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History of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana by Mary Lou Allison Little and six teachers: Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Dulin Redford, Bessie M. Downey Martin and Cubena McClure. The charter members are the founders of Sigma Gamma Rho. The group became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to Alpha chapter at Butler University.

The first three years were devoted to organizing. The first call for a national boule (convention) was held in Indianapolis, December 27-29, 1925. The second was held in Louisville, Kentucky at which time Fannie O'Bannon became the grand basileus.

The first grand basileus, Mary Lou Little, wrote the sorority pledge. The pin was designed by Cubena McClure. The slogan, "Greater Service, Greater Progress," was written by Bertha Black Rhoda, a past grand basileus. Members of the Delta chapter in Louisville, Kentucky wrote the words of the sorority hymn which has since been set to music by Zenobia Laws Bailey of Chicago. Fannie O'Bannon, the second grand basileus, designed the sorority coat of arms.

In keeping with the ideals of Sigma Gamma Rho, the sorority has supported the following organizations: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Council of Negro Women, National Pan Hellenic Council, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Urban League, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, National Mental Health Association, United Negro College Fund, Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, Black Women's Agenda and American Association of University Women.

The sorority flower is the yellow tea rose.

The sorority mascot is the french toy poodle.

The sorority colors are royal blue and gold.

The pin is an open book. The foundation of the whole pin is a torch. There are ten pearls on the edge of the book and two rubies.

The coat of arms consists of the lamp of learning, the quill, the serpent of the medical staff, two stars, the skull and cross-swords, and the fasces (bundle of sticks).

Among the awards given by Sigma Gamma Rho, the most coveted is the Blanche Edwards Award. It is bestowed at each national convention upon the most outstanding Sigma of the year for achievement on a national scope.

The Aurora, the official quarterly publication of Sigma Gamma Rho, was first printed in 1930. Its purpose is to keep chapters informed about Sigma news and accomplishments.

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