish an additional chapter of the sorority in the state of Iowa and specifically Des Moines.

Adah Hyde Johnson, a charter member of Delta Chapter, was asked by Grand National President Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander to identify women who would be interested in forming a chapter in Des Moines. The National President directed Grand Recording Secretary, Soror Edna Morris, a student at Wilberforce University, to begin the organization of the chapter.

Phi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on December 29, 1923 at Drake University as a mixed chapter with both graduate and undergraduate members.

The charter members of Phi Chapter were:

    Adah Hyde Johnson
    Lillian F. Jacobs
    Mary E. Wood
    Enola Thompson
    Viola P. Jones
    Ethel M. Bowmer
    Lillian Edmunds
    Atty. Gertrude Rush (Honorary Member)

The Grand Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority grew and some changes were made, including one in the late 1950’s that called for the renaming of all alumnae chapters to the name of its city location, if there was only one chapter in the city. In the 1970’s, the Grand Chapter eliminated all mixed chapters, those with both graduate and undergraduate members. This change affected three mixed chapters in the Central Region; Phi Chapter included. Only July 1, 1981, the Collegiate Phi Chapter was chartered and the Des Moines Alumnae Chapter took its new name in the 1980 – 1981 year.

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