I have a confession to make: When I left for college in 1981 I didn’t know what a “fraternal organization” was. So it follows that I knew nothing about greekdom, pledging or Delta Sigma Theta. During my first months on campus, the women bonded by red, white and community service remained an awe-inspiring mystery to me that slowly unfolded my freshman year and led me to seek them out the next.
I pledged in the spring of 1983 at the University of Missouri-Columbia, with nine other young women. Like them, I learned the history of our sorority and the lives of its founders. In the years since, I’ve looked to both the strength of our first 22 and the successes of others who have followed in their footsteps.
As a creative soul, I’ve been drawn to the artistry of poet Nikki Giovanni, dancer Judith Jamison, singer Roberta Flack, and athlete Wilma Rudolph. I have leaned on my own line sisters over the years for uplift in life’s hard times and to celebrate its goodness.
Perhaps my most eye-opening moment as a Delta came recently when my son, now a college junior, decided to pledge a fraternity. Unlike me, he left for college with some knowledge of Greek life. Yet, true to the stubbornness inherent in our family, he approached becoming a member as a privilege and conducted in-depth research into how and where he felt he best fit – focusing first on community service.
He’d also seen the recent movie Stomp the Yard, which portrayed one young man’s struggle to find himself and how that evolves through fraternity. Yet, once my son had made his decision and the time came to begin his personal journey, he came to me: “Mom, what was pledging like?”
For the first time in many years, I had the chance to reflect on days and nights, words and dreams, recitation and singing, from a wholly different perspective. I recounted my memories not from the seasoned perspective of a woman fully grown and 25-plus years removed, but as an anxious coed, stepping into and unknown but welcome future.
I closed our conversation by reminding him that though subsequent years have scattered us, many of us remain in touch today and the experience continues to sustain me. “I wouldn’t trade those days for the world,” I told him.
Soror Stefanie Worth
About the AuthorStefanie Worth enjoys writing stories about everyday women facing supernatural dilemmas and writes stories that give her characters the second chances life sometimes doesn’t allow. Her debut novel, Where Souls Collide, won the Science Fiction category of the 2008 African American Literary Awards Show. Her other works include novellas Can You Believe in The Holiday Inn anthology and current release HeavenSent.com in the Holiday Brides anthology. She’s now hard at work to meet the deadline for her 2011 release The Wicked and the Wonderful.
She is a former news anchor for National Public Radio affiliate KBIA and ABC-TV affiliate KOMU (both in Missouri) and WJLB radio in Detroit. Stefanie has also been published locally by the Metro Times and Michigan Chronicle newspapers, and nationally by Class, Black Excellence and Upscale magazines. Her writing honors include winning first place in the 1993 Paul Laurence Dunbar poetry contest sponsored by the Detroit Writers Guild; having a poem featured in the Metro Times 1992 annual Summer Fiction Issue; and being recognized by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) for the Michigan Chronicle’s Compositions section.
About the Book
In Holiday Brides, the holidays aren’t so festive when you’re celebrating by yourself. But with a little luck and a lot of love, three single women find their soulmates and get the holiday weddings of their dreams.
In HeavenSent.com, Brenna Campbell checks off all her life’s accomplishments year after year but one: snagging Mr. Right and tying the knot. Evan Shephard’s last date convinces him that he hasn’t found the right woman because he’s fishing with the wrong bait: Maybe he should consider the “M” word.
The Detroit co-workers know enough about each other for friendly banter and a one-night stand, but don’t have enough in common – they think – for anything close to love.
It’ll take a pair of guardian angels and the help of an online dating site to turn Brenna’s New Year’s resolution into her dream come true.
Eliza Pearl Shippen – the Washington, D.C. graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from the Howard College of Arts and Sciences. She went on to receive her M.A. from the Teachers College of Columbia University and the only founder to pursue a Ph.D. and one of the two who never married. She strongly believed in the public service of Delta.