Soror Lillian Pierce Benbow
Soror Benbow, 15th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Soror Pierce found Delta in none other than the Alpha Upsilon Chapter at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, TN. She held this national office from 1971-1975. Under the leadership of Lillian Pierce Benbow, the sorority's Arts and Letters Commission produced a film, "Countdown at Kusini," because she felt that they should control some of the means of cultural production, and the images of African American women.
Soror Lois Deberry
Soror Lois Deberry is the Speaker Pro Tempore for the Tennessee House of Representatives. She is the first African American woman to be elected to the position. Deberry found Delta at LeMoyne-Owen College. She graduated at the top of her class in 1971. Afterwards in 1972, she ran for State Representative and won. She has been serving in the Tennessee General Assembly since. In 1977, The Deberry Special Needs Facility in Nashville, TN was named in her honor. This institute provides physical and mental services to prison inmates. Some of her accomplishments and organizations include: President emeritus of National Black Caucus of State Legislators; State Legislative Leaders Foundation; NAACP; P.U.S.H.; S.R.E.B.; NOBEL Women and Memphis Chapter of LINKS.
Soror Marion Mae Speight
Soror Marion Mae Speight graduated from LeMoyne-Owen College in 1940. Upon graduation she furthered her education at Atlanta University where she received her Master’s degree in Foreign Language. She also studied French in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she attained a Certificat d’Etude de Le’Ecole Normale d’Institutrices. In 1942, she moved to Daytona Beach, Florida where she was interviewed and hired by Soror Mary McLeod Bethune to teach at Bethune College. She taught foreign languages there until her passing in 2005. Soror Speight pledged Alpha Upsilon in 1940. She was also a charter member of the Gamma Zeta Sigma Chapter in 1946, later to be named Daytona Beach Alumnae Chapter (1960).
Soror Johnnie Turner
Soror Johnnie Rodgers-Turner is the Executive Director of the Memphis Chapter of the NAACP. Turner has the distinction of holding the top two highest records in the entire NAACP for membership drives. She is also the past president of the NAACP Memphis Branch , a past president of Delta Sigma Theta - Memphis Alumnae Chapter, a founding member and past president of the Memphis Alliance of Black School Educators (MABSE), honored in the 2004 edition of “Great Women in the 21st Century”, “Women Making a Difference Award” presented by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Johnnie Rodgers (Turner) pledged Alpha Upsilon in the Spring of 1960. She was 1 of the only two honors graduates from LeMoyne-Owen in 1962. She has been a staunch community activist and freedom fighter. She took part in every local protest, demonstration, and sit-in. She was involved in a Supreme Court case when she was arrested at the Overton Park Shell for “sitting where she wanted instead of where she was told.”
Big shoes to fill…
** More to Come **