Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was founded January 16, 1920 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The five illustrious founders of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Arizona Clever Stemons, Myrtle Tyler Faithful, Viola Tyler Goings, Fannie Pettie Watts, and Pearl A. Neal dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for Black women and sought to establish a new organization. Their vision was to encourage the highest standards of scholarship through scientific, literary, cultural and educational programs; promote volunteerism on college campuses and in the community; foster sisterhood; and exemplify finer womanhood. These ideals are reflected in the sorority’s national programs for which its members and auxiliary groups provide significant volunteer service, financial capital, and professional talent to educate the public, assist youth, enrich community outreach programs, fund scholarships, support organized charities and promote legislation for civic and social change.
MARYLAND’S HISTORY IN ZETA
Maryland is the first state where the expansion of Zeta occurred beyond Howard University in Washington DC. Gamma Chapter was established on November 2, 1921 at Morgan College (Morgan State University) and was charted as the second chapter within the sisterhood. Gamma is unique because it is the second chapter within Zeta but bears the name of the third letter of the Greek alphabet. This was specifically done, so that, Gamma would bear the same name as its brother chapter Gamma of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. also located at Morgan College. Morgan State University is the first campus beyond Howard University where both the Zeta and Sigma chapters bear the same name.
Maryland not only has the honor of being the first state where Zeta expanded its reach beyond Howard University, it is also home to the first graduate chapter within the sorority. Alpha Zeta Chapter was established in September 1923 for members of Zeta who completed their college degrees and wanted to continue their service to the community and sisterhood beyond the campus level. Alpha Zeta is located in Baltimore, Maryland and was chartered by five former members of Gamma Chapter.
Maryland is also the home to our Fourth International President Nellie Buchanan. Nellie Buchanan served from 1923-1925. Nellie Buchanan was one of five members of Gamma Chapter that became charter members of Alpha Zeta Chapter. During her tenure as International President, Nellie Buchanan expanded the sorority by establishing new chapters within the country. Beta Zeta, the second graduate chapter within Zeta, was established under her administration in Washington DC. As a newly recognized national organization, Zeta was in need of a headquarters location to conduct the business of the sorority that was conducted by Alpha Chapter located at Howard University. Buchanan established a centralized location for the operation of Zeta’s business. Zeta’s headquarters was located at 1129 N. Calhoun Street in Baltimore, Maryland.
RESIDENCE OF FOUNDER FAITHFUL
The State of Maryland holds a unique place in Zeta because one of the founders resided in the State of Maryland. Founder Myrtle Tyler Faithful lived in Towson, Maryland and was a member of Alpha Zeta Chapter. Founder Faithful’s legacy lives on and has been captured in wax. Founder Faithful is one of many historical African-American figures that have been immortalized for all to see at the National Blacks In Wax Museum located in Baltimore, Maryland. Alpha Zeta Chapter had Founder Faithful’s image commissioned and she is the only founder of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. displayed within the museum.
PAST MARYLAND STATE DIRECTORS
Catherine C. Neal (deceased)
Anne P. Hilliard
Nathalia M. East-Roberts (10th Atlantic Regional Director)
Bernice Smith White
Cheryl D. Raigns Brown
Jacqueline C. McNair (15th Atlantic Regional Director)