The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. - Beta Chapter

Our National History

The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. (NSPDK) was the idea of Gladys Merritt Ross, who on Palm Sunday, 1923, convened a group of young students at Jersey City Normal School in Jersey City, New Jersey to discuss the idea of forming a sorority. Eight members of those present concurred and Newark attorney, J. Mercer Burrell, incorporated the new organization on May 23, 1923.

Throughout its existence, the Sorority has addressed cogent educational issues through a myriad of programs designed to improve education and offer opportunities to scores of children, youth, and adults. NSPDK has sponsored initiatives to assist beginning teachers, advance good health, promote academic achievement, award scholarships, and preserve African- American History.

It is poised to accept the educational challenges of the 21st century and to launch programs to enhance the educational enterprise.

History of Beta Chapter

Beta Chapter, founded in October 1924 in Washington, DC, is the second of the 120 Chapters in the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. The ten founding members were Victoria Snowden Bacote, Edith Pinn DeBruhl, Lillie Grinnage Harper, Delilah Williams Pierce, Eula Simms Trigg, Estelle Collins, Mildred Boyd Gray, Thelma Watson McKnight, Dorothy Cole Steward, and Henri Young. Throughout its long and productive history, Beta Sorors have been a unifying force in fostering the spirit of sisterhood among teachers and in promoting the highest ideals of the teachng profession.

The chapter has gained local recognition for its annual Teach-A-Rama workshops which continue to assist DC Public School personnel in the implementation of school-wide instructional initiatives. Many of these activities have included assisting and mentoring new teachers and admninistrators. While we continue to provide city-wide workshops and staff development for teachers, some of our trainings in recent years have involved parents and students.

Beta Chapter annually adopts a school for our Reading Power Project. Members of the chapter spend time tutoring students, teaching demonstration lessons, sponsoring Book Clubs for students, conducting Read-a-Thons that give free books away, and providing a "Tools for School Program" where school supplies are donated to the students. The chapter is actively engaged in our Reading Grants program where Sorors write grants and are awarded monies which provide classroom assistance for projects in reading improvemnt, reading enrichment and /or reading support between the months of February and June.

Annually, Beta awards scholarships to local high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in education. The chapter continues to sponsor and support a Xinos Club (female) and Kudos Club (male). Their activities include leadership, community service, character development, social activites, and college prep. Students participate in essay, oratorial, and talent competitions.  There is also a Step Competition at the yearly Youth Leadership Conference that is sponsored by different chapters.

Throughout Beta's long and productive history, the chapter has been responsible for the introduction of ideas, which have affected local and national educational policy practices. The following are some highlights of Beta's history:







Created the Beta Buddies Book Club. Our first meeting was in August 2017 after completing the novel Being Too Fierce: One  Woman's Incredible Journey from Foster Child to World Championship Boxer by Lisa P. Cohen

Donation to the Alzheimer's Organization. Have an active Xinos Group that attended the 67th Youth Leadership Conference in Somerset, New Jersey

Developed the Beta website; Celebrated 90 Years; Donated to the Shades of Pink Organization for Breast Cancer Patients

2012 Hosted the 72nd Eastern Regional Conference - April 26-29 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (Regional Director - Drusilla Kinzonzi; Coordinators - Geneva Hudson, Phyllis Brown, Frances Watts Henry; Basileus Phyllis Valentine)
2010 Sponsored the first "Parade of States" Contest among Beta Chapter Sorors who raised $4,000.00 for our local scholarship program
1995 Past National  President  (Past Supreme Basileus) Margaret C. Nelson, from Beta Chapter, was awarded the Silver Life Membership at the July Conclave in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1986  Host of the Eastern Regional Youth Leadership Conference
1985 Hosted the 45th Eastern Regional Conference - Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC - April 26-28 - Regional Director - Ardena S. Dixon
1974 Celebrated our 50th Anniversary at Pier 7 Resturant
1972 Initiated the custom of the Tri-Founders' Day Celebration for Beta, Gamma (Baltimore), and Alpha Mu (Annapolis), which is hosted on a rotating basis
1970 Donated $3,000 to the Fun Wagon for the DC Recreation Department
1967 Began Dinner Meetings to honor Beta members who have retired; Endowed a seat at $1,500 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the Children's Hall.
1965 Hosted the National Conclave at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
1955 Host to the Eastern Regional conference at Spingarn High School, Washington, DC
1950 Beta purchased 42 chairs for the Police Boys Club.
1947 Launched our Liberia Project at a Tea at the YWCA Annex
1944 Beta Newsletter was started by then secretary Marian Bluitt. Sponsored and Educational Program at the Metropolitan Boys Club # 2
1937 Opened our first Recreation Room for convalescent children at Freeman's Hospital; Sponsored the first National Scholarship Winner, Virginia Spottswood

Listed among Beta's other contributions to the Metropolitan Area are: the honoring of eight outstanding citizens  at Beta's 15th Anniversary Public Affairs Luncheon; providing assistance to the annual Tutor-Rama; giving monetary donations to the Duke Ellington School and the Cardozo Marching Band; and assisting with the awards program at Banneker Academic High School. Each year in October, Beta celebrates Charter Day to honor our ten Charter Members  and any recent  retirees. Recognition and awards are also presented to Beta  members for numerous achievements.