Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΑΚΑ), the first Greek-lettered sorority established by and for African-American college women, was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, nine juniors and seniors who constituted the initial core group of founding members and seven sophomores who were extended an invitation for membership without initiation comprised what are acknowledged as Alpha Kappa Alpha’s original 16 founders. Now 109 years old, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is proud of her 1,005 chapters and over 290,000 members. The International President is Mrs. Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson.
Charleston’s Gamma Xi Omega Chapter (GXO) was chartered on February 14, 1942 by eighteen (18) astute and innovative women. For 75 years, GXO has made a positive impact on the local and Tri-County communities in the areas of education, health, family strengthening, civic engagement, creation and improvement of parks, the arts, global issues and many others. Adopting the theme, “Pearls of Promise: Celebrating a Legacy of 75 Years of Service”, the members of GXO planned and successfully executed three days of events in observation of their Diamond Anniversary.
On Friday, February 24, Chapter members gathered at their AKA Building for two hours of sisterly bonding – food, fun, and games.
The Diamond Celebration Gala was held at the Charleston Marriott Hotel on Saturday, February 25. Members were joined by family and friends for a magical evening.
Honored guests were the Alpha Kappa Alpha dignitaries; “Golden Sorors” – Alpha Kappa Alpha women who have been a member for fifty (50) or more years; and former Presidents of Gamma Xi Omega Chapter who walked the PINK Carpet. The special honored guest was Dr. Glenda Baskins Glover, the International First Vice President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., whose message was inspiring. Attendees were serenaded by Mr. Anthony Burke whose incomparable voice was accompanied by the dynamic chords executed by Mrs.Thuane Fielding. The evening ended with dancing to the sometimes smooth and sometimes energetic sounds of the Peace of Mind Band.
On Sunday, February 26, GXO members held their Founders Day Service at Greater St. Luke AME Church. The dynamic speaker was Mrs. Sharon Brown Harriott, 18th South Atlantic Regional Director. Gamma Xi Omega Community Service Awards were given to members of the community who have performed extraordinarily in five different areas:
Global Impact – Mrs. Mary Joseph who has taken annual pilgrimages and mission trips to Cambodia, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Jamaica.
Family Strengthening – Mrs. Nellie Wright who has used her crocheting talent to make items which she has donated to MUSC Children’s Hospital, Nursing Homes, service projects of Gamma Xi Omega Chapter, ladies of “Tent City”, etc.
Environmental Ownership – Ms. Carol Simmons who educates citizens on the process and importance of recycling so that recyclable materials are kept out of our landfill.
Educational Enrichment – Mrs. Cheryl Felix Swinton for her many years of professional and compassionate service as an educator. She recently became the Executive Principal of Burke High and Simmons Pinckney Middle Schools.
Health Promotion – Dr. Thaddeus John Bell who has been a practicing Family Physician for 37 years and is the Founder of Closing the Gap in Health Care, Inc., a non-profit agency which provides health literacy to African Americans and other underserved populations.
A reception followed in the Greater St. Luke Fellowship Hall.
Mrs. Marguerite Middleton is the President of Gamma Xi Omega Chapter. The Chairperson and Co-Chairperson of the 75th Diamond Gala Committee are Mrs. Vickie Stuckey and Ms. Pearl Givens, respectively.