top of page

Alpha Kappa Alpha History

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC on January 15, 1908 by nine students who were led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. The organization was legally incorporated in January 1913 under the leadership of Nellie Quander and her gallant and visionary associates. Alpha Kappa Alpha is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-trained women. To trace its history is to tell a story of changing patterns of human relations in America in the 20th century.


The small group of women who organized the Sorority was conscious of a privileged position as college-trained women of color, just one generation removed from slavery. They were resolute that their college experiences should be as meaningful and productive as possible. Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded to apply that determination.


As the Sorority grew, it kept in balance two important themes: the importance of the individual and the strength of an organization of women of ability and courage. As the world became more complex, there was a need for associations which cut across racial, geographical, political, physical and social barriers.


Alpha Kappa Alpha’s influence extends beyond campus quads and student interest. It has a legacy of service that deepens, rather than ends, with college graduation.


The goals of its program activities center on significant issues in families, communities, government halls and world assembly chambers. Its efforts constitute a priceless part of the global experience in the 21st century.


Learn more about our sorority’s illustrious history by visiting the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated® website at and the Great Lakes Region Website at

bottom of page