Tag Archives: world

What was on their minds? — Darla Davenport-Powell, Gamma Iota Chapter ’77

delta founders

I remember the day that my parents drove me to Hampton Institute, my new “home by the sea!” There was excitement in the air. Student leaders greeted us with open arms. Fraternity members assisted us with our luggage and heavy trunks. There was much to do before gathering at Ogden Hall for our orientation.

I was the first person in my family to attend college; a lot was riding on my success. Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind. Would I be as successful in college as I was in high school? Would I continue to hold fast to Christian principles with this new found freedom? Could I balance work study, extracurricular activities, and academics with my entrepreneurial endeavors? Moreover, what year would I pledge Delta?

Today, January 13, 2013 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. turns 100 years old. As I think about what was on my mind as an undergrad with dreams, goals and drive; I can’t help but reflect on those 22 young women at Howard University who founded our esteemed sorority. What was on their minds?

Didn’t they know that society had low expectations for them to succeed let alone lead and achieve? Did they know that their collective vision would empower 200,000 women domestically and globally to take up the same banner of revolutionary leadership? What was on their minds when they decided to participate in the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington, D.C., when African-Americans were still viewed as 3/5ths of a person and white women didn’t take too kindly to them joining “their movement?”

If Winona Cargile Alexander, Madree Penn White, Wertie Blackwell Weaver, Vashti Turley Murphy, Ethel Cuff Black, Frederica Chase Dodd, Osceola Macarthy Adams, Pauline Oberdorfer Minor, Edna Brown Coleman, Edith Mott Young, Marguerite Young Alexander, Naomi Sewell Richardson, Eliza P. Shippen, Zephyr Chisom Carter, Myra Davis Hemmings, Mamie Reddy Rose, Bertha Pitts Campbell, Florence Letcher Toms, Olive Jones, Jessie McGuire Dent, Jimmie Bugg Middleton, and Ethel Carr Watson were here today, I would ask them what was on their minds?

I can imagine them saying: “You were on our minds—bold, brilliant, beautiful women of promise. We started this organization of service as a platform to build a better world and a brighter tomorrow. Keep on keeping on!”

Happy Centennial Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated!


INVENTING DARLA/Smile and the whole world smiles!

I was taught that one is not fully dressed until you put on a smile. It is true that when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. Something as simple as a smile can brighten an entire room, lift a burdened spirit and can improve one’s health. It’s one of those natural drugs that makes you feel and look like a million dollars. It’s infectious, too!

I was at a pharmacy the other day waiting on a prescription and an adorable baby girl caught my eye. I automatically smiled and her face lit up like a sunbeam. We played peek-a-boo for at least 30 minutes, smiling the whole time. I felt sorry for her Dad’s neck, which at some point became a pole as she would peek at me from side to side. I was tempted to yell out in the lobby, ‘Hey ya’ll, we’re giving out free medicine! Come get some of this!’ But I decided against it because I didn’t want to hear some smartaleck say: ‘If smiling is good for what ails you, then why are you at the pharmacy?’ It would be hard to smile and say, ‘None of your business!’ – which would have surely ruined my “Smilefest.” So I kept my thoughts inside instead.

While smiling is a natural drug, according to Dr. Mark Stibich, there are some serious side effects. Here’s a list:

• Smiling Makes Us Attractive
• Smiling Changes Our Mood
• Smiling Is Contagious
• Smiling Relieves Stress
• Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
• Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
• Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin
• Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger

It is true that when you smile, the whole world smiles with you, whether you have teeth or not. There’s something about the raw power of a smile. When Moms Mabley took her teeth out and flashed that big smile, it was over!

The baby girl in the pharmacy had that same effect.

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