Five women, also known as Five Pearls, dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for black women and sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts of Scholarship, Service, Sisterly Love and Finer Womanhood. The founders believed that the Sorority would reach college women in all parts of the country who were sorority minded and desired to follow the founding principles of the organization. Thus, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded January 16,1920 at Howard University by five coeds:
• Arizona Cleaver Stemons
• Myrtle Tyler Faithful
• Viola Tyler Goings
• Fannie Pettie Watts
• Pearl Anna Neal.
Since its inception, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated has chronicled a number of firsts:
• First Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa (1948)
• First to form adult and youth auxiliary groups
• First to centralize its operations in a national headquarters
• First to be constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated
• First black sorority to organize a collegiate chapter in the racially hostile environment of
Texas in the 1920s (Theta Chapter, Wiley College, 1923)
• First Black Greek-lettered organization to host a national convention south of the
Mason-Dixon Line (Lambda Zeta Chapter, Houston, Texas, 1937)
• First sorority to charter chapters internationally -- Africa (Liberia & Sierra Leone) in 1948, the
Bahamas, and Germany.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. has over 150,000 members and more than 800 chapters, including the United States, Hawaii, West Africa, Germany, Bahama Islands, Virgin Islands, South Korea, Japan, and Italy. Zeta's national and local programs, with the support of multiple affiliate organizations, are geared toward servicing and educating communities:
• Stork’s Nest
• Z - H. O. P. E. (Zetas Helping Other People Excel)
• National Education Foundation.
Zeta chapters and auxiliary groups have given unlimited hours of voluntary service to educate the public, assist youth, provide scholarships, support organized charities and promote legislation for social and civic change. For more information visit our Zeta Auxiliaries page.