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Delta Tidbits

Delta, the Elephant, and Fortitude


Many years ago, Delta Founder, Florence Letcher Toms, began collecting trunk-up elephants as a symbol of good luck. In her honor these beautiful creatures came to be an unofficial symbol for the sorority. Founder Toms' collection, which includes gifts of pachyderms from around the world, was donated to the Delta archives by her widower. The Midwestern Region, according to sources at National Headquarters, initiated Trunk-Up Elephants as a project. The goal is first for collectors to receive one trunk-up elephant gift in representation of each Founder and from there to infinity in terms of number and style. From this simple beginning our unofficial symbol has grown.


The sculpture, Fortitude, symbolizes the attributes of strength, courage, hope, wisdom, beauty and femininity as depicted by our twenty-two Founders. The figure pushes forward as the tension in her thigh portrays strength. Her outstretched hands denote the receiving of love and giving of oneself to others. Her facial features (though not visible here), depict courage and determination, and her color indicates the glorious gradations of pigmentation of African-American women. Fortitude was erected on the Howard University campus mall in 1976.

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