It shall be the duty of the Chapter’s Heritage and Archives Committee to provide an organized method of research, analyzation and categorization of the historical data of the Chapter.
History – Taken from the 50th Anniversary Member’s Only Book
Saginaw Alumnae Chapter History
As we review the last fifty years or half a century, there is not any disagreement that the beginning of the Saginaw Alumnae Chapter began with the tenacious attentions of Soror Jane McGhee. Soror McGhee contacted the national office to find out what the requirements were for a graduate chapter to be established. She contacted area sorors to acquire the twelve members needed to start a chapter and she pursued those local sorors she knew to become actively involved in initiating a new alumnae chapter.
When it appeared to Soror McGhee that she would have to be more persistent, she sent a tearjerker of a letter. She reminded her sorors that they were Delta women and had a responsibility to the twenty-two founders, national officers, the country, the state, the community, their families, God and themselves to get a chapter started. She reminded them that they could not be released from their commitment to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. After receiving that letter there was a tearful meeting that marked the beginning of a long process that culminated in the chartering of the Saginaw Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on October 28, 1967.
On October 28, 1967, twelve intelligent, dynamic and energetic women who were already members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., came together to form the Saginaw Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Those chapter members were Petti Greene, Bettye Greene, Marise Tabor Hadden, Leomia Kathryn Holt (the chapter’s first president), Shirley Lowery, Jane McGhee, Lillian Ollie, Thelma Kirkland Poston, Odahlia Ledford Rance, Lizzie Dillard Robinson, Barbara Walker and Sandra Wilson.
The chapter was chartered by Soror Nona Ross, Midwest Regional Director from Chicago, Illinois and some visiting sorors from the Flint Alumnae Chapter. Four of the charter members were inactive but the other eight members set out to establish Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Saginaw Alumnae Chapter as a viable organization in the Saginaw community. The eight members were spread across the Tri-cities – Midland, Bay and Saginaw counties.
In the first year of operation, sorors sponsored a dinner-dance around Valentine’s Day and called it the Sweetheart Ball. This is the longest on-going project that supports the sorority’s scholarship fund. In the early days, sorors struggled to raise the $250.00 that would be distributed as scholarship funds across two semesters. Soror Earnestine Mack Clark (now deceased) brought the idea of a Delta Doll program to the chapter in the 1970’s. This program involved young girls from 6 to 12 years old in a talent presentation and a doll coronation. This was a very successful scholarship fundraiser.
The Golf Tournament is another on-going fundraiser for the scholarship fund. During our Chapter’s 40thAnniversary, the tournament was renamed “The Thelma Post Golf Classic”. The chapter bestowed this honor upon Soror Poston for her many years of service and her ability to financially leverage businesses in the Saginaw community to contribute to the tournament. Currently, this is one of our signature fundraisers.
The chapter is currently giving $6,000.00 in scholarships and book awards each year with a goal to increase that amount. The chapter has named its scholarships in honor of these members: Ernestine Mack Clark, Thelma Kirkland Poston, Odahlia Ledford Rance, and Lizzie Dillard Robinson.
Soon after chartering, two young collegiate sorors moved to the Saginaw area and decided to look over the chapter before joining. After attending a few meetings, these two sorors joined the chapter. Soror Sylvia McAfee, who serves as our current chapter president and Soror Delores Wilson, who regretfully relocated to the state of Mississippi and is a member of the Greenfield Alumnae Chapter in Greenfield, Mississippi. Soror Agatha Marsh was the first initiate and Soror Louberta Weathersby was the second. Since that time, many sorors have come and gone and there are currently fifty-nine members. In addition to reclaiming sorors, the chapter has inducted nearly one hundred members into this glorious sisterhood. Several of those inductees are now deceased and include: Soror Agatha Marsh, first inductee in 1969; Soror Anita Evans Jones who was one of eleven inductees in 1983; Soror Josephine Lowery who was one of twelve inductees in 1995; Soror Louberta Weathersby who was the second inductee; Ernestine Mack Clark, Delores Auzanne, Pat Howard, Meaudlea Norris and charter members Bettye Greene and Thelma Kirkland Poston.
The Delta Sprite Youth Group was started in the1979/80 fiscal year by Sorors Doris Brown, Rhonda Farrell Butler, Daphne Gibson and Lizzie Robinson. The first youth group president was Charmine Brown, the daughter of Soror Doris Brown. The current name of the group is Del Sprite Youth Group. The high school members are required to perform monthly public service projects, participate in monthly business meetings and Rites of Passage. The Del Sprite Annual Ball is their signature fundraiser and during this fiscal year, Sorors Shalanda Eillison, Karen Lawrence-Webster and Fontella Smith brought the first youth symposium to the Saginaw County. The Del Sprites held educational breakout sessions for area youth and concluded the event with a day party. The Del Sprite Youth Group will celebrate its 50thanniversary in 2019/2020 fiscal year.
In 1997, Saginaw Alumnae Chapter petitioned the State of Michigan to provide Delta license plates. This effort caught on and sorors continue to register for the vanity plate.
