National president Beverly E. Smith at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s official closing ceremony in ~ the Mandalay Hotel in ras Vegas on Aug. 9, 2017. (Photo credit: Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks)

This founders Day, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. are mirroring on the organization’s root in society activism.

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On Jan. 13, 1913, 22 afri American undergraduates at Howard University founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Their an initial public act was to march in Washington’s Women’s Suffrage Parade, i beg your pardon erupted in violence. Police go nothing come hold earlier the group of men, plenty of of castle drunk, that shoved, tripped and spat top top the marchers, a hundreds of whom had to be taken to the hospital.

It to be doubly dangerous because that the black color women, who were subjected to racism even from suffragist leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and also others who insisted that the just African American women’s company participating in the parade march behind the 5,000 white skin - man in a black procession.

A fearless organization requires a fearless leader, and also current nationwide President and also CEO Beverly Evans smith fits the bill. Smith’s father to be a civil rights activist who was radical around integration in the tiny town in north Ohio wherein they lived. The family combined schools, churches and swimming pools. So relentless was her father the he even incorporated the local cemetery where he was buried. Farming up, she and also her family experienced death threats.

“I was in the in 3rd grade when we incorporated a White neighborhood, and also I mental the night we all moved in my dad stood at the former door through a Winchester rifle all night long while White human being rode up and also down the street yelling things.”

Another repercussion of integration was the Smith was constantly the “only” Black. The is, until she forged a sisterhood while in ~ Ohio’s Bowling green State University.

“Delta’s sisterhood supposed a lot for me. There to be only around 100 to 150 black color students on Bowling Green’s campus, so i was a line of one, however I had actually 10 huge sisters,” stated Smith who prospered on campus and also loved life in the Delta’s sorority house.

After graduating, she continued her company in the organization. She eventually served as national first vice president and also national secretary and previously to be employed together Delta Sigma Theta’s executive, management director. Smith, that is currently a member the the plank of directors because that the national Council that Negro ladies (NCNW) and previously served eight years as the chair that the Cobb County plank of Elections and also Registration, credits the sorority v reinforcing the values of social activism and community organization she knew farming up.

“One-hundred-fifty-five sorors ran because that office across the nation last year, and also I’m so proud come say we have a far-ranging voice in congressional seats,” she said. “My goal is to have a Deltas in office in every state.”

In recent decades, Deltas have shown themselves to be a pressure for their sorors seeking politics offices, first jamming congressional fax machines with letter of assistance for Alexis Herman, who was appointed Secretary of job by President bill Clinton, and an ext recently through flooding the check hearing the Loretta Elizabeth Lynch, who eventually came to be the 83rd U.S. Lawyer General, with a sea that sorors dressed in red and white.

Last week, blacksmith attended the Congressional black Caucus (CBC) swearing-in of her soror Lucy McBath, that beat the Republican incumbent, Karen Handel, in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. McBath ended up being a gun safety activist after she 17-year-old son Jordan Davis was shot to fatality in 2012 in ~ a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station. Davis’ killer to be sentenced come life in prison.

is the first Black congressperson chosen from this district because Reconstruction…Newt Gingrich sat in that seat. The reality that she winner this residence seat in this ar in Cobb County just really speak to how far we’ve come,” blacksmith said around McBath, now a component of an also smaller group of distinguished Delta congresswomen who include Shirley Chisolm, Barbara Jordan and also former CBC Chair (and Delta’s 21st nationwide president) Marcia Fudge.

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“You need to be at the table. Sitting outside protesting is one thing, but sitting in ~ the table do the rules is whereby we room really walk to have the ability to make a difference,” blacksmith said. “We have actually seminars on how to run for office. We have training sessions on exactly how to pick a an excellent judge. We want people to use their poll power.”

Indeed, 100 years after being forced to the back of the line, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority led the Suffrage Centennial Celebration and with the 250,000 initiated members, and also its tradition of activism leader the world.