Ethel Cuff Black

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Ethel Cuff Black
Ethel L. Cuff

October 17, 1890 [1]
DiedSeptember 17, 1977(1977-09-17) (aged 86)
NationalityUnited States
Known forCo-founder of Delta Sigma Theta

Ethel Cuff Black (1890–1977) was one of the founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She was elected the sorority’s first vice president and attended the Deltas’ first public event, the Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington, D.C., in March 1913. Prominent suffragist Mary Church Terrell lobbied on behalf of the Deltas to win them a place in the parade, where they were the only African American organization represented.[2] [3]

Ethel was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Her father, Richard Cuff, was a tanner in an African-American owned business.[1] Her maternal grandfather was a Civil War veteran.[4] In Bordentown, New Jersey, she attended the Industrial School for Colored Youth and graduated with the highest grade point average. At Howard University, she was chairwoman of the collegiate chapter of the YWCA.[5] During college, she was also the vice-president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, but later voted to reorganize the sorority and formed Delta Sigma Theta with twenty-one other women[6] Due to illness,[clarification needed] she graduated Howard in 1915.[7] She was also the first African-American teacher in Rochester, New York.[8] She was married in 1939 to real estate agent David Horton Black.[9]


  1. ^ a b Birth record at Delaware Vital Records, 1650-1974
  2. ^ Hidden Figures Suffrage Movement
  3. ^ Senate Resolution 13
  4. ^ Giddings, Paula (1988). In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 33. 0688135099.
  5. ^ Giddings op. ed. pp. 39
  6. ^ Giddings op. ed. pp. 48
  7. ^ Giddings op. ed. pp. 65
  8. ^ Founders Biography. Kappa Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta at the University of Oklahoma Archived 2007-11-11 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed on August 15, 2007.
  9. ^ Giddings op. ed. pp. 185.

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