Other chapters have grown out of the Saginaw Alumnae Chapter. In 1984, members of the Midland, Michigan community felt a need to more directly impact their community so they chartered the Midland Alumnae Chapter. After several attempts to organize a collegiate chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Rho Mu Chapter at Saginaw Valley State University was chartered in February 1992. One of their charter members Soror DeAnna Freeman (Burton) is an active member of the Saginaw Alumnae Chapter. Rho Mu now consists of collegiate sorors from Saginaw Valley State University and Northwood University. The Saginaw Alumnae Chapter continues to serve as Rho Mu’s primary advisory chapter. Alumnae advisors have included sorors Patricia Scott Mason, Sandra Parker, Vivian Keys Brown and Ava Lewis. The current alumnae advisory team includes sorors Rhonda Farrell Butler as primary advisor, Tacarra Ford and Gwendolyn Bowman. Rho Mu is the second collegiate chapter that Saginaw Alumnae has had close ties with. Also, for many years the Saginaw Alumnae Chapter served as advisor, sponsor and provider of financial workshops to Central Michigan University’s Theta Theta chapter. The Saginaw Alumnae Chapter was responsible for many workshops to help Theta Theta complete the necessary records needed to remain solvent. Sorors Delores Auzenne, Daphne May Gibson and Staci Ferguson served as advisors for many years. Sharonda Hodges, Rhonda Farrell Butler, Gwendolyn Bowman also followed as alumnae advisors. Current advisors include Daphne May Gibson, primary advisor, Felicia Peters, Gwendolyn Bowman and Rhonda Farrell Butler.
In 1997, the chapter partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a house. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Saginaw Alumnae Chapter was the first to sponsor an “All women built home” in the State of Michigan. The home is located on Center Road near Gratiot in Saginaw Township. The sorors and other family members volunteered on other homes built in the community.
During the past decade numerous changes have directed the focus of Saginaw Alumnae Chapter: Political and Social Action; Scholarship; Sisterhood and Power Play; community forums focused on national, state and local political issues; the 40thanniversary recognition of forty local educators as “Legends in Education”; Fit Fun Dollars for Scholars; Senior Citizen’s Christmas Activity; voter registration and education; Science and Everyday Experiences (SEE); Go Red especially in community churches to highlight healthy heart activities; Pillow Case dresses which provided clothing for children in Africa and Haiti; Goats for Grannies that provided funds for African grandmothers raising orphaned children and highlighted our international awareness efforts; READing initiative to help with the Third Grade literacy initiative in partnership with First Ward as a result of our DTEC (Delta Teacher Efficacy Campaign) town hall meeting that was held at the 2016 Saginaw African Cultural Festival; Dance Collage in partnership with the Links of the tri-counties; and Stay at Home Tea to encourage African American women to run for public office or become appointed to a board or commission.
Through the listed initiatives and possibly more, collaborative alliances have developed with many community organizations that include: NAACP, Black Nurses Association, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Pulse 3, Health Fair and Zeta Phi Beta, community churches with the Read-In Chain, and Gospel Praise Brunch. While we have Delta Days at the Nation’s Capitol and at the State’s Capitol, Soror Karen Lawrence-Webster initiated Delta Days at the High (Saginaw High School) which is our local effort to provide a civic lesson to our high school students (expanded to Arthur Hill and Bridgeport).
Sorors Michele Pierce, Felicia Peters, Tiffany Collins, Daphne May-Gibson, Fontella Smith and DeAnna Burton brought us into the 21stcentury by creating a website.
We renewed our efforts to encourage African American women to run for public office and obtain appointments to boards and commissions by establishing Saginaw Sorority Sisters. Soror Karen Lawrence-Webster and Alpha Kappa Alpha member Lisa Coney, co-founded the organization. Three representatives from each of the Devine Nine sororities are represented during monthly meetings.
We would like to congratulate the Saginaw Legacy Foundation 501(c)3 organization on their 2018 non-profit status. The chapter looks forward to its partnership with the foundation in order to maximize scholarship funding. The founding members are Sorors Georgia Barkley, Rhonda Farrell Butler, Karen Lawrence-Webster, Felicia Peters and Brenda Vinson. The organization received its 501(c)3 status under the following leadership: Soror Brenda Vinson (president); Soror Karen Lawrence-Webster (treasurer); Felicia Peters (secretary); Sorors Georgia Barkley, Rhonda Farrell Butler, Lisa Ingram and Dana McKenzie-Simmons (members).
Each alliance with programs and agencies aims to promote at least one of our five-point programmatic thrusts: economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, political awareness and involvement on a local, state, national and/or international level. We are excited to continue our aligned national and state public service as we strengthen the sisterhood.
LINES CROSSED THROUGH SAGINAW ALUMNAE CHAPTER
1stLine (lst Initiate)
April 18, 1975
Vivian Keys Brown (6/7/1975)
Classic Enoble Nine
May 31, 1980
Gwendolyn White Bowman
May 14, 1983
Anita Evans Jones
Magnetic Heavenly Eleven
November 12, 1988
Sweeter By The Dozen
April 1, 1995
Eleven Disciples of Distinction
March 27, 1999
E Pluribus Unum
April 29, 2002
April 13, 2006
14 SACred Queens
April 22, 2017
Tonyale Woods Clark
|Leomia Kathryn Holt||1967-1968|
|Jane V. McGhee||1968-1970|
|Gwen White Bowman||1989-1991|
|Stella Y. Johnson||2010-2012|
|Felicia L. Peters||2012-2014|