The Greenville (SC) Alumnae Chapter (GSCAC), formerly Gamma Lambda Sigma Chapter, became a reality when six women applied to the Regional Director for a charter in 1947. Charter members of Gamma Lambda Sigma Chapter were Floried Coleman Mack, Carrie M. Thompson, Henrietta Young Bradford, Inez Sheppard, Blanche W. Zimmerman, and Fannie H. Martin.
In 1949, the chapter’s first Jabberwock, “Echoes for a Mardi Gras,” provided first-time scholarships, enabled annual donations of Negro literature to the local McBee Avenue Branch Library, and supplied books to Westside High and Brewer High Schools during “Book Week Observance.” Its Cinderella Dance, held in 1950, contributed funds to the building campaign of the National Council of Negro Women.
Notable Delta personalities visited our chapter during the 1950s and 1960s. Patricia Robert Harris, Director of the American Council of Human Rights (prior to her appointment as Ambassador to Luxembourg) spoke in 1952. Edythe Tweedy, South Atlantic Regional Director, assisted our chapter in establishing the Greenwood Alumnae Chapter.
In 1969, Mary McLeod Bethune spoke to more than 2,200 citizens at the dedication of Sterling High School, the first Black high school in Greenville County. Dorothy I. Height, Delta Sigma Theta National President and officer of the Chicago YWCA, was our Founders Day speaker in 1970. Through fundraising efforts, the chapter pledged $3,000 for the Phillis Wheatley Building Fund Program over a three-year period. This era also saw the formation of a bi-racial committee by chapter member Alberta T. Grimes that resulted in the first Head Start Program in Greenville County.
In 1981, the GSCAC presented its first Senior Citizen’s Day and its first College and Career Fair for high school students and their parents at Greenville Technical College. In July 1981, the chapter provided hospitality for Ray Charles and his band at Furman University. In August of the same year, the chapter participated in the Delta March on Washington with more than 13,000 Deltas in attendance.
In June 1991, for the first time ever, the chapter hosted the South Atlantic Regional Conference. On hand were many notables, namely National President Dr. Yvonne Kennedy, Dr. Gloria Scott, Dr. Jeanne I. Noble, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Micki Grant. The chapter also adopted a family from Mt. Pleasant, SC during the Hurricane Hugo devastation. The Delta Times, the chapter’s newsletter, was first published in the late 1990s.
The 60th anniversary of the GSCAC was celebrated in 2007 with a gala event at the Carolina First Center. Several local and state leaders attended, and the date was declared “Greenville (SC) Alumnae Chapter Day” by State Senator Ralph Anderson. In 2008, the chapter hosted the South Atlantic Spring State Meeting. The chapter celebrated its 65th anniversary in December 2012 in grand style at the TD Convention Center.
In 2011, the chapter established its annual Red Shoe Scholarship luncheon, where attendees adorned their best red shoes in an effort to raise money for scholarships. Scholarship recipients are present at the event and are awarded their scholarships during the luncheon. At the 2015 event, we had 700 attendees, collected over 600 pairs of slightly used shoes for Safe Harbor and awarded $10,000 in scholarships to Greenville County graduating seniors.
The 100th year of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated was celebrated in 2013. The GSCAC participated in many Centennial events throughout the year, including Founders Day Celebration, the reenactment of the Women’s Suffrage March, and of course, the 51st National Convention. The convention attracted 40,000 members and generated nearly $75 million for the Washington, D.C. area. That same year, the GSCAC hosted the Mock National Convention, welcoming over 400 Deltas from across the region to Greenville, South Carolina.
The chapter continues to reach and touch the lives of female middle and high school students through its continued commitment to the mentoring programs Delta Academy and Delta GEMS (Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully). The chapter is committed to the national initiative Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence (EMBODI). EMBODI is a program designed to bring focus to the crisis of African-American males not reaching their fullest potential educationally, socially, and emotionally. The EMBODI committee has presented workshops on various topics including violence prevention. The committee has also established a partnership with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and presented during their Kappa League Conferences. In addition, the committee has established a partnership with the Generations Boys Group Home, a group home committed to working with adolescent and pre-adolescent males who are in need of specialized services for abusive behaviors.
The GSCAC is very active in its participation in Adopt-a-Highway, the Upstate Black Expo, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, IMPACT Day, Voter Mobilization and Registration Campaign, and Delta Day at the State Capital, among other activities. In addition, the chapter has been recognized on both the local and national levels with awards including the Distinguished Partnership Award from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Organization of the Year Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and a National Recognition Award for IMPACT Day. The Greenville (SC) Alumnae chapter has continued to make an impact in the Greenville Community through its many programs, events, and unyielding commitment to serve and transform lives.