Founded March 6, 1976

Charter Members

Jacqueline Armwood*
Letha Mayfield*
Rachel Brydie
Mamie Morris*
Ortygia Carnette
Pernella Mosley
Jacqueline T. Downs
Connie M. Rawlins*
Grace P. Forrest
Mary W. Redd*
Adelaide Griffin*
Helen R. Stiff
Marbella Johnson*
Barbara W. Toney
Elizabeth H. Washington
  * Deceased


For several years, ladies in Farmville, Virginia area were anxious to charter a graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. This was not possible because there were not enough ladies known in the area to meet the constitutional requirements of the National Directorate.

Under the excellent leadership of the late Letha Mayfield, and with the assistance of Jacqueline Armwood, Mamie Morris, Connie Rawlins, Helen Stiff, and Elizabeth H. Washington was made to find the other nine ladies needed to charter the chapter. Through personal contacts, visits, and phone calls, the goal of fifteen members was finally achieved. In Prince Edward County, Mary Redd, Ortygia Carnette, Adelaide Griffin, and Barbara Toney would join the noble organization. Pernella Mosley answered the call from Buckingham County. Rachel Brydie of Lunenburg and Jacqueline Downs of Nottoway County were eager to affiliate and give their support. Marbella Johnson of Charlotte County and Grace Forrest of Appomattox County helped to complete the required number. Letha Mayfield was elected President and Elizabeth H. Washington, Vice President. In July 1975, ladies met and wrote a letter to Janet J. Ballard, Regional Director, and assured her that the Farmville area was ideal for sponsoring a graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which would include membership from five surrounding counties.

After receiving the approval to formulate the chapter, the next step was to plan the chartering ceremony which was conducted by Janet L. Ballard on March 6, 1976, at Longwood College by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, and ladies of Gamma Iota Omega Chapter, Lynchburg, Virginia; Gamma Lambda Omega Chapter, Lawrenceville, Virginia; and Upsilon Omega Chapter, Richmond, Virginia were present and participated in the activities. At the reception held at the Weyanoke Hotel, Janet Ballard spoke about the objectives of the Sorority and welcomed the visiting friends and members of Greek letter organizations that were invited. Bernice L. Sumlin was president at the time.

Following the chartering of Kappa Rho Omega Chapter, Letha Mayfield and Elizabeth H. Washington were elected President and Vice President respectively. Helen Stiff and Barbara Toney later organized an Alpha Kappa Alpha interest group at Longwood College. This group led to the chartering of Lambda Delta Chapter, the first black Greek letter organization at Longwood College campus on February 19, 1977.

Past informative and inspirational LEADSHIP DEVELOPMENT workshops, focused on the International Program Targets, have led to the success of the following community activities sponsored by the chapter annually: 1. FAMILY- adopt a family; canned goods drives; nursing home visits and donations; coat drives; workshops with area attorneys, juvenile counselors and probation officers to increase awareness of the problems of African American males and the judicial system; voter registration; 2. EDUCATION-scholarships, donations to libraries, NAACP, UNCF, SEND, and AFRICARE; Girls State; partnerships, donations to libraries, NAACP, UNCF, SEND, reading projects; and tutorial and mentoring programs for "at risk" students. 3. ECONOMICS- economic development workshops; support of black businesses; 4. HEALTH- annual bloodmobiles; hospital volunteer duty; health fairs; and child safety sessions; 5. THE ARTS-senior citizens' talent programs; "Ballet Hispanico; the Richmond Boys' Choir and community service awards. 6. Read Across America Day 7. Health Resource Management workshops held on stress management and anger management; participated in a local school's field day activities, sponsored and encouraged to walk as part of the "ESP 1908 Centennial Walk".

The signature program, "Emerging Young Leaders" (2010-2014) is a continuation of the previous programs that have served to cultivate and encourage high scholastic achievement. Chapter members work with 6th-8th grade girls at Amelia County Middle School in the areas of leadership development, educational enrichment, civic engagement and character building.

Both individually and collectively chapter members have consistently focused on the international program targets that have led to the success of numerous community activities. The adopt-a-family programs, can goods drives, Meals on Wheels, nursing home visits and donations, coat drives, voter registration, scholarship awards, area library donations, bloodmobiles, hospital gift ship duty, health fairs, including free mammograms, and senior citizens' talent programs are just a few of the programs such as the NAACP, UNCF, AFRICARE, and Heifer International. The chapter has received several 3-Star Rocket, Silver, and Platinum awards for EAF donations.

Forty-one years of excellent leadership has continued from the first President, the late Letha Mayfield (76-78) to Elizabeth H. Washington (78-80); Vera A. Cooke (80-82); Theresa A. Clark (82-84); Helen R. Stiff (84-86); Linda Whitehead (86-88); Avis J. Gresby (88-90); Vera Cooke-Merritt (90-92); Angeles W. Christian (92-94); Barbara W. Toney (94-96); Jean E. Booker (96-97); Vera Cooke-Merritt (97-98) and (98-2000); Theresa A. Clark (2000-2001); Avis J. Gresby (2001-02); (2002-04); Carolyn Cooper (2004-2006); Lalisha V. Fitchett-Bland (2006-2008); Vera Cooke-Merritt (2008-2010); Cynthia Evans (2011); Jacqueline Gooden-Seay (2012-2013); Dana Ratliffe-Walker (2014-15); Jacqueline Gooden-Seay (2016); and Mary M. Smith (2017) and currently Sasha Trent Johnson (2018-present).

During the May meeting of each year, we remember those charter members who have now become Ivies Beyond the Wall. Recognition is given to the Late Letha Mayfield, Jacqueline Armwood, Pernella Mosley, Connie Rawlins, Mamie Morris, and Marbella Johnson. Other Ivies Beyond the Wall are also recognized during the memorial moments. We strive to continue the work of service to all mankind that was started with that dedicated group in 1976.

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