About Us

Houston Alumnae Chapter began with the vision of seven service-oriented women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and made history by becoming the first Black Greek-letter organization to organize a chapter in Houston, Texas. Houston Alumnae, under the leadership of Jona Sargent, is proud to share its rich history of over 90 years of local and global public service experiences.
As a collective body of college-educated women, Houston Alumnae strives diligently to offer the Greater Houston Area a full scope of high-impact programs, services, and partnerships aligned with the Sorority’s Five-Point Programmatic Thrust.
With a membership of about 400 women, Houston Alumnae welcomes the opportunity to partner with other organizations and community leaders that share the same goals and ideals. Additionally, reciprocal support of Houston Alumnae’s efforts is welcomed.
With professionals in education, law, various medical fields, engineering & technology, science, communications, entertainment, business and sports, HAC is a diverse group of women with many talents and expertise that has earned a reputation for getting the job done.  Home chapter of renowned orator Barbara Jordan and several past and present regional and national officers in Delta, HAC attracts and retains new, visiting and returning sorors.

History

1927-2016
The missing pages of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s history are being filled daily by the unselfish acts of Houston Alumnae Sorors.

Since inception, Houston Alumnae has been a vanguard in the public service movement for Greater Houston Area communities. In 1926, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. made history in Houston’s annals by becoming the first Black Greek letter organization to establish a local chapter with the chartering of Kappa Sigma which later disbanded.  But with the embodiment of the ideals of Delta’s 22 Founders, seven service-oriented and dedicated visionaries, including Dr. Johnnie Mae Newton-Perry; Marie Byers; Victoria Dezon; Frances Durden Griffin; Thelma Patten Law, the chapter’s first president; Lucille Brown Norris; and Vielle Willard enabled the 1927 founding of Delta’s Beta Beta Chapter.

On its quest for excellence, the membership increased with the addition of Trelsia Smith Cubia, Eva Johnson Dawson, Ethel C. Ellison, and Florence Bandy Norman subsequent to chartering. Due to national growth, Grand Chapter changed the chapter’s name to Delta Beta Sigma in 1946. In 1955, it was renamed Houston Alumnae.

In 1981, Houston Alumnae embarked on another first by creating One Delta Plaza (ODPEC), a non-profit educational community foundation, in order to expand its outreach efforts designed exclusively for charitable, religious, education, and scientific purposes, including the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.  ODPEC is responsible for the operation of this community service venue.

The stellar history of Houston Alumnae is continually chronicled by sorors who remain inspired by the words of Robert Frost, ”For we have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep, and miles to go before we sleep”.  Led by Chapter President Karen Y. Hauser, with a current membership of 465+, HAC members  have committed to facilitating the foresight of Delta’s courageous  founders by vigorously  implementing strategies designed to achieve the goals of the 2010-2012 ambitious theme, “Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service:  Connecting the Pieces to Serve the Community”.

The well documented award-winning works and leadership talent of this premier chapter is the home of deceased, renowned orator Congresswoman Barbara Charlene Jordan, as well as several past, present, regional and national officers which include Southwest Regional Directors, Eula M. Butler, 1972-1976; and Gwendolyn K. Grant, 2005-2009.   Other HAC members who have held national elected positions are Soror Marie Fonsworth, National Secretary, 1963-1967, and Soror Sheila Wheatley Clark, National Treasurer, 1996-1997.  During the proceedings of the 2009 convention, Soror Karen Dourseau captured the four-year term of Member, National Scholarship and Standards Committee.

Soror Henrietta Bell Wells, HAC’s third president and the only female member of the original nationally acclaimed Wiley College debaters, also propelled to stardom in the 2008 film release of the “Great Debaters.  The work of this acclaimed team was directed by Best Actor in Motion Picture, Denzel Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey. Associated Press writer, Christy Lemire, commented, “The Great Debaters” shines a light on a story we might never have heard, and introduces us to exciting new talent we might never have seen”. Sadly, Soror Wells transitioned to Delta’s Omega Omega Chapter prior to the bestowment of a stirring public tribute that honored her legacy.

Houston Alumnae’s history is a fabric woven out of threads from all our lives.  Steadfastly committed to the core principles of our Founders, Houston Alumnae is emboldened to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

Charter Members

Soror Johnnie Mae Newton Berry

Soror Marie Byers Briscoe

Soror Victoria J. Dezon

Soror Frances Durden Griffin

Soror Thelma Patten Law

Soror Lucille Brown Norris

Soror Vietta Willard

Accomplishments

Under the leadership of our 47 presidents, HAC has accomplished many things. It would be impossible to completely capture everything; however, here’s a glimpse of our accomplishments:

Initiated the Organization of Community Volunteers; donated to local libraries; established a scholarship fund.

Launched Queen of Hearts program in support of scholarship fund; initiated plans for purchase of land for Houston’s Negro Child Center (later became a reality); established the Florence Crittention Home; provided furnishings for Julia C. Hester House, YWCA & YMCA; raised financial aid for Heman Sweat Suit vs. University of Texas; established vocational fund to improve occupational skills of high school students; supported Negro Chamber of Commerce; contributed funds for transportation of special education students in the Houston Independent School District.

Contributed to National Headquarters fund, Ann Taylor nursery; became an NAACP Life Member; began purchasing Boy Scout Camperships; sponsored a job opportunities clinic, Jabberwocks I & II; funded scholarships, YWCA, YMCA, and Heman Sweat Case; demonstrated via a block march to arouse interest in a city-wide workshop on mental health.

Hosted Delta’s Southwest Regional Conference during Golden Anniversary celebration; contributed to Kelly Courts and Cuney Homes, Negro Child Center, United Fund and UNCF; presented several performers in concert; sponsored a Get-Out-The-Vote campaign, letter writing campaign to the Judiciary Committee in support of the Voting Rights Act, book fairs, college tutorials, Local Teen Lift, Girl Scouts of America, WICS; emphasized Delta’s National Teen Life, job opportunities, Civil Rights; contributed special education equipment to Houston and Galena Park Independent School Districts.

Co-hosted a National Convention; presented Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”, and Ray Charles and Dionne Warwick in concert as chapter fund-raisers; provided pews for a community church; conducted leadership, mental health, education and drug abuse workshops; conducted a tutorial project for University of Houston athletes; celebrated Negro History Week; honored Barbara Jordan, a chapter soror; presented film-sound tape of Founders Day 1972 to National Archives; received UNCF Outstanding Community Service and Southwest Regional Conference Largest Attendance Awards; sponsored a Black-college tour in Louisiana & Texas, Meet-the-Candidates forum, Right to Read Program; initiated first Founders Day program for Houston area alumnae chapters.

Presented first ever rape seminar to community; sponsored voter registration drive; provided testing sites for census; chaired Houston Clean-City Commission; took first step towards ownership of a 12,000 sq ft property, later named ONE DELTA PLAZA; received community services awards from UNCF, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Missouri City Top Ladies of Distinction, and Houston Council of Greek Letter Organizations Award for unprecedented leadership in the purchase of One Delta Plaza; hosted a community reception for first black astronaut; received national coverage from USA Today and Delta’s own national publication, local broadcast and newsprint media for outstanding work with Delta’s national project: Summit II: A Call for Action in Support of Black Single Mothers; showcased art talents of soror authors and musicians; initiated reclamation of inactive sorors.

Sponsored a Black Heritage Youth Conference which later became an annual event; formulated a task force for “Burning the Mortgage”, in which ownership of One Delta Plaza became a reality; implemented a successful Delta Academy program; sponsored a series of Etiquette Teas for young adults, now an annual event; served as a host chapter for the 35th Southwest Regional Conference in 1995, chaired by an HAC soror.

Sponsored a Black Heritage Youth Conference which later became an annual event; formulated a task force for “Burning the Mortgage”, in which ownership of One Delta Plaza became a reality; implemented a successful Delta Academy program; sponsored a series of Etiquette Teas for young adults, now an annual event; served as a host chapter for the 35th Southwest Regional Conference in 1995, chaired by an HAC soror.