Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mary Church Terrell and Deltas Credited with Founding Negro Achievement Week

By: Cindy Leise
As we celebrate Black History Month, historians say we should thank Mary Church Terrell, a pioneering black leader who graduated from Oberlin College in 1884 and was active in civil rights until her death in 1954 at the age of 90.

Terrell’s friend, Carter G. Woodson, generally gets most of the credit for founding Negro Achievement Week, which led to Black History Month, said Lenworth Gunther, a retired professor now living in New Jersey.

But it was Terrell and her sorority that began it all by honoring Abraham Lincoln on his birthday, Feb. 12, and Frederick Douglas on his birthday, Feb. 14, said Gunther, who lectures on Woodson and Terrell. More
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Postscript by Min. Angela Lee Price

As a minister and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Louisville Alumnae Chapter, we bless our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for Mary Church Terrell and so many women like her as we celebrate black history. The book, In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement by Paula Giddings is a good source for more information on her life, her involvement in women's suffrage, in social justice, and in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Although "her sorority" is not named in the article above by Cindy Leise, Soror Mary Church Terrell was one of the first honorary members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and author of the official Delta Oath in 1914 (Giddings, pgs 56-57). She also lead the Deltas "in their first public act as an organization: marching down Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue (with the Delta banner aloft) in the famous woman suffrage demonstration on the eve of Woodrow Wilson's inauguration" (page 15). The march took place on March 3, 1913, less than two months after Delta's founding on January 13, 1913 at Howard University (page 57).

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus Saves!

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