The nation’s capital was a sea of pink and green as an estimated 20,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha converged upon Washington, D.C., in July to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country’s largest and oldest Black sorority. Founded on the campus of Howard University in 1908, and boasting 200,000 members and 975 chapters worldwide, it was estimated that the sorority’s convention pumped $100 million into the Washington economy.
During the convention, the sorority, known for its community service and its focus on education, also directed funds toward the country’s historically Black colleges and universities. Led by Dr. Juanita Sims Doty, the AKA’s South Eastern region, which includes chapters in the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, pledged $250,000 to the region’s 28 HBCUs; the region has already raised $150,000 of its pledge.
In addition to unveiling the Mattel AKA Barbie doll during the weeklong festivities, members attended seminars and forums focused on a variety of issues including, health, education, entrepreneurship and homeownership.
Toward the end of the convention, approximately 30,000 members of the nine Black sororities and fraternities including the AKAs marched to the Capitol from the headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women to draw attention to the need for better education, health care and employment, particularly for African-Americans.
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