Shani K. Collins Congratulates the Deltas on Celebrating 100 Years


by Shani K. Collins

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is one of the nation’s oldest and largest predominately African-American sororities.  In 1913, twenty-two college-educated female visionaries founded the organization on the campus of Howard University.  Today, the organization proudly boasts more than 200,000 members who are committed to using their collective strength to promote academic excellence; to provide scholarships; to provide support to the underserved; to educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy; and to highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in their communities.  This year, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated celebrates its Centennial year with wonderful events and activities that will take place throughout the world.  As a proud member of the organization, and an active member of the Birmingham Alumnae Chapter, I am more than proud to celebrate Centennial year with my sisters, my “sorors” throughout the world.

We live in a society where the personal values of African-American women are constantly called into question.  Music videos, bias media images, and reality television shows perpetuate negative stereotypes and demeaning images of black women and “sisterhood” to the world.  Often times, the positive work that is being carried out within our communities by women of Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, as well as by other women who are not members of Greek-letter organizations is diminished because of the media’s negative portrayal of African-American women.  Despite efforts to diminish the image of African-American women, I am proud to know that women from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and other Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) across the world remain committed to letting their faith, their intelligence, and their passion and desire to serve the communities around them speak for them.

I love, admire, and respect my organization, and the women of Delta for so many reasons.  Growing up, I always admired the Delta women within my church and hometown of Greenwood, Mississippi.  As a teen, I did not know much about the organization, but I knew that many of my hometown’s educators and leaders were Deltas.  My older sister, Kanika and I were both Delta Debutantes in high school, and were able to meet and work directly with the women of the Greenwood-Itta Bena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.  As a debutante, I enjoyed the experience of meeting other young ladies, learning about college, doing community service, and simply having fun.  While matriculating as students at Tougaloo College, Kanika and I were fortunate to be initiated into the Gamma Psi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.   Although we were initiated into Delta three years apart from each other, we both had a sense of pride in knowing that we were “Gamma Psi Girls.”  Our chapter was the first undergraduate chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated chartered within the state of Mississippi.  I think all women of Delta share that same sense of pride in their chapter of initiation.

Today, I have been a Delta for nearly thirteen years, and active with three alumnae chapters.  As I reflect on my time in Delta, I am so grateful that God lead my sister and me to the organization.  Through Delta, I am able to live out my commitment to the community, and carry out the vision of the twenty-two Founders.  Indeed, I am proud to be a Delta woman, and very proud to wear crimson and cream.  The first public act performed by the Delta Founders involved their participation in the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington D.C., March 1913.  I look forward to joining my sisters in Washington, D.C., in March 2013, for the re-enactment of the Women’s Suffrage March.  Equally, I look forward to continuing my work in Delta this year, Centennial year, but also for many, many years to come.

To my sisters, my “sorors” of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated across the world, I celebrate this Centennial year with each of you, and wish you many, many wonderful and blessed years in Delta.

Shani K. Collins is a freelance writer, a community servant, and a college instructor, completing her doctoral degree in social work at the University of Alabama.  She is an active member of the Birmingham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Incorporated. You may visit her at:

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  1. I am a proud Delta. I was initiated into the Georgia State University Chapter in the first line at the college. I was heartened to learn that my best friend from my hometown of Ft.Pierce, FL had pledged at Spelman College a few years before I did. Delta taught me responsibility for building community and sisterhood in the middle of the civil rights movement. Having attended an integrated (white) high school I had often felt as if I did not “fit” into the larger community of whites. Delta changed my vision. I wanted to give back to my own community and Delta provided the vehicle and support to do so. Congatulations to all of my sorors on our 100th (Centennial) celebration. Shout out to my best friends and sorors Keilier Baker Dixon and Ada Claiborne Frazier.

  2. Congratulations to you Soror and to all of the dynamic ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. I was initiated at FAMU in 1973-Beta Alpha. We recently celebrated our 75th Anniversary back in November. There are over 20 members of my family-including in-laws who are Deltas!!!!

  3. Congratulations to you Soror and to all of the dynamic ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, sorority, Inc. I was initiated at FAMU in 1973-Beta Alpha. We recently celebrated our 75th Anniversary back in November. There are over 20 members of my family-including in-laws who are Deltas!!!!

  4. Happy 100th, Soror!! I celebrate with you and all of our over 200,000 Sorors.

  5. So glad to know that organizations like Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Incorporated are visible in the community and continues to help people in need. Feel free to come to Maryland in 2013 to collaborate with our organization called Remembering Our Ancestors Synergistic Association, (ROASA), Inc. Also come and learn about the Maryland Commission of African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) who is doing great things to educate and expose ALL about the rich history of African Americans in Maryland. As one of MCAAHC Commissioner for Prince George’s County, it would be an honor to share the journey of African Americans and others with your Delta sisters. Feel free to email us at Congratulation on the success of your Centennial! Visit ROASA, Inc.:

  6. I am not sure if my comments were posted. I thank you for your commentary. and for showing respect to the other Greeks. I became a member at a historically Black college, Gamma Chi. I, too, am PROUD TO BE A DELTA. There are many dashes in the lives of all of us and truly our founders and those who have come after, are the dashes in our sisterhood. Yes, I am also proud to be the mother of two Deltas and hopefully my granddaughter and great granddaughters.

  7. Yes, there are many Deltas, who became members , on historically Black colleges. Many chapters were charted all across America, as well as other countries. Thank you for such a pride-filled commentary. Yes, many of us started at the collegiate chapters.
    My own chapter, was Gamma Chi. I, too, am Proud to be a DELTA and have two Delta daughters. The legacy, is continuing with a granddaughter and great granddaughters, who I am prayerful, will also wear our pin. Twenty-Two Women, who started a movement, that is still going strong.I, too have been active with Alumnae chapters. I am one of the charter members of my Alumnae Chapter. Thank you also, for respecting the other Greeks in your commentary.
    They are all dashes in our lives, quote, from our Sorority's National President.