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Sorority History


Founded January 16, 1920

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. began as an idea conceived by five phenomenal women at Howard University in Washington D.C.: Arizona Cleaver Stemons, Myrtle Tyler Faithful, Viola Tyler Goings, Fannie Pettie Watts, and Pearl Anna Neal. These five women dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for black women and sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts on Scholarship, Service, Sisterly Love and Finer Womanhood. It was the idea of the Founders that the Sorority would reach college women in all parts of the country who were sorority-minded and desired to follow the founding principles of the organization.


Since its inception, the Sorority has chronicled several firsts. Zeta Phi Beta was the first Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa (1948); to form adult and youth auxiliary groups; to centralize its operations in a national headquarters; and to be constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Auxiliary Groups

Zeta Phi Beta has a long history of auxiliary organizations. In 1940, graduate chapters noticed that there were women in the community with the same ideas as the women of the sorority. Yet, for various reasons, these women were not able to attend college, and therefore were not eligible for membership in Zeta Phi Beta.


To help alleviate these problems, Zeta Phi Beta created several successful auxiliary groups, which included:

Amicae – Meaning friends in Latin the Amicae were organized in 1948 for women who do not have college degrees but have interest in assisting local auxiliaries with activities.

Archonettes– Youth group for young ladies aged 14 to 18 currently in high school.

Amicettes– Youth group for girls aged 9 to 13.

Pearlettes– Youth group for younger girls aged 4 to 8.

Zeta Male Network– The gentlemen in the lives of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. members.


National Programs

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. has long demonstrated an interest in serving the needs of the community. Zeta’s signature programs include:

  • Z-HOPE– An interactive, holistic, and multidimensional outreach service initiative designed to enhance, cultivate, and empower participants to develop health promoting lifestyle choices across the lifespan.

  • Stork’s Nest– Since 1972, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority has enjoyed a partnership with March of Dimes to encourage women to seek prenatal care within the first trimester of pregnancy, thereby increasing the prevention of birth defects and infant mortality.

  • National Education Foundation– The principal activities and purpose of the National Educational Foundation of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. are to award scholarship grants to worthy students for the pursuit of higher education; to conduct community educational programs which will aid in the educational development of all women; and to engage in any appropriate research related to the purposes of the Foundation scholarship.

  • Human Genome Project – Begun formally in 1990, the Human Genome Project is a 13-year effort to coordinate by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health

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