Alpha Zeta Omega Chapter History
Alpha Zeta Omega was chartered on April 14, 1928 by eight interested members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., who desired to set up a chapter in Durham, North Carolina. These members were Marjorie Shepard, Frances Eagleson, Bernice W. Jones, Jean Holtzclaw, Byrd Jackson, Beatrice Qualls Burnette, Aida Fortune and Gladys Powell. Vivian Mason, South Atlantic Regional Director established the chapter which remained a part of the South Atlantic Regional until 1953. Alpha Zeta Omega then became a part of the newly created Mid-Atlantic Region under the leadership of Rose Butler Browne, the first Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and a longtime member of the Alpha Zeta Omega Chapter. Alpha Zeta Omega was the first Greek-letter Sorority in the City of Durham as well as the third Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha to be established in the State of North Carolina.
The first officers of the Chapter were:
President: Jean Holtzclaw
Vice President: Bernice Jones
Secretary: Beatrice Burnette
Treasurer: Frances Eagleson
Corresponding Secretary: Alda Fortune
Gertrude Taylor and Clydie Scarborough were the first new members to be initiated into the chapter.
The membership of Alpha Zeta Omega includes talented and professional women who represent high ethical and moral standards. Alpha Zeta Omega has a long legacy of promoting and upholding the policies, initiatives and programs of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority as envisioned by our founders, to be of service to those within the Durham community. Our cornerstone programs over the years have included The Links to Learning Program, an afterschool tutorial program for middle school students and the annual scholarship program highlighted through our AKA Cotillion. Other initiatives have included programs for the community including economic/financial literacy, promoting breast cancer awareness, entrepreneurial workshops and assisting families in becoming self-sufficient. Annually Alpha Zeta Omega makes contributions to organizations whose mission is consistent with our goals of providing services which enhance the quality of life for citizens of the Greater Durham area. Organizations which have received funding from our sorority include the Durham Crisis and Response Center, Durham Rescue Mission, John Avery Boys & Girls Club, Meals on Wheels, Sickle Cell Foundation, National Council of Negro Women, Women in Action, SeeSaw Studios, Inc., UNCF and the Merrick-Washington Magazine.