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Spotlight on Howard University: Framing & Preserving Their History

by Framebridge Editorial
February 20, 2024
min read

Framebridge is so honored to celebrate Howard University, one of the country’s preeminent historically Black universities. With a rich history that dates back to 1867, the prestigious university has long been at the forefront of societal change, working to eliminate inequalities related to race and color, as well as social, economic, and political circumstances. 

Together, we’re framing and preserving the powerful stories of the fraternities and sororities that form the National Pan-Hellenic Council–which was founded at Howard in 1930. By helping them amplify this important history, Howard’s legacy will inspire generations to come.

Here, we’re sharing the incredible archived pieces we custom framed with the university–and the layered stories behind each of them.

Omega Psi Phi (Alpha Chapter) sweater, 1964.

“I was initiated in 1964 at Howard University’s Alpha Chapter, and this sweater was a Christmas gift from my parents. My dad, James W. Quander, was also an Omega man. Now I am 80 years old and can still wear it today – very snugly!”

–Rohulamin Quander, Omega Psi Phi Inc. (Alpha Chapter initiate, spring 1964)

Delta Sigma Theta’s journal, featuring one of the sorority’s 1913 founders. Framed in Arlington.

“In 1912, 22 Howard University female students were looking to deemphasize the social side of sorority life and decided to change the name and colors of a campus organization to which they belonged. Previous members disagreed, so the 22 women created a new organization, Delta Sigma Theta, which was officially established on January 13, 1913. A few weeks later, the 22 Founders participated in their first formal act: Walking in the Women’s Suffrage March on March 3, the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. By starting Delta Sigma Theta and being the only Black women’s organization participating in the march calling for the right to vote for all women, the 22 Founders laid the foundation on which 300,000-plus members in more than 1,000 chapters around the world now stand. From the vision they had 111 years ago, the 22 Founders created an organization of members whose lifetime commitment is centered around sisterhood, scholarship, service, and social action. The Delta Journal is a publication for sorority members, providing updates on recent events, programming, and accomplishments. This issue featured a story of the last living Founder, Naomi Sewell Richardson, who passed away in August of 1993.”

–Monica Lewis, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Alpha Chapter initiate, spring 1994)

Delta Sigma Theta’s “Lady Fortitude” sweater.

“Created by Howard University alumnae and Alpha Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta initiates Rachel and Rebecca Crouch, the sweater features one of the sorority’s most iconic symbols, Lady Fortitude. The sculpture – dedicated by the sorority and unveiled on Howard’s campus in 1979 – symbolizes the attributes of Delta Women: strength, courage, hope, wisdom, and femininity. It shows a woman with one arm reaching forward, which signifies the responsibility to lead, and another arm reaching back, to remind members of the importance of helping bring others along. The sweater also features the renowned Founders Library clocktower, one of the symbols synonymous with Howard University, where the sorority was founded on January 13, 1913; as well as African Violets, the sorority’s official flower.”

–Monica Lewis, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Alpha Chapter initiate, spring 1994)

Howard University’s 1924 Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. Framed in Providence.
Alpha Phi Alpha initiation certificates, circa 1920 and 1923. Framed in Olympia.

“These are treasured documents among the Brothers and proudly displayed alongside our degrees and other honors. The Shingle [membership certificate received after induction] of Brother Eugene H. Rummons is an initiate of the Beta Chapter at Howard University in November of 1923.”

–Ramir Johnson, Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. (Beta Chapter initiate, spring 2023)

Phi Beta Sigma (Alpha Chapter) 2022 Line shirt.

This shirt symbolizes the collective unity of our Chapter’s lineage that spans over 110 years. All of my brothers have one of these shirts.”

–Devonte King, Phi Beta Sigma Inc. (Alpha Chapter initiate, spring 2022)

Alpha Kappa Alpha’s porcelain plate, stole, and Ivy Leaf journal.

“The porcelain plate is adorned with Alpha Kappa Alphas’s crest, which was designed in 1920. The Kente stole, in the colors and letters of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, served as a proud emblem on the regalia worn to mark the attainment of a Doctor of Philosophy from the prestigious Howard University School of Communication. This achievement was celebrated during the 2000 commencement ceremony, signifying both academic excellence and affiliation with a cherished sisterhood. And The Ivy Leaf is the official journal of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. This cover features members of Alpha Kappa Alpha gathered in front of the Founder’s Library clock tower.”

–Dr. Sia Rose-Robinson, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

Sigma Gamma Rho’s “The Aurora” magazine, 2006. Framed in Santorini.