Founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha honored with historic marker

Founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha honored with historic marker
May 03
04:00 2018

HERTFORD, N.C. — Lillie Essie Burke and Beulah Elizabeth Burke, two of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s original nine founders, were commemorated with a historic marker in Hertford, N.C., on Saturday, April 14. 

On Jan. 15, the sorority celebrated its 110th anniversary.

A ceremony was held to commemorate and recognize the installation of a historical marker at Perquimans County High School, 305 S. Edenton Road Street, Hertford.

Dr. Norma Solomon White, 25th international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, served as the keynote speaker. The Honorable L. Todd Burke, resident Superior Court judge, Forsyth County, N.C., provided reflections from the Burke family. The marker is the third and fourth markers dedicated to the sorority’s founders.

In April 2017, Alpha Kappa Alpha dedicated a marker in Greensboro in honor of Founder Margaret Flagg Holmes, who was born in Greensboro. Additionally, there is a highway marker in Rocky Mount for Founder Anna Easter Brown, who contributed to the community as a teacher and civic leader for over 30 years.

Beulah Burke is credited with having created the name, motto and colors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She became a charter member and president of Beta Omega Chapter in Kansas City, Missouri, a charter member and president of Mu Omega Chapter in Kansas City, Kansas, and chartered the first three undergraduate chapters of the sorority that were established after incorporation. She is also the first African-American to earn a Master of Arts degree in home economics.

Lillie Burke and her sister Beulah enrolled in Howard University’s College of Liberal Arts at the same time. At the time of the formation of the sorority, Burke, like her sister, was an honor student, a Greek scholar and a senior. She is credited with having helped with the creation of the Alpha Kappa Alpha motto and was a charter member of Xi Omega Chapter, the first graduate chapter in the District of Columbia. Burke was an accomplished educator.

Joyce Henderson, mid-Atlantic regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Adriane James, Tidewater Cluster coordinator of Alpha Kappa Alpha, both participated in the ceremony.

Following the ceremonial commemoration of the marker, a reception was held.

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