In The Beginning
The Akron-Canton Alumnae Chapter blossomed from the idea of Agnes R. Finley, whose daughters – Frances K. Welch and C. Joyce Finley-Jackson –were contemplating joining the Cleveland Chapter. After consulting with a childhood friend, Benette McClellan who was a Delta, Finley suggested that her daughters get in touch with Benette and start a chapter of their own in the city of Akron. Another Cleveland Chapter Soror, Guernia Morgan, was contacted and the group began the search for other interested Deltas.
Thus Began The Mission
In November 1959, Deltas from the Akron, Canton, and Massillon communities made application to the Grand Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta for the formation of the Akron-Canton Alumnae Chapter of the Sorority. The chapter application stated: “There is a need for a Chapter of D.S.T. in this community. The chapter will be located near Akron University and Kent State, both accredited and offering a continuing source for members. Akron and Canton are growing cities, thriving and increasingly progressive. New residents are always arriving.” In January 1960, the charter application was approved by the Midwest Regional Director, Frances M. Flippen, National Secretary, Anne L. Campbell, and the National President, Jeanne L. Noble.
On Friday, March 4, 1960, the Akron Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., was chartered in a closed ceremony in Canton, Ohio by the following Deltas who were the Charter members of the Chapter: Sorors Bernice G. Armour, Elizabeth Dantzler, Hilda V. Douglas, Elizabeth Evans, C. Joyce Finley-Jackson, Benette C. McClellan, Guernia D. Morgan, Rebecca R Pennington, Ethel I. Phoenix, Lorene D. Pollard, Marie J. Slaughter, Viola Burke-Taylor, and Frances Kathaleen Welch.
On Sunday, March 6, 1960, the Chapter held its first public presentation of the newly formed chapter at a special afternoon ceremony held at 5:00 p.m. at the historic Wesley Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Akron’s oldest African-American Church where Dr. Eugene Morgan Jr., the husband of charter member Guernia Morgan, served as pastor). The Public presentation was entitled “Delta Comes to Akron-Canton” and was attended by hundreds of people. Program participants included Soror Viola Burke-Taylor who provided the Organ Prelude and the Postlude, Soror Guernia Morgan gave the invocation, Soror Hilda Douglas provided Greetings, Soror Rebecca Pennington introduced the speaker, and the address was delivered by Soror Ethel Ramos Harris, former Delta National Officer, and a renowned musician. Soror Marie Slaughter was the Mistress of Ceremonies. The first officers of the newly created chapter were: Hilda V. Douglas – President, Marie J. Slaughter – Vice President, Rebecca R. Pennington – Secretary (who also sent the charter application in and who sent the letters of Information to the charter members), C. Joyce Finley-Jackson – Treasurer, Guernia Morgan – Chaplain, Viola Burke-Taylor – Sergeant-at-Arms, Kathaleen Welch – Journalist, and Elizabeth Evans – Parliamentarian. The other members of the chapter were: Bernice Armour, Laura M. Bradford, Marian Crenshaw, Betty Dantzler, Ruby Foster, Ann Jones, Benette McClellan, Mozelle Meacham, Ethel Phoenix, Lorene Pollard, Patricia Turner, and Vendetta Wagner.
From the chartering of the Akron-Canton Alumnae Chapter, whose name was changed to the Akron Alumnae Chapter in 1988, the Chapter has been committed to involvement in public service missions in the community. Deltas are visible in their respective professions and they serve on the Boards of Directors and in other leadership roles for other organizations. Additionally, the Akron Alumnae Chapter and its members have been the recipients of many awards and honors for their commitment to public service.
The Chapter Sisterhood Award was established in 1978
This award was created by the Akron Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to recognize the outstanding LOVE and DEDICATION displayed by a Chapter Soror. This chapter member’s participation is fueled by a love for her Akron Alumnae sisters and pure commitment to helping our chapter grow and succeed. As a member of Akron Alumnae, she embodies the Nine Cardinal Virtues and persuades others to model the words of our Oath just from her own behavior. The awardee is recognized by the Chapter at the closing meeting of the year.
The Chapter Service Award was established In 1986
This award was created by the Akron Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. to recognize the outstanding contributions of members to the local Chapter’s projects and activities. This chapter member is active both financially and through participation. As a member of Delta, she, in every respect, models for others the true meaning of a Delta in service for the advancement of the Sorority’s mission. The awardee will be recognized by the Chapter at the closing meeting of the year.
The Chapter Community Service Award was established In 1986
This award was created by the Akron Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to recognize the outstanding contributions of members to advance the Sorority’s mission of public service. This chapter member is active both financially and through participation. This Soror’s contribution to public service could have been in conjunction with chapter programming or their efforts toward individual passions in the community, not as a responsibility of their salaried job. The awardees will be recognized by the Chapter at the closing meeting of the year.