Chapter History and Chartering
In the summer of 1982, a few sorors who were active with Gamma Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated in Portsmouth, Virginia discussed the idea of Chesapeake Chapter. The reasons for wanting a chapter were:
1. To give scholarships and participate in community services in Chesapeake.
2. Chesapeake was growing with opportunities.
3. Several inactive sorors in the City of Chesapeake may wish to join.
The seed was planted in the minds of the sorors, but they were skeptical about bringing the idea to fruition.
In February 1983, Sorors Perdethia Lowery, Helen Artis, and Margaret Fulton-Brown talked more about the idea and decided to seek information from Soror Barbara Davis, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. It was decided that Soror Lowery had a meeting at her home and invited several sorors which included Sorors Helen Artis, Margaret Fulton-Brown, Dolores Eure, Janice Mebane, Patricia Coker and Gertrude Porter. At this meeting it was decided to proceed, and that a letter should be sent to sorors who may be interested in the formulation of a Chesapeake Chapter. Sorors Perdethia, Margaret, and Helen met constantly striving to get enough sorors interested in making plans for an interest group.
The first interest meeting was held in September 1983. It was decided that an application would be filed to become an interest group. On October 3, 1983, an application was filed for the formation of an interest group. Soror Barbara advised the thirteen sorors who were active with Gamma Delta Omega to remain active with our current chapter in addition to working with the interest group. After frequent and often late night meetings, the Chesapeake Pearls were founded.
In December 1983 a group of 30 women became the Chesapeake Pearls, and interest group of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. The sorors became general members. There was no money, no materials, etc. There was however, faith and belief. Sorors went the extra mile and made contributions out of their pockets to help carry on programs. When a soror could not pay dues or meet obligations other sorors helped. The officers of the Chesapeake Pearls were:
Perdethia Lowery President
Patricia Coker Vice President
Dottie Perry Recording Secretary
Paulette Mitchell Assistant Secretary
Janice Mebane Financial Secretary
Anne Felton Sergeant at Arms
Helen Cox Treasurer
Vivian West Corresponding Secretary
Dolores Eure Reporter
Helen Artis Parliamentarian
Maragaret F. Brown Historian
The program for the year included a tutorial program chaired by Soror Delores Eure which was held at the South Norfolk Library. Additionally, a contribution of fifty dollars was given to Oscar Smith High School for software and a Thanksgiving basket was given to a needy family. Fundraising chaired by Soror Helena Dodson, included the selling of portrait certificates and a handbag sale. A quarterly pearl report which was created by
Soror Margaret Fulton Brown was published. This publication gave news of sorors and useful hints for the sorors personal development. Soror Helen Artis chaired the Bylaws and Chapter Operations committee.
The meetings were held the second Saturday of each month. After the chapter business was discussed the meeting was adjourned with a “pep song”. The sorors worked diligently to make their chartering ceremony a memorable one. The ceremony was held on December 8, 1984. The committee chairpersons were Sorors Antonell Hassell (registration). Gertrude Porter (social), Patricia Coker (program), Grace Chavis (ceremony). The program consisted of the songs by the Pearlettes under the conduction of Sorors Mary McLean and Dottie Perry, a speech “Believe Yourself” by Soror Perdethia Lowery, a solo by Soror Wilberta Lewis, and a reading “Why a Chesapeake Chapter” by Soror Olivia Brown. After the chartering ceremony of 25 sorors a celebration party was held at the home of Soror Vivian West.
The 25 sorors who participated in the chartering of this new chapter were:
Helen R. Artis
Margaret Fulton-Brown Olivia C. Brown
Jacqueline W. Butler
Grace C. Chavis
Patricia E. Coker
Helen H. Cox
Helena L. Dodson
Dolores F. Eure
Anne T. Felton
Henrietta C. Griffin
Sylvia P. Harrison
Antonell C. Lawrence
Wilberta G. Lewis
Perdethia E. Lowery
Mary W. McLean
Janice H. Mebane
Paulette J. Mitchell
E. Marion Parham
Dottie D. Perry
Gertrude B. Porter
Barbara J. Reynolds
Marian H. Wells
Vivian B. West
It was decided the officers of the interest group (The Pearls) would serve as the first officers of Omicron Pi Omega. In addition Soror Patricia Coker served as the first membership chairperson for the “First Five”. These officers continued until December 1986.
As a chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the tutorial program and civic contributing continued. The chapters first Scholarship Program was developed providing $500.00 dollars to the recipient. One highlight was the attendance of 12 sorors at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Faith and belief sustained the member.