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Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

Abstract

The common narrative about the African-American quest for social justice and civil rights during the 20th century consists, largely, of men and women working through

organizations to bring about change. The typical list of organizations includes, inter alia, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Urban League, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. African- American collegiate-based sororities are almost never included in this list. Nevertheless, at the turn of the 20th century, a small group of organizations founded on personal excellence sparked the development and sustaining of fictive-kinship ties and racial uplift. Given these organizations’ almost immediate creation of highly functioning alumni chapters in cities across the United States, members of these organizations could continue their work in actualizing their respective organizational ideals. One such organization, founded at Howard University in 1913, was Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. This Article explores the history of this sorority’s involvement in the African-American quest for social justice and racial equality in the United States and how that work was bound up in the sorority’s broader racial uplift engagement.

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