Gamma Chapter was chartered on April 28, 1931 as the 3rd chapter in the body of Iota. The small group of members were proud to be a part of the only forum in which Black women would be inspired, stimulated and supported in their efforts to develop in their respective business vocations. The immediate goal of the first members was to recruit young business-oriented women, especially those who were owners and/or operators of small businesses.
The first officers of Gamma were Florence K. Williams (President), Ruth McWilliams (First Vice President), Victoria Robinson (Second Vice President), Fannie Offut (Treasurer), Marguerite Harvey (Corresponding Secretary), E.C. Cuffey (Recording Secretary), and Benetta Conway (Journalist).
Gamma’s membership covers the entire Washington, DC metropolitan area – including sorors who live in northern Virginia, southern Maryland, and the District of Columbia. We pride ourselves on our diverse roster of both young and seasoned sorors, college students as well as developing professionals and retirees.
A few years after WWII, Gamma Chapter assumed responsibility for completing the last two years of a National Scholarship to Howard University for a student from Sierra Leone. After graduating, she became a member of the chapter. From 1948 to 1951, Gamma Chapter assumed guardianship of a “Brown Baby”. In April 1952, this young girl was brought to America and later adopted by author Pearl Buck, a National Honorary member of Iota.
A banner year for Gamma Chapter was 1954. In March, Gamma hosted the Eastern Regional Conference; in July, Marion H. Jackson, a chapter member, was elected National President of the sorority and served for four years; during that same year, Gamma Chapter accepted an invitation to place a copy of the membership roster (along with the purpose of our organization) in a huge silver Time Capsule atop WTOP, which is now known as WUSA TV 9. In the year 2054, 100 years after being sealed, the capsule will be opened and Gamma information will be among the first items worth remembering.
In the early sixties, the National Body of Iota selected a Gamma Chapter member for her outstanding accomplishments and leadership ability; they bestowed upon her Iota’s highest honor–The Lola M. Parker Award. In 1963, a Gamma Chapter member served as a Uniformed Volunteer at the program site for the famous March For Civil Rights. In 1969, for the third time, Gamma Chapter readied the DC area to host a large Iota National Convention, where three of its members were serving as National Officers.
In the seventies, Gamma Chapter launched several outstanding Business Week programs which honored Business Women from the public media, banks, and real estate. In 1981, Gamma Chapter hosted a successful Eastern Regional Conference. The speaker was Iota’s National Honorary Member, Marion Edelman, chairperson of The Children’s Defense Fund. The 1990s found Gamma Chapter members making a difference in the field as tutors, mentors, and advisors to for or of elementary to senior high school students. These efforts were performed in conjunction with Iota’s Tutorial and Assault On Illiteracy programs.
Gamma Chapter, once again ready to take the lead, hosted the 2003 Eastern Regional Conference … always striving, as empowered business and professional women, to make “a notable difference”. As a new decade begins, Gamma served as host chapter for the 2010 Eastern Regional Conference which was held in Arlington, VA at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel. In April 2016, Gamma Chapter proudly celebrated 85 years of service with the Power of She Awards Gala by honoring seven phenomenal women who have demonstrated leadership, making changes and impacting our local communities every day. Gamma Chapter looks forward to hosting the 82nd Eastern Regional Conference in 2019.