Minnie B. Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Minnie B. Smith
Minnie B. Smith.JPG
Died 1919[1]
Occupation sophomore founder and incorporator of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; teacher

Minnie B. Smith was an incorporator of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first sorority founded by African-American women. Although Smith died young in the influenza epidemic in 1919, the legacy she created with Alpha Kappa Alpha has continued to generate social capital for nearly 100 years.

Smith graduated from Howard University in 1912. She taught at the Mott School while attending college.[1]

Howard University and incorporation[edit]

When Smith graduated from Howard University, it was the top historically black college in the nation. It was a time when only 1/3 of 1% of African Americans and 5% of whites of eligible age attended any college.[2]

When hearing plans of twenty-two members desiring to cede from Alpha Kappa Alpha in order to form a new sorority, Nellie Quander contacted graduate members, including Smith, in order to stop the proposals.[3] As a result, Smith, Quander, Norma Boyd, Julia Evangeline Brooks, Nellie Pratt Russell and Ethel Jones Mowbray incorporated Alpha Kappa Alpha on January 29, 1913.[4] The dissenters formed another sorority entitled, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.[4] Smith served as the secretary of the incorporating committee and as Supreme Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha, while Quander was away studying mentally handicapped children in Delaware.[1][5]

In 1919, Smith contracted the Spanish influenza, and died shortly after contracting the disease.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Minnie B Smith". Theta Rho Chapter at Virginia Commonwealth University - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  2. ^ James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988, p.245
  3. ^ McNealey, Earnestine G. (2006). Pearls of Service: The Legacy of America’s First Black Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  p. 66.
  4. ^ a b 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. 53. 0688135099. 
  5. ^ McNealey 2006, op. cit., p. 67.