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On January 13, 1913, twenty-two undergraduate women at Howard University in Washington, D.C. founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.


Over the years, numerous collegiate and alumnae chapters have been chartered, across the United States and internationally. And, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, there were many alumnae Deltas, but only one (1) alumnae chapter. That chapter met and held events in the south part of Baton Rouge, while many of the chapter Sorors lived in the north Baton Rouge community, then known as Scotlandville. For these members, traveling to meetings and participating in Delta activities was challenging.  


At that time, with a shortage of automobiles in the African American community, and the considerable distance to be traveled, several Sorors found it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to be as active as they desired. Those Sorors, Theresa Rice Love, Euloise Shamberger Chapman, and Francis Holt Austin, met several times with Soror Corrine D. Maybuce, then Southwest Regional Director, and Soror Virtle T. Jones, president of Upsilon Sigma (the Delta chapter located in south Baton Rouge) to make application for chartering a new chapter to accommodate the Sorors in the Scotlandville community. The Charter was granted October 10, 1956 to Epsilon Xi Sigma Chapter with thirty-one members.



Epsilon Xi Sigma First Chapter Membership

Seated left to right:  Hazel Davis*, treasurer; Jewel Thompson*, recording secretary; Frances Kraft*, corresponding secretary; Juanita Harrison, Ora Lee*, Wilhilimena Owens*, Theresa Sims, Sereetta Reed*, Evelyn Williams*, Rosa Mumford*, sergeant-at-arms; Delores Kelly*, and Lillian Walker*, chaplain.  Standing left to right:  Audrey Hedgespeth*, Allene Knighten*, Majorie Oliver, Geneva Southall, Tella Debose, Dorothy Stevenson, Evelyn Lawlah, Arleen Edmondson, Ann Dumas, Theresa Love*, president; Ruth Crawford, Willie White, Frances Austin*, vice-president; Ann Jones*, Rhoda Carmichael*, journalist; Euloise Chapman*, historian; and Deborah Fisher*.  Not pictured:  Almira Boley*, Lucille Jones, Carriebel Holmes*, M.C. Meadors*, Joella Hardman*, Lena Lockhart*, Marcia Mitchell, Bernice Edwards*, Joan Agnes Dawson*, Meryl Hedgemon*, Betty Lou Johnson*, Rose King*, Jane Lee*, Lena Morton*, and Sophronia S. Steele*.


 Soror Theresa Rice Love was selected as the first president of the newly formed chapter, serving 1956-1958. The name of the new chapter was later changed to Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter, in compliance with a new National initiative to designate alumnae chapters by city. Since that time, Baton Rouge Sigma has been under the leadership of 20 other presidents.

In 1964, realizing that there were other outstanding women in the community who could make valuable contributions to the Sorority, the Chapter conducted its first membership intake process. Accepting the Chapter’s invitation to become members were **Dorothy E. Davis, *Helen M. Gist, *Olivia G. Harris, and *Mary Ann Pettis Johnson. Since that time, through 2020, Baton Rouge Sigma has grown through thirteen-chapter initiations and members transferring from other chapters, increasing its membership, in various years, to over 350 members. 

Supporting the Sorority’s Five-Programmatic Thrust and Commissions over the past sixty-six years, and through the leadership of twenty-two Chapter presidents, Baton Rouge Sigma has significantly impacted the citizens of the Baton Rouge and Louisiana communities by addressing general and specific needs providing scholarships and merit awards to graduating high school seniors, conducting voter registration drives, economic development workshops, mental health seminars, international awareness events, supported the local food bank, Senior Citizen Brunch and Health Fairs, adopt-a-family support, to name a few. The Chapter has also recognized artists locally and throughout Louisiana with the Delta Pearl Award, held Jabberwock productions, sponsored Lena Horne in concert, conducted Crimson and Cream Capers, conducted the popular Ladies on the Bluff event, hosted the renowned Dallas Black Dance Theatre, along with the Master Class Dance Workshop, and numerous other events. 


Baton Rouge Sigma Past Presidents

Top Left: Y. Jean Whitley (deceased), Dorothy Davis, Brenda Moncriffe, Blanche Smith, Twana Malveaux
Bottom Left: Claudia Fisher, Shirley Whitfield, Ruth Crawford (deceased), Shelia Lewis, Frances Marsh-Ellis (deceased)

With sixty-sixty years of continuous, dedicated service to Baton Rouge and surrounding communities (and beyond), performed by hundreds of committed and energetic Chapter Sorors, Baton Rouge Sigma has positively impacted the area in numerous ways. Notably, in August 2005 following the catastrophic devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Chapter and the Sorors opened their hearts, doors, and pocketbooks to those devastatingly impacted by the flood. The American Red Cross also used the Center for some of its operations.

In recognizing the need to have a dedicated space for meetings and other events and activities, planning for the construction of a building began. In 1997, the members of Baton Rouge Sigma held a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the construction of the Baton Rouge Sigma Life Development Center. Fourteen months later, the half-million-dollar facility was completed and ready for occupancy. Eleven years later, in March 2008, the mortgage on the Life Development Center was paid in full.  Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter continues to carry the Delta Torch with renewed energy and commitment to meet the many 21st century needs of the community, city, state, and region, with programming to advance the political, education, social and economic conditions. It is the perpetual objective of the Chapter leadership and membership to continue to consistently further its goals, providing programming to improve these conditions, moving towards social activism and greater public service. And, with the proliferation and usage of technology and social media, Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter has the capability of reaching additional citizens, providing access to those who would​ otherwise be deprived of the programs and services of the Chapter.


Frances Holt Austin
Alice Almira Boley
Rhoda Jordan Carmichael  

Euloise Shamberger Chapman

 Hazel Bradley Davis

Δ Joan Agnes Oby Dawson

Bernice Edwards-Frisby

Deborah Shackleford Fisher

Joella Hardman

Meryl Perry Hedgemo

Carriebel-Beck Holmes
Betty Lou Johnson
Ann Andrews Jones
Delores Kelly Jackson
Ora Kelly-Lee
 Rose Marie King
 Frances S. Kraft-Hunter
Jane E. Lee-Ball
Lena William Lockhart
Theresa Rice Love 
 Mary Cooper Meadors
Lena Bernice Morton

 Rose V. Hendricks Mumford

 Wilhelmenia Rutledge Owens

Allene Knighten Rayford

Δ Sereetta Hymes Reed 

Sophronia Stanley Steele

Jewel Tatum Thompson

Lillian Daniels Walker

Evelyn Williams


*Theresa Rice Love (1956-1958)

*Frances Kraft-Hunter  (1958-1960)

*Frances Marsh-Ellis  (1960-1963 & 1969-1971)

*Vhanessa McHenry  (1963-1964)

*Ann Jones (1964-1967)

*Thelma Cobb (1965-1967)

*Juanita Harrison (1967-1969)

Dorothy Davis (1971-1973)

*Frederica McGhee (1973-1975)

Shirley Whitfield (1975-1979)

Ruth Crawford (1979-1983)

*Y. Jean Whitley (1983-1987)

*Carol Adams (1987-1991)

Brenda Moncriffe (1991-1995)

Claudia Fisher (1995-1999) 

Twana Malveaux  (1999-2003)

Sheila Lewis (2003-2007)

Blanche Smith (2007-2011)

Debra Ephrom (2011-2015)

Jerrie Booker (2015-2019) 

Chi Joseph Franklin (2019-2023)   

* Deceased         

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