Credit: Olayemi Odesanya photo

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020 is a special day for the members of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Members of this sorority are celebrating their 98 years of existence! Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was founded  on Nov. 12, 1922 at Butler University by seven educators. The seven founders of this organization are: Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little, Vivian White Marbury, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Bessie Mae Downey Rhoades Martin, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Annette Dulin Redford and Cubena McClure. The sorority colors are royal blue and gold and their mascot is a French toy poodle. 

After charting their Alpha chapter at Butler University Dec. 30, 1929, they became an incorporated national collegiate sorority. It wasn’t until 1937 that the sorority joined the National Pan-Hellenic Council which is also known as the Divine Nine. The Divine Nine is an organization composed of historically African American Greek-lettered five fraternities and four sororities. 

What differentiates Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. from the other D9 Greek letter organizations is that this sorority is the only sorority that was founded at Butler University, which is a predominantly white campus. During this time, racism and prejudice was at its all-time high, along with sexism. These women, however, prospered and found a way to start their organization. Members who join aim to provide community service, civil and social action for women and their families internationally. Some of the well-known international programs are Operation Big Bookbag, Project Reassurance, Hattie McDaniel Breast Cancer Awareness and Youth Symposium. 

“As we celebrate 98 years of community impact, social engagement, and committed partnership, I am reminded of the seven young educators who boldly created a sisterhood to address adversity, create meaningful solutions and empower women and youth,” said Rasheeda S. Liberty, 25th international grand basileus. “Fast forward to today, we walk in those dedicated footsteps, seeking to expand beyond identifying problems to defining ways to eradicate them, as we focus forward toward our centennial.”

So if you see a pretty poodle today, wish them a Happy Founders Day!