Theta Beta Omega Chapter
New Bern, NC
Theta Beta Omega Charter Members
Ruby Bowie (Humphrey)
Marie L. Jones
Ann Sawyer (Moore)
Annie Day Smith
Martha Faison 1964-1966
Nora Slade 1966-1968
Jessie White 1968-1970
Clara Owens 1970-1972
Arabelle Bryant 1972-1974
Fannie Slade 1974-1976
Ruby Humphrey 1976-1978
E. Celeste Simmons 1978-1980
Ernell Thompkins 1980-1982
Norma F. Godette 1982-1984
Delores Humphrey 1984-1986
Dorothy Bryan 1986-1988
Katie Brown 1988-1990
Matlynn Bryant 1990-1992
Shirley Guion 1992-1996
E. Celeste Simmons 1996-1998
Carthenia Mann 1998-2000
Ernell Thompkins 2000-2002
Gwendolyn Bryan 2002-2004
Delzora Clark 2004-2006
Beatrice Smith 2006-2008
Gwendolyn Bryan 2008-2010
Priscilla Gibbs 2010-2012
Theta Beta Omega Chapter of New Bern, NC was the one hundred ninety-eighth graduate chapter established by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, and one of five chartered in 1964. The New Bern Chapter was an outgrowth of Zeta Omicron Omega in Kinston, NC. Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Elizabeth Randolph presided over the ceremony which was held on November 21 at the home of Mary Danyus. Fourteen members were from New Bern, five from the Robersonville-Williamston area and one from Beaufort.
Martha S. Faison was immediately elected President. Other officers included Nora Slade, Vice President; Alma Gaither, Secretary; Marie Jones, Ivy Leaf Reporter; Otis Belle Meyers, Corresponding Secretary; Jessie White, Dean of Pledges; Blanche Rivers, Treasurer; Arabelle Bryant, Sergeant at Arms and Lauretta Smith, Hostess.
In the first year, much energy was given to planning and setting goals. However, realizing that program is the heart of Alpha Kappa Alpha, members immediately embarked on a program of service and involvement. The first major program was the chapter’s Debutante Ball. Although New Bern had been a part of Zeta Omicron Omega, the Balls were held separately in each city. Consequently, the first Ball for the New Bern area was in 1956. The first Ball as a newly chartered chapter was in 1965. While these presentations were viewed as important social cultural contributions to the community, they also have provided funds for sorority projects. Since 1983, the Debutante Balls have been held triennially instead of annually.
As activities were planned, the chapter sought to implement the international programs through its local projects. Some local activities which have reflected the international themes down the years have included scholarship awards, tutoring programs, annual Black Heritage programs, health related programs, voter registration drives, adoption of Christmas foster children, clothing drives, senior citizens programs, and others. One of the most rewarding local projects was under the international theme “service With A Global Perspective”, from 1986-1990. The chapter not only adopted an African village in Rwanda, but also hosted several groups and individuals from the Ivory Coast, South Africa, and Rwanda. These guests visited and spoke in local schools and churches, attended community activities and some were privileged to witness a Naturalization Ceremony at the Courthouse.
With the turn of the century, Theta Beta Omega once again planned its local programs to embrace the themes of international targets. Some projects include:
- Newspaper in Education NIE (sponsorship of the local daily newspaper in an elementary school classroom)
- Legacy of Life Initiative (collaboration with the American Red Cross to increase minority blood donations)
- Summer Enrichment Program (sponsorship of student at summer camp, foreign travel, or other enrichment programs)
- Craven County Cancer Relay of Life (sponsorship and participation in the two day event)
- The College Experience (collaboration with the city of New Bern and First Citizens Bank to provide helpful college preparation)
While Theta Beta Omega has been actively engaged in various International Targets, it has also been mindful of the financial support needed at the corporate level from time to time. Consequently, when the commitment was made to the United Negro College Fund and the NAACP in 1974, the chapter responded, with the purchase of two Life Memberships for the latter organization. It has also supported financially the Cleveland Job Corps Center, the Educational Advancement Foundation, the Capital Improvement Project and others.
Locally, it has given financial support and/or collaborated with the Coastal Women’s Shelter, Craven Arts Council and Gallery, Craven/Jones Habitat for Humanity, Craven County Community College Book Loan Fund, Multiple Sclerosis Bike-A-Thon, Empty Stocking Fund, Religious Community Services, International Reading Association, Climbers Club Restoration Fund, Eastern Area Sickle Cell Anemia, United Senior Services, Craven County Community Concerts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Craven County Partners in Education and the Neuse Center for Mental Health.
The chapter has a total membership of thirty-three including eight Life Members and four Charter Members. It is made up of individuals from diverse walks of life, who are meeting the challenges of educations, business, health, the arts, government and volunteerism. Many have been recognized for their involvement and service on local, regional and national levels by attending and serving on committees at Clusters, Regionals and Boules.
Theta Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated takes pride in its records but looks forward to “greater laurels to win, greater tasks to begin” in its service to all mankind.