Sigma Gamma Rho: Sorority Founded By 7 Black Women Celebrates 101 Years

by Gee NY

On November 12th, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated marked its 101st Founders Day anniversary.

It was founded at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana by 7 Black educators:

  • Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little,
  • Dorothy Hanley Whiteside,
  • Vivian White Marbury,
  • Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson,
  • Hattie Mae Annette Dulin Redford,
  • Bessie Mae Downey Rhoades Martin, and
  • Cubena McClure.

The group became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to Alpha chapter at Butler University.⁠

The solemn event on Nov. 12 commemorated over a century of dedicated service to mankind.

In a historic achievement, the sorority had previously pledged to raise $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, becoming the first Divine Nine sorority to accomplish this milestone.

Initially committed in 2021, Sigma Gamma Rho had already raised nearly $500,000 towards its goal at the time of the announcement.

As part of this commitment, the sorority extended a three-year sponsorship for the annual St. Jude Walk/Run, held each September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Since the announcement, the sorority’s members actively participated in over 200 Walk/Run teams across the nation, culminating in the realization of their $1 million target this month. The funds raised will contribute to ensuring that families supported by St. Jude never receive bills for housing, food, travel, or treatment.

Expressing gratitude for the achievement, Rasheeda S. Liberty, International Grand Basileus of Sigma Gamma Rho, stated:

“Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated is grateful for the opportunity to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s work to find cures and help save the lives of children all over the world. I am proud of the mobilization of our global membership to reach this $1,000,000 milestone and to have done so just prior to our 101st Founders’ Day. This accomplishment aligns with our sorority’s motto, ‘Greater Service, Greater Progress.’ We look forward to continuing our partnership with St. Jude in the years to come.”

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