Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑΚΑ) is the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women. Membership is primarily for college educated women, but not all members have attended college. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., by a group of twenty students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. Forming a sorority broke barriers for African-American women in areas where little power or authority existed due to a lack of opportunities for minorities and women in the early 20th century. Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913.
After the organization’s establishment over a century ago, Alpha Kappa Alpha has helped to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs. Members have improved education through independent initiatives, contributed to community-building by creating programs and associations, such as the Mississippi Health Clinic, and influenced federal legislation by Congressional lobbying through the National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights. The sorority works with communities through service initiatives and progressive programs relating to education, family, health, and business.
Alpha Kappa Alpha is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). The current International President is Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, and the sorority’s document and pictorial archives are located at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.