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Finding and Honoring our Founders JOURNAL Winter 2017 s59 BY GLORIA AKERS, E. MISSY DANIELS, MONICA LEWIS A simple request transformed into a remarkable journey, in 2013, when the National Heritage and Archives Committee planned to erect memorial markers at the final resting places for every Founder of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The search began with an email to the retired principal of Philadelphia High School for Girls, Soror Geraldine Myles, for information regarding Founder Pauline Oberdorfer Minor. Through her affiliation with their archivist, Myles received a copy of the “Blue Card” and the 1910 Record Book photo of Soror Minor who died January 23, 1963 at age 78. The location of Soror Minor’s gravesite was unknown at the time. On Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2013, Soror Myles found Soror Minor buried in a “pauper’s grave” at the Historic Eden Cemetery. Eden Cemetery is a historic African American cemetery located in Collingdale, Penn. near Philadelphia and the oldest African-American– owned cemetery in the United States, it was established June 20, 1902. Then, on March 28, 2015, Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter, in concurrence with the National Headquarters of Delta Sigma Theta, hosted a day of events to honor the memory of Soror Minor and to unveil the long overdue headstone. With meticulous research, the identities of four long-forgotten persons buried with her, one being a man, were also discovered. In erecting and designing the monument, the committee decided to place the names of the deceased and years of birth and death on the back of Soror Minor’s Monument. After 52 years since her passing, Soror Minor received the rite of passage due to every member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority – The Omega Omega Ceremony – which 16th National President, Dr. Thelma T. Daley presided over. Even in death, Soror Minor still inspires a spirit of service in others as she did when she and 21 other women founded Delta Sigma Theta in 1913. In 2016, Soror Minor was inducted into the Philadelphia High School for Girls’ Distinguished Daughters Court of Honor. Soror Minor graduated from Founder Pauline Oberdorfer Minor Soror Naya Frazier, immediate past Eastern Regional Representative; Dr. Thelma Daley, 16th National President; Maxine C. Harvey, past chapter president of Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter President; and Soror Theljewa Garret, immediate past Eastern Regional Director, unveil the headstone honoring Founder Pauline Oberdorfer Minor. PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILADELPHIA ALUMNAE CHAPTER Dr. Monica Johnson Taylor, president of Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter, and Dr. Parthenia A. Moore, principal of the Philadelphia High School for Girls. PHOTO BY MONICA LEWIS-WILBORN


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