Arizona Cleaver Stemons speaks…

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Howard University

*The entire passage below was written by Zeta Phi Beta Founder Arizona Cleaver Stemons in the 1926 X-Ray Journal*

HISTORY OF THE ZETA

    In the year of 1920 there, arose from the different parts of the country five serious-minded girls. These young women had finished the course that had been mapped out for them at the several different schools of which they had formerly been students.

As great minds run in the same channel, they turned their attention toward “Old Howard” of Washington, D.C., and they did not stop until they reached the end of their destination.  

Here at the University they met; they had come from Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio and Missouri.  Permit me to introduce them to you.  Miss Fannie Pettie, of Georgia; Miss Pearl Neal, of South Carolina; Misses Viola and Myrtle Tyler, of Ohio, and Arizona L. Cleaver, of Missouri.

As these young women went about the campus during their first year at the University, they kept their eyes open and their hands ready to grasp an opportunity to do something worth while. Finally the time for doing good arrived when a young man by the name of Charles Taylor, who belonged to the Phi beta Sigma Fraternity, said to Arizona Cleaver: “We need a sister organization—I wonder if you could not interest some of the young ladies who are not members of any other sorority in becoming our sisters?”

    “Yes,” said she. I will do my best to interest some of my friends.”

    “Out into the field she went to work and gathered therefrom the other four mentioned in the above paragraph. A temporary organization was formed; then when everything was in readiness a permanent organization was formed under the name of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Alpha Chapter. This chapter, as it grew in strength and wisdom, spread its influence abroad. Some of its seed fell upon fertile soil and the harvest was a hundred fold.

    One seed was planted at Morgan College, Baltimore, Md. It brought forth good fruit, and great has been the harvest. Many have gone out into the world to render such service as this sad old world needs. Another one fell at Morris Brown, Atlanta, Ga.; another at Manhattan, Kans.; another at New York; another at Ohio; another at Chicago; another at Kentucky, and in fact, they have fallen here and there until the number of chapters has increased from one to many, and the members of the organization may be found not only in the United States but in Africa.

    The Zeta Phi beta stands for sisterly love, high ideals, and scholarship. This has been exhibited by the members in a number of ways. They graduate from the different schools with the highest honors. They stand out prominently amount the other women in the various walks of life. They lead [sic] their support as an organization to such uplifting organs as the N.A.A.C.P. and the giving of scholarships to deserving young women. They are fostering the “Finer Womanhood” movement…

    Zeta now, Zeta tomorrow, Zeta always, should be the thought in the mind of every Zeta woman.

Arizona L. Cleaver

(1926 X-Ray)

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