Howard University’s campus in Washington D.C. became a sea of royal blue & white, filled with sorority members from around the world celebrating the founding of black Greek-lettered sorority Zeta Phi Beta Inc. at the historically Black university 100 years ago. 

Thousands of women—more than 3,000 members of Zeta Phi Beta Inc. who registered for the festivities—joined the sorority’s leadership in celebration of 100 years of scholarship, service, sisterhood, and finer womanhood Jan. 16-19, during a four-day epic affair in Washington D.C. 

Many members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.—the Zeta’s constitutionally bound brother organization—were also present to celebrate with their sisters.

The sisterly bond extended with the support of other National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities’ international presidents, including Beverly Smith of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; Deborah Catchings-Smith, along with National Pan-Hellenic Council (Divine Nine) President Vanetta Cheeks-Reeder both of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. 

“We are celebrating all year long,” the sorority’s International Centennial Grand Baselius Valerie Hollingsworth-Baker said.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. was founded in 1920, on the campus of Howard University,  and is headquartered in Washington DC. Zeta has initiated a diverse membership of more than 125,000 college-educated women with more than 850 chapters in North America, Europe, Asia, the Carribean, Africa, and the Middle East.

The festivities kicked off with a historic Founders’ Midnight Celebration on the campus of Howard University, where the organization was founded on Jan. 16, 1920. Singersinger/talk show host Syleena Johnson, a member of the sorority who resides in Atlanta, hosted the organization’s kick-off party and pilgrimage to the organization’s commemorative plot on Howard’s campus at midnight.  

The sorority also hosted a reception at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, where D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser brought greetings on behalf of the city. All guests were treated to an exclusive tour of the museum, along with live entertainment, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a variety of desserts and blue wine. 

On day two of the weekend, the sorority hosted a fashion show and brunch, featuring fashions from each decade starting with the 1920s to the present, including designs from the St. John-Zeta Collection as well as IKhan—the fashion line from R&B singer Chaka Khan’s, who also made a surprise appearance at the event. 

Zeta Phi Beta’s 23rd past International Grand Baselius and comedienne Sheryl Underwood took part in the sorority’s Denim & Pearls Sisterhood night, which included a comedy show and live gogo band “The Chuck Brown Band,” where sorority sisters and other guests partied for hours.

Saturday’s events included a “The Finer Womanhood Empowerment Summit,” which showcased three panels of thought-leading women addressing issues related to education health and wellness, family connectedness, social advocacy, and economic development. 

The centennial weekend culminated on Saturday evening with a black-tie affair, hosted by actors Vivica Fox and Lamman Rucker. 

Michael Cristal, the International Grand Baselius of Phi Beta Sigma, said, “I look forward to the Zequel in June,” referring to the Zetas’ Centennial Grand Boulé 2020, scheduled June 24-28. 

(Photo by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.)

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