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AKA celebrates 103rd birthday

Submitted by Kyle Troutman on January 20, 2011 – 2:19 pm2 Comments

A sea of salmon pink and apple green flooded Little Rock last weekend.

More than 1,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha gather on the historic steps of Little Rock Central High School for the sorority's 103rd Founders' Day festivities. Photo by Kyle Troutman.

On the 103rd Founders’ Day, more than one thousand soros(Latin for sisters) of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) enjoyed the sights of the city while also committing to the weekend’s theme, “Reflection and Remembrance of Timeless Service,” in honor of the Little Rock Nine and the nine Howard University founders of AKA.

According to an AKA press release, “Little Rock was selected for this celebration because of its historical significance to African-American history and the fight to achieve educational equality.”

“Alpha Kappa Alpha is honored and humbled to come to historic Little Rock for our Founders’ Day celebration,” International President Carolyn Stewart said. “We will pay tribute to our outstanding founders, whose vision of services has endured for 103 years. We will also join the Little Rock chapters to engage in nine community outreach activities in honor of the Little Rock Nine. In essence, this weekend will showcase Alpha Kappa Alpha’s core mission – ‘Service to all mankind.’”

AKA, an international non-profit and service-based organization, used the early days of the event to complete the outreach and service. Along with winterizing the homes of six local seniors, the AKA sisters worked in a Little Rock food kitchen, cleaned and organized two battered women’s shelters, cleaned and organized Daisy Bates’ home and held a forum on health and wellness. Grammy-nominated R&B singer and Type 2 diabetic Angie Stone spoke on disease management at the forum. Members also donated 700 books to Central High School and a number of other books to Horace Mann Middle School.

Saturday morning, the pink and green overtook Central High School’s auditorium for a tribute to the sorority’s founding nine and the Little Rock Nine.

World-renowned poet, author and AKA soror, Sonia Sanchez created a poem for the tribute, which she said would honor the Little Rock Nine and serve as a “clarion call” to continue their work.

Standing at only 4’11’’, Sanchez needed a boost to stand at the podium, but her giant aura and fervent personality took the room’s breath from the get-go. Filled with passion, prose and African-American song melody, Sanchez delivered a poem that she hopes is indicative of the past, present and future.

“All the time we see women and children directing the action toward equality,” Sanchez said. “Today’s youth has a lot of energy and a national organization of mature women running youth activism must continue.” Sanchez also delighted in the fact she was born September 9, giving her a numerical link to the Little Rock Nine and the nine founders of AKA. “Nine is just a special, magical number,” she said.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, established in 1908, was the first African-American Greek-lettered sorority.