Alpha Kappa Alpha was brought to the mid-west by Soror Beulah Elizabeth Burke, one of the original nine founders, who came to Kansas City, Kansas to teach. Soror Burke founded Delta, the fourth chapter of the sorority at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas in 1915, and Lambda (now Beta Omega Chapter in Kansas City, Missouri), the second graduate chapter of the sorority, in Kansas City Missouri, in 1920. Soror Burke's commitment to building the sorority in the mid-west, coupled with then Supreme Basileus Nellie Quander's determination that Alpha Kappa Alpha should "expand to every nook and corner of our land", provided a solid foundation for what we now know as the Mid-Western Region.
A significant pivot event in the development of Mid-Western Region was the birth and early education of Lorraine Richardson in Kansas City. She was initiated in Beta Chapter in Chicago where she received the Bachelor's and Master's degrees, then elected Second Supreme Basileus in 1919.
Soror Lorraine R. Green returned to Kansas City, Missouri, to preside over the Fifth Boule' at Lincoln High School, her alma mater, in 1922. Soror Beulah Burke served as Hostess Basileus for this auspicious occasion which attracted sorors from the Pacific Coast as well as the mid-west. Attendance at the Fifth Boule' was testimony that Alpha Kappa Alpha had expanded to a national organization.
Chapter growth continued in the mid-west with the establishment of Upsilon in Topeka, Kansas, in 1923, and Mu Omega in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1924 with Soror Beulah Burke as one of the charter members. Alpha Epsilon Omega, Alpha Kappa, and Alpha Iota were chartered in 1928 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Greeley, Colorado, and Topeka, Kansas, respectively.
Soror Beulah Burke also served as Mid-Western Organizer (Regional Director). Other sorors who served in this capacity in the early years included Blanche L. Patterson, St. Louis, Western Organizer, and Maida P. McCullough.
In 1923, definite geographic regions were made a part of the structure of the organization. The designation, "Regional Director," was introduced in 1924, and Judith Syms Wisdom, Beta Omega, assumed the helm in 1925. Under Soror Wisdom's leadership, the first Mid-Western Regional Conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1925 with Beta Omega and Mu Omega, co-hosting.
The growth and development of the Mid-Western Region and the whole of Alpha Kappa Alpha continued despite the many and varied problems that plagued African Americans during the 20's and 30's. The sorors realized then, as they do now, that through this great sisterhood, Alpha Kappa Alpha's objectives that are beyond reach as an individual, are achievable as a group. Consequently, Mid-Western flourished even during the Great Depression, World War II, and other periods of devastation.
Sorors of the Mid-Western Region have been deeply involved in all phases of the Alpha Kappa Alpha program. The number of sorors who have held national/international offices are too numerous to include herein; however, Mid-Western proudly boasts that of the twenty-two Supreme Basilei, four of them have roots in Mid-Western:
Soror Lorraine Richardson Green, Second Supreme Basileus
Soror Edna Over (Campbell) Gray, Twelfth Supreme Basileus was born in Kansas City, Kansas and received elementary and high school education in Denver, Colorado. She was initiated in Delta Chapter at University of Kansas.
Soror Laura Lovelace, Thirteenth Supreme Basileus, was born in Pueblo, Colorado, and attended elementary and high school there.
Soror Larzette Golden Hale, Seventeenth Supreme Basileus, was born in Idabel, Oklahoma, and received elementary and high school education in Taft, Oklahoma. She was a charter member and First Basileus of Alpha Zeta Chapter at Langston University.
The growth and development of Mid-Western in the future requires the same level of commitment, dedication, loyalty, togetherness, and undaunted faith that have been the benchmarks of the past. With these attributes, Mid-Western will move ahead in Alpha Kappa Alpha toward ". . . .Greater Laurels to Win . . . "
reprint from 60th Mid-Western Regional Conference program,
Soror Wessylyne A. Simpson, 22nd Mid-Western Regional Director