Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
The year was 1920. It was the start of the decade, shortly after World War One and a time of great prosperity for the country. Women were called dames, dolls, or the cat's meow. At the beginning of the decade, women still wore long skirts but the "Roaring 20s" brought a new look of short skirts and smartly coiffed shorter hair. Racial tensions were high and quotas set for immigrants coming into America. The Klan was very active during this period. The Harlem Renaissance was acknowledged as the first important movement of black artists and writers in the US. The Volstead Act became effective, heralding the start of Prohibition and later that year, Tennessee delivered the crucial 36th ratification necessary for the final adoption of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. The worst and longest economic recession to ever hit the United States would define the end of the decade-the Great Depression. It was in this environment that Zeta Phi Beta came to fruition.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was Founded January 16, 1920, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. The idea was conceived by five collegiate women, also known as “The Five Pearls”: Arizona Cleaver, Pearl A. Neal, Myrtle Tyler, Viola Tyler, and Fannie Pettie, with the assistance of Most Honorable Founder, Bro. A. Langston Taylor and Bro. Robert Samuel Taylor.
Zeta’s Founders believed in the need for a new and different type of Greek-lettered organization and acted upon that need. To them, this was far more than an organization-it was a movement, a belief system that reflected, at its core, the desire to provide true Service, to embrace Scholarship, to set a standard for Sisterly Love and to define the noble concept of Finer Womanhood. This belief has sustained and encouraged Zetas around the world to hold fast to the ideals initiated and developed by its earliest members.
Zeta's national and local programs include endowment of its National Educational Foundation, community outreach services and support of multiple affiliate organizations. Zeta chapters and auxiliary groups have given untotaled hours of voluntary service to educate the public, assist youth, provide scholarships, support organized charities and promote legislation for social and civic change.