Tex Libris: Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha at The University of Texas at Austin

Photo courtesy of Barbara Dugas-Patterson, 1982. Dugas-Patterson was crowned as Cotton Bowl Queen by popularity vote and support from Delta Xi members, thus participating in the Cotton Bowl Classic. The University of Texas was ranked #1 in the Southwest Conference at the time and competed against the University of Alabama.

An overview of the three-part BDA blog series Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha by Briana Marie Davis (Class of 2021) has been featured on Tex Libris, and can be read here.

Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part III

 

AKA Formal, 1986. Photo courtesy of Barbara Dugas-Patterson.

Unearthing the Histories of Black Women in Higher Education

One of the most intriguing bits of history I’ve encountered during this project is the relationships between Black and white fraternities. The first Black Greek-letter organization on campus was none other than the Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. On May 16, 1959, Delta Xi charter members Alnita F. Rettig, Jerry Ann Cannon, Barbara Caruthers, Evelyn Deason, Donna Licia Guess, Mamie Flora Hans, Miriam Jean Jones, Bettye Joanne McAdams, Carolyn Nan Mims, Doris Price, Mary Simpson, Walta Marie Smith, Janice Strickland, Gloria D. Truscott, and Mabel Joyce Wilson officially integrated Greek organizations at the University of Texas. 

Continue reading “Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part III”

Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part II

Photo courtesy of Pamiel Gaskin, AKA Christmas Party 1966

AKA Impact on Campus & Beyond

The impact of the signature projects created and facilitated by the Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. reaches beyond the Forty Acres and into the lives of Austin mothers and their children. Working in East Austin, where, historically, the majority of African American Austinites have resided, since 1959 Delta Xi has held events to aid battered women, and to provide holiday parties, daycare, resources, encouragement, and toys for impoverished families. Continue reading “Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part II”

Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part I

Delta Xi of Spring 1966: Camilla Jackson, Beverly Robinson, Karen Williams, Pamiel Johnson-Gaskin, Carolyn Cole, Ruth Franklin, Mary Gordon, Linda Lewis, Mary Poston, Shirley Tennyson, Barbara Ward, Debbera Williams.
Photo courtesy of Pamiel Johnson–Gaskin.

The honorable Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. was the first Black Greek-letter organization to be established at The University of Texas at Austin. Sworn in on May 16, 1959, at high noon in the Queen Anne Room, this particular group of women is dripping in legacy, poignant programs, community service, and rich history. As an archivist in training, with the unique opportunity to not only archive an oral history but curate it from scratch, I see it as my duty to extract the essence and diversity of these highly valuable experiences among the Delta Xi women. This blog series will contain three parts, one published each month during the summer of 2021. Continue reading “Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part I”