Historical Maker Honoring Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Founder Harriet J. Terry

by Dr. Wilma J Ruffin, Chapter President with courtesy

honoring AKA Founder Harriet Josephine Terry – – (Left to right) Dr. Mattie Thomas-Chapter Historian, Mrs. Diann Greer-Chairman of Dedication, Dr. Wilma J. Ruffin-Chapter President, Dr. Rhonda H. Thompson-Chapter Vice-President, Mrs. Maureen Davis-Chapter member and Charter Member of Gamma Mu Chapter and Mrs. Adrienne P-K Washington, 24th South Eastern Regional Director

The members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Epsilon Gamma Omega Chapter, dedicated a historical marker honoring Alpha Kappa Alpha Founder Harriet Josephine Terry on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. Members of the University’s Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered to commemorate and honor Ms. Terry’s legacy with members of the sorority. The dedication is a part of the global initiative of Alpha Kappa Alpha to bring awareness, honor and permanently memorialize the contributions of its founders.

Harriet J. Terry was born in New York. She attended Howard University from 1906 to 1910 where she majored in English and graduated with a degree in liberal arts. On January 15, 1908, at Howard University, Harriet Josephine Terry became one of the 16 founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. After graduation, she became the Department Head of English and History at Gloucester High School in Capahosic, Virginia. During World War I, she worked for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. In 1922, she journeyed to Alabama A & M University to teach.

For over 37 years, Ms. Terry inspired generations of teachers through her innovative style of teaching English courses at Alabama A & M University. She was a caring teacher, and her students remember her as an avid reader, and a lover of literature, people, and movies. She inspired others through her writings and humanitarian efforts in the community. Ms. Terry also trained teachers through the Alabama A & M Extension in Limestone County.

In 1949, Ms. Terry helped to charter the Epsilon Gamma Omega Chapter where she served as its second president. In 1959, she retired from Alabama A & M University and moved back to Washington, D.C. Over the years, she remained connected with the sorority as a member of Xi Omega Chapter. She was known for her charm and friendliness. On August 15, 1967, Harriet J. Terry passed away. Her legacy and service to young minds and her sorority will last in perpetuity.

The dedication ceremony opened with an invocation by Reverend Versey Jones. The president of Epsilon Gamma Omega Chapter, Dr. Wilma J. Ruffin, brought greetings. She stated that Harriet J. Terry “spent a significant portion of her life here – thirty plus years at the University and in this community. Hence, she is claimed as our own. She was a charter member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Epsilon Gamma Omega Chapter, which puts her in a direct relationship with the existence of the chapter.” The 24th South Eastern Regional Director, Mrs. Adrienne Pope-Kelly Washington, Chapter Historian, Dr. Mattie Thomas, and Alabama A & M University Trustee, Dr. Jeanette Jones provided greetings and acknowledged Ms. Terry’s local impact on the community.

Following the greetings, the Litany of Dedication was led by the chapter Vice President, Dr. Rhonda H. Thompson. The program highlight was the unveiling of the custom made bronze historical marker that was designed by Ms. Lorraine Lacy, chapter Technology Chairman. Dr. Wilma J. Ruffin, Mrs. Adrienne P-K Washington, 24th SE Regional Director and Dr. Mattie Thomas, chapter Historian, unveiled the beautiful bronze marker that will be placed at the front entrance of Terry Hall, on the campus of Alabama A & M University. Following the program, guests enjoyed a dessert reception.

The bronze marker commemorates Ms. Terry’s service to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Epsilon Gamma Omega Chapter, and her commitment to her students and colleagues at Alabama A & M University.