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Our History

Ostenia D. Fleming,
Charter President

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated was founded on January 13, 1913, by 22 collegiate women at Howard University to promote academic excellence and provide assistance to those in need.  The Founders of Delta Sigma Theta envisioned an organization committed to sisterhood, scholarship, service, and addressing the social issues of the time.  Since its founding, Delta Sigma Theta has become one of the preeminent service-based sororities, with more  than 300,000 initiated members and over 1,000 chartered chapters worldwide.

As a sisterhood comprised primarily of Black, college-educated women, the Sorority seriously considers the issues impacting the Black community and boldly confronts the challenges of African Americans and, hence, all Americans.  Over the years, a wide range of programs addressing education, health, international development, and the strengthening of African American families have evolved.  The major programs of the Sorority are based upon the Five-Point Programmatic Thrust:  economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement.  To learn more about our international organization, please click here.


The torch of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. had already been glowing for 35 years when eight sorority members chartered the Gamma Phi Sigma Chapter, now known as San Francisco Alumnae Chapter, on March 27, 1948 at the FarWest Regional Conference in Berkeley, California. For the next several months, those eight determined Deltas marched up and down the hills of San Francisco to reclaim Deltas; the chapter was 22 members strong by the end of the year.

We are proud to have had two distinguished and honorable charter members, Ostenia D. Fleming, who served as our Charter President, and Anna Bell Hogg, among these women. Both sorors remained active members of San Francisco Alumnae Chapter until their deaths.


With unbridled enthusiasm and seriousness, these dedicated Deltas commenced their service with the purpose of addressing themselves to the socioeconomic and educational needs of San Francisco’s African-American community.

Emphasis during the first decade was directed to educational and cultural enrichment. Included among the various activities were fundraising events for scholarships, such as children's festivals and fashion shows. Public programs featured outstanding Black artists, guest speakers and the international project, "Feast of Nations." These initial involvements became the stepping stones for larger and more relevant projects.


As times changed, the San Francisco Alumnae Chapter expanded our program thrusts to positive action in civil rights and political awareness. Members continue to provide guidance for job opportunities, to influence enactment of legislation and serve as volunteers for the welfare of the community.

San Francisco Alumnae continues to implement various worthwhile community service projects. Throughout the decades, our projects have included and in most cases continue to include:

  • Scholarships to deserving students attending colleges and universities

  • Sponsorship of the Ebony Fashion Fair Show since 1958

  • Counseling and career guidance programs to residents of Florence Crittenden - a home for teen mothers and their children

  • Contributions to the United Negro College Fund, NAACP and other organizations supporting scholarships and community change

  • Financial and emotional support to residents of La Casa de Las Madres - a sanctuary for battered women and their children

  • Fellowship activities with Laguna Honda Hospital patients

  • Annual scholarships to an African-American student enrolled in the San Francisco Opera - Merola Program

  • Numerous candidate forums for contributions and fellowship with the Jelani House

  • Establishment of the Delta Sigma Theta San Francisco Community Foundation in 1996

  • Implementation of the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy to work with young ladies to develop match, science and technology skills and experiences


This is just a sample of San Francisco Alumnae Chapter's numerous achievements throughout the years. We take our responsibilities and commitments very seriously and strive to perpetuate the ideals of our Founders in achieving full freedom and dignity for all people. It was clear in 1948 and it is still clear today that the mission of the Deltas of San Francisco Alumnae Chapter is to educate and project the skills, education and resources of our college-educated members throughout our communities via public service.

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