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Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. History

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was founded on January 16, 1920, at Howard University. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. would be remiss not to pay homage to the first women who believed in the need for a new and different type of Greek-lettered organization and acted upon the need. To these women, 

Zeta was more than an organization-it was a movement, a belief system that reflected at its core the desire to provide true Service, to embrace Scholarship, to set a standard for Sisterly Love and to define the noble concept of Finer Womanhood. This belief has sustained and encouraged Zetas around the world to hold fast to the ideals initiated and developed by its earliest members.

The Founders of Zeta were strong, principled coeds who possessed a great deal of modesty, strength of character and pride in academic achievement. They are indeed a worthy foundation upon which to base our illustrious Sorority.

Arizona Cleaver (Stemons): Arizona Cleaver was the first president of the Alpha Chapter and the first national president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She completed her graduate and post-graduate studies in the field of social work and was responsible for the chartering of numerous undergraduate and graduate chapters throughout the United States.

Myrtle Tyler (Faithful): Myrtle Tyler was the second national president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and blood sister to Viola Tyler. She was a high school mathematics and English teacher and an active member of Alpha Zeta Chapter in Baltimore, Maryland.

Viola Tyler (Goings): Viola Tyler graduated from Howard University with a teaching degree and a major in math. She taught school in Ohio for many years and was always very active in community affairs.

Fannie Pettie (Watts): Fannie Pettie graduated from Howard University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in education and taught junior and senior high schools in Savannah, Georgia. She was credited with organizing tow additional Zeta chapters and had active membership in Delta Alpha Zeta chapter.

Pearl Neal: After graduating from Howard University's Conservatory of Music, Founder Neal continued her studies at the Julliard School of Music. In 1938, she was the first black woman in New York to earn a master's degree in music from Columbia University. An extremely accomplished musician, Founder Neal taught music in North Carolina public schools and served as a director of seniors majoring in music at Teachers College in Winston Salem, NC.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was the first Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in West Africa (1948) and Germany. It was also the first organization to form adult and youth auxiliary groups, the Amicae, Archonettes, Amicettes and Pearlettes. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., remains to be the first and only Greek-letter organization to be constitutionally bound to a male group, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. In order for a true change to occur, it must take place with the cooperation of both genders. And thus we walk hand in hand with our brother of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Zeta's national and local programs include Z-HOPE, Storks Nest, the endowment of its National Education Foundation, community outreach services; and support of multiple affiliate organizations. Zeta chapters an auxiliary groups have given untitled hours of voluntary service to educate the public, assist youth, provide scholarships, support organized charities, and to promote legislation for social and civic change.

Today, Zeta Phi Beta is classified as a non-profit service organization with a membership exceeding 100,000 college educated professional women, The membership operates within eight regions in more than 100 chapters located in the domestic Unites States of America, Hawaii, Alaska, West Africa, West Germany, Bahamas Islands, Virginia Islands, South Korea and Italy.

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