Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. was founded on the principles of scholarship, service, sisterly love, and finer womanhood. Five women dared to be different and founded an organization that was unlike any sorority created before it.
Arizona Cleaver Stemons, Myrtle Tyler Faithful , Viola Tyler Goings, Fannie Pettie Watts, and Pearl Anna Neal founded Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. at Howard University on January 16, 1920.
These dynamic women created an organization that did not follow the beaten path, but they followed a road less traveled. Since its inception, Zeta Phi Beta has set a number of precedents. Zeta was the first sorority to organize in Africa (1948), form youth and auxiliary groups—Archonettes and Amicae, and be constitutionally bound to a brother fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Zeta Phi Beta has also established chapters in the Bahamas, Germany, and the Caribbean Islands. Zeta has more than 800 chapters throughout the world.
|Founder Arizona Cleaver Stemons was the first president of the Alpha chapter at Howard University. She also served as the first national president to the sorority. She completed her undergraduate degree and post-graduate studies in social work.
|Founder Myrtle Tyler Faithful was the second national president. She taught high school mathematics and English. She also chartered many chapters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.
|Founder Viola Tyler Goings earned degrees in teaching and mathematics from Howard University. She went on to teach in Ohio and be a very active member in her community.
|Founder Fannie Pettie Watts taught junior and senior high schools in Savannah, Georgia and organized additional Zeta chapters.
|Founder Pearl Anna Neal continued her studies at Howard University ‘s Conservatory of Music. She was the first black woman in New York to earn a master’s degree in music from Columbia University.
- Soror Violette Anderson – First black woman to practice law before the U.S. Supreme court
- Soror Bernette J. Johnson —First black female State Supreme Court Justice in Louisiana
- Soror Honorable Andrei Ellen Lee —First black General Session Judge in Nashville , Tennessee
- Soror Honorable Tomie T. Green —First female and first African American female elected Circuit Judge in the 7th Judicial District—State of Mississippi
- Soror Honorable Patricia Wise —First African American Chancery Judge elected Chancery Judge in the 5th Judicial District State of Mississippi. First woman elected president of the African American Magnolia Bar Association State of Mississippi
- Soror Honorable Eleanor Faye Peterson —First black woman elected District Attorney in the State of Mississippi. 1st African American and 1st Female elected District Attorney in the 7th Judicial District—State of Mississippi
- Soror Curlie E. McGruder —Civil Rights Activist
- Soror Esther Rolle —Actress
- Soror Sheryl Underwood —Comedian
- Soror Dr. Tonea H. Stewart —Actress and first African American to star and later direct at the New Stage Theatre in Jackson , Mississippi.
- Soror Syleena Johnson—Singer
- Soror Dr. Elizabeth D. Koontz —First black president of the National Education Association
- Soror Dr. Joyce Payne —Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund founder
Z etas H elping O ther P eople E xcel (ZHoPE) , is an outreach services program designed to provide culturally appropriate informational activities, foster collaborative partnerships between community organizations, and facilitate community service and mentorship opportunities. Z-HOPE programs focus on women, men, youth, senior citizens, and international women.
Z-HOPE is an outreach service program that has six primary objectives, corresponding measures of success and a mechanism for chapter recognition. The primary objectives are:
- To provide culturally appropriate informational activities according to the Z-HOPE program format
- To foster collaborative partnerships between community organizations with shared goals
- To promote the opportunities for expansion in Stork’s Nest programs
- To facilitate community service and mentorship opportunities for members of the organization
- To provide an equitable chapter recognition program for community services rendered
- To provide a standard reporting format to concentrate efforts and demonstrate the organization’s impact