Gary Alumnae History

THE BEGINNING

In 1938 seven women from Northwest Indiana petitioned Grand Chapter for a charter for a mixed chapter for Gary, Indiana. The chapter was proclaimed as the Beta Nu Chapter.  The first President of Beta Nu was Soror Edna Johnson Morris.  Mrs. Morris is noted for writing a rough draft of the history of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In 1975 Beta Nu Chapter became Gary Alumnae Chapter and since that time more than $200,000 in academic and community service scholarships have been awarded to high school college-bound girls; nearly 2,000 savings bonds have been awarded to middle school and high school students who have overcome significant challenges in their lives, their schools and the community; school uniforms and prom dresses have been distributed to several hundred students; Young women in Kenya have been supported for pre-natal care and water wells purchased for the health and well-being of communities in Ghana; Hundreds of citizens have received free health screenings; thousands of paired shoes have been donated to Haiti and African villages; toiletry packages donated to several shelters in NWI for women who have suffered from domestic violence issues and thousands have been fed through the annual Thanksgiving Dinner program.

The Delta House Timeline in Gary, Indiana

  • The first Delta house of Beta Nu Chapter was located on a site in the 2600 block of Harrison Street in Gary, Indiana.
  • In order to purchase an elegant two-story house and maintain that elegance, funds came from both the chapter treasury and generous contributions from chapter members.
  • The large living and dining rooms served as the chapter meeting room and the bedrooms were used for committee meetings and storage for Delta properties.
  • The Delta house was not only used for chapter meetings and activities, it was also rented to other greek organizations for their activities as well as the place for hosting wedding receptions.
  • In order to oversee the property, the House Director, an office of the chapter, was a very important office. Both Edna Morris and Edith Franklin served for many years in this key position.
  • As years passed, more and more work was required on the Delta house. Of course, money became more important as repairs became necessary. It was decided by the chapter to transform the Delta house into rental property which contained four (4) rental apartments. According to statements from Beta Nu Charter members, “Some of the tenants were great but there were those who proved to be a liability by damaging the apartments and others who refused to live up to their financial agreement.” With all of these challenges, the chapter continued to work hard to keep up the Delta rental property.
  • Because of the needed repairs, the house no longer was used for meetings. Members opened up their homes for meetings and activities. Edith Franklin opened up her home often for meetings and activities. Ana Broomes of East Chicago also graciously opened up her beautiful home where many Founders Day celebrations were held as well as other chapter events. Mrs. Broomes’ home affectionately became known as the “East Chicago Delta House.”

CULTURAL EVENTS

  • Beta Nu and Gary Alumnae has always been known for bringing cultural events, Broadway theatrical productions and world renowned musicians to Gary. Before West Side High School and the West Side Theater Guild, Delta was on the move. Many of these events were held at Roosevelt High School and at the historic Memorial Auditorium. Some of the outstanding theatrical productions presented were; “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” “Bubbling Brownsugar,” “The Wiz,” and “Where Were You In 1965?”  In addition to these world renowned productions, some outstanding entertainment legends frequented Gary due to Delta’s Arts and Letters’ committees such as comedienne Moms Mabley, and jazz legends Duke Ellington, Nancy Wilson, Billy Eckstein and Wes Montgonery.  Economics pushed an increase in prices for artists and productions, and as a result, Gary Alumnae Chapter united with the West Side Theater Guild in bringing cultural events to Gary.

THE UNIQUENESS OF BETA NU AND GARY ALUMNAE

  • Three GAC members have held national offices: Edna Johnson Morris (National Secretary 1921-1923) under National President Sadie T. M. Alexander; Ruth Sloan Taylor (National Secretary 1975-1979 under National President Thelma T. Daley); Ethel Pannel, a little lady but filled with strength, boldness and fortitude, was appointed Sergeant At Arms and served in this position for many years.  Hortense House served as State Coordinator and represented Gary Alumnae well with her commitment, knowledge and love for Delta.
  • Not only did Beta Nu/Gary Alumnae have members who served as National officers, many National officers also came to Gary. Each praised the GAC members for the royal treatment that they received and they looked forward to returning to our fair city. National Presidents who came to Gary: Lillian P. Benbow, Frankie Freeman, Esq., Mona H. Bailey, Thelma T. Daley. Hortense Canady, Marcia L. Fudge, Cynthia McIntyre-Butler, and current National President Beverly Smith. Other Delta members of National and Regional prominence who came to Gary include  Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Barbara Curtis, Carol Ware, Darlene Pollard, Dr. Mona Y. Davenport, Kimberly Offord, Suzzanne Douglass-Cobb and Sheryl Lee Ralph.
  • It goes without saying that Gary has a unique chapter of extraordinary, dedicated, committed Deltas. Those who have relocated to other cities and chapters voice the same sentiment: “There is no place like home.”
  • From 1963-1975, twenty-two (22) presidents served Beta Nu; since 1975, seventeen (17) presidents have served Gary Alumnae.
  • Three members of Gary Alumnae currently hold state, national and regional positions for the 2017-2018 sorority year.
  • Marcedia Bolden is the Indiana State Coordinator, Shanta Belyeu is a member of the National Audit Committee,  Terri Monroe Weems is a member of the regional nominating committee, Ashley Pratt is the Indiana State Secretary and Deborah Hendricks-Black is appointed to a special committee for the State of Indiana.
  • Gary Alumnae members hold key positions in our service area: Karen Freeman-Wilson is the Mayor of the City of Gary; Deidre Monroe is the City Judge for the City of Gary; Mary Brown is the 3rd District Council Woman for the City of Gary; Rosie Washington is the immediate Past President of the Gary School Board; and Dr. Sharon Johnson-Shirley is the Superintendent of the Lake Ridge School Corporation.  In addition to these key positions, many GAC members are prominent doctors and nurse practitioners with their own practices, lawyers, school principals, accountants, corporation presidents, business owners, corporation CEOs and high level administrators and managers and sit on numerous boards in Lake and Porter Counties.
  • Gary Alumnae Chapter continues to excel and is known as the “Cream of the Crop” thanks to our rich history, outstanding legacy, projects, programming, commitment, love dedicated members.
  • Indiana State Coordinator Marcedia Bolden & GAC members are instrumental in assisting the State of Indiana obtain it’s green light for a Delta Sigma Theta license plate to be revealed in 2019.

Marcedia Bolden
Indiana State Coordinator

 

GARY ALUMNAE LOGO & CREST

  • The Gary Alumnae crest was designed by GAC Past Presidents Ernestine Dobbins and Wilma Logan-Brown
  • It was revealed to the membership in 2012 as a pre-celebration gift of the chapter’s 75th Anniversary
  • The GAC can be seen on members’ paraphernalia and is a permanent fixture of our historic chapter.
  • GAC members adorned the first chapter blazer with the GAC logo at the  Midwest Regional Conference in Indianapolis, IN in June 2016.

GARY ALUMNAE AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  • 2004 Indiana Chapter of the year
  • 2010 Midwest Chapter of the Year
  • 2012 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2013 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2014 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: International Awareness- World AIDS Day 2014
  • 2015 Midwest Region Chapter Award: Economic Development
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: Educational Development Grant Awardee
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: Project 13
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: Heritage & Archives
  • 2015 National Chapter Representatives for the National President’s Academy: EMBODI & GEMS
  • 2015 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2016 Divine 9 Winner- 1st AME Black History Service & Program
  • 2016 NWI Inter-Greek Stroff Off Champions
  • 2017 Divine 9 Winner- 1st AME Black History Program
  • 2017 National Chapter Award-Project 13: March of Dimes Walk/Program
  • 2017 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2017 Crossroads Barber Show Award Recipient (Step & Stroll Team Performance)
  • 2018 Divine 9 Winner- 1st AME Black History Service & Program

*This list is a short summary of awards earned since 2004