A Celebration of an African American Sorority: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc

Article excerpt

During the Jim Crow years, African Americans responded with new institutions and by nationalizing local organizations. In the early years of the 20th century, as the number of African Americans attending colleges and universities expanded, Black youth created fraternities and sororities. (1)

As a recent graduate with a degree in education and a specialization in the social studies, I was elated to have the opportunity to write an article for the ASALH Black History Bulletin's volume highlighting a celebration of community. Specifically I was pleased that this volume focused on a tribute to black fraternal, social and civic institutions. As a new social studies teacher, I am always searching for ways to infuse African American history and the history of other cultures, races and ethnicities into the lessons and units I teach. One reason for my search is that textbooks often focus only on the usual historical heroes". (2) I, therefore, am committed to culturally responsive teaching (3) and seek opportunities to expand my lessons to include a variety of cultures and information about their customs, cultural organizations, and other salient information. One way to do this, I have found, is to celebrate diverse cultural perspectives, institutions and traditions. I perceive these celebrations to be a educational commemoration of a past event or a person in relation to familial, cultural, communal or state and national traditions (birthdays, holidays etc.). As well, I perceive these celebrations to be in recognition of the diverse world in which we live.

For the purpose of this article, I am presenting a lesson plan that celebrates an organization whose self-sacrificial expressions of peace and love, through their donations of time, money, volunteerism, and community development, is a genuinely worthy reason for celebration. It is their acts of peace and love within US communities and the world abroad that I believe give us hope for the world in which we live, as well as hope that the courage of the members in this organization never falters and their willingness to contribute to disadvantaged communities or persons in need is never-ending. This is a celebration of the powerful impact of a black sorority that has positively impacted society--Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Notes

(1.) Black Institutions in the Making of Our History (2005). Daryl Michael Scott. ASALH's Annual Theme Magazine, Vol. 2. Published by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Annual Theme Magazine is written for the general public to advance its knowledge of significant historical events, individuals, and developments in the history of African Americans and other populations in the African Diaspora.

(2.) Text books usually focus on our African American leaders, usually deceased, (i.e., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, etc) and do not expand opportunities for students to learn specifically about African American cultural mores, traditions, and customs or other notable African American leaders and/or their contributions to American history.

(3.) Geneva Gay, Culturally Responsive Teaching. (New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2000).29.

Lesson Plan

A celebration of an African American Sorority: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

by Danver Ann Chandler

Big Idea

People influence society

Connections to Middle, High and Post-Secondary School

In the study of African American social organizations and their history, it becomes convenient for teachers to stick to the. We may focus on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Yet we do not bring to light the current influences of other historical organizations that have deep impacts at the local, national, global level--relevant and current influences that may be of interest of our students. …