The History Of The Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
The Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta was conceptualized in the fall of 1968. Several potential Charter Members met on a regular basis in the summer and fall of 1968, with the dream of initiating a local graduate chapter. Finally, after several months of meetings, the dream was realized. On November 17, 1968, Grand Rapids members of Delta Sigma Theta held their Charter installation ceremony. The ceremony was performed by our 18th National President, Hortense G. Canady. At the time, Mrs. Hortense Canady was the Midwest Regional Director. She and other members of the Lansing Alumnae Chapter as well as the members of the Detroit Alumnae Chapter attended the installation ceremony. The Charter ceremony was followed by a buffet dinner at the Charcoal Room at the Pantlind Hotel, now the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
In November of 1993, the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter celebrated its twenty-fifth year Silver Anniversary. This celebration was again held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Past National President Hortense G. Canady was the featured speaker and leader of the procession. Almost all the living charter members and the Regional Director, Sharon Chapman, were present for this exciting and memorable occasion.
There were thirteen local Deltas that chartered the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter. Local chartering officers were: President, Marilyn Eaddy (deceased), Vice President, Betty Burton, Recording Secretary, Dr. Patricia Pulliam, Corresponding Secretary, Tempy Hoskins, and Treasurer, Jennie Baker. Additional chartering members included: Diane Garnett, Mildred Griffin (deceased), Jana Jackson, Helen Johnson, Callie Plummer (deceased), Ruth Scott (deceased), Yvonne Sims, and Bernice Whitley.
Then as is true now, the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter was dedicated to the Five Point Program Thrust. There are many public service projects that incorporated the Five Point Program Thrust such as: Academic Pentathlons, Advising Collegiate Chapters, African American Male Forum, The Status of African American Women's Survey, Breast Cancer Awareness Project, Chartering Lambda Pi, Sigma Beta and Tau Psi Collegiate Chapters, Christmas Toy Giveaways, Cotillion-Beautillion, Delta Days in the Nations and State Capitols, The Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy, Delteens - now known as Delta GEMS (Growing, and Empowering Myself Successfully), Field to Factory Traveling Exhibit, Health Fairs, HIV/AIDS Speaker's Bureau, Habitat for Humanity, Jabberwock, Jazz Brunches, Scholarships, Teen Mom Mentoring, Thanksgiving Basket Giveaways, and Women's History and legacy celebrations.
Over the years, the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has received many awards: The Ta-Wa-Si Community Service Award-1988, The Giant's Award, Ray Tardy Community Service-1993, the J.C. Penny Golden Rule Award-1996, and the National Delta Sigma Theta Outstanding Program Award-1996 and the United Way Healthy Kent Award 2002, Chapter of the Year for the State of Michigan-2004, Regional Social Action Award-2005, Chapter Legacy of Sisterhood for the State of Michigan-2006.
In addition to the local and national awards, the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter has written grants and received monies from those efforts. The funding sources included: The Frey Foundation, The Grand Rapids Foundation, The Kent County Health Department, The Michigan Arts Council, The Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, the Nokomis Foundation, and The Steelcase Foundation.
The history of Delta Sigma Theta is rich in tradition and community involvement, The Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter has always echoed these high standards. It is further hoped that the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will far surpass the ideals and dreams of the local charter members and the founders, who founded the first chapter in 1913 at Howard University in Washington, D.C.