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Book Reviews

The Untold Story of the Norfolk AKAs

How much do you know about the amazing contributions of the women of Norfolk’s AKA Chapter? This month, we take the time to highlight some figures you may have never known about.

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For Women’s History Month, Black women in Norfolk have done exceptionally phenomenal things. Through churches, Tents, Eastern Stars, National Council of Negro Women and the VA Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. 

Yet, a new generation of college-educated Black woman would unfold in the early 20th century through Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Iota Omega chapter, chartered in 1922, in the basement of First Baptist Church-Bute Street. In Timeless History and Service of the Iota Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated(R), 1922 to Our Time, I chronicle how Black women coalesced around the sorority’s motto of ‘Service to All Mankind,’ to attend to the needs of the community.

The book is a local woman’s history book that features some important and unknown figures within our community, such as Ida Bagnall Webb, who