Founding of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Lucy’s talent as a student leader was perhaps most far-reaching in her role in founding and serving as the first president of the first chapter of the first sorority for African-American women—Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA). AKA is an organization that has become one of America’s distinguished and preeminent women’s groups. Lucy’s peers regarded her as “…serious, hard-working, conscientious and efficient in all that she did ….” They were proud of her “ability as a singer.” She was one of the people they would call on when they felt they needed someone to uphold the dignity of the group. Her numerous extra-curricular activities reached a peak in the founding of AKA, and it was to be one of the most laudable and enduring achievements of her life. This group of college girls were “eager to make a contribution that would live forever….” “They searched for elements that would best convey a group of women with shared values committed to pooling their strengths and talents to improve their lots and make a difference for themselves and their people.” Marjorie Parker writes that

Ethel Hedgeman, a member of the junior class, returned from the summer vacation (1907) with the inspiration and desire to organize a sorority. She discussed the idea with a number of her classmates and associates…. Ethel told them of her plan to form an association of women students through which the talents and strengths of these students could be organized for the mutual benefit of all.After a period of exchanging ideas and pooling suggestions, the group of nine started to work to crystallize the preliminary organization. In this group were the Burke sisters (Beulah and Lillie), Margaret Flagg-Holmes, Marjorie Hill, Lucy Slowe, Marie Woolfolk Taylor, Anna Easter Brown and Lavinia Newman.

Satisfied that a sorority could be a valid part of college life, it was agreed that recognition by the university administration should be the first objective. Accordingly, they turned their attention to a written constitution. The assignment for the first draft was given to Lucy Slowe.

…The constitution, developed by Margaret Flagg, Lavinia Newman and Ethel Hedgeman from the draft by Lucy Slowe, was adopted as read. (Feb. 21, 1908)….

Perhaps the most important item of business transacted at this meeting (Friday, February 28, 1908 ) was the selection of the first permanent officers of the group. Although Ethel Hedgeman was the natural choice and the overwhelming favorite for the office of president, the newly adopted constitution stipulated that the president should be a member of the senior class, and so on Ethel Hedgeman’s motion, Lucy Slowe was elected as the first president of Alpha Kappa Alpha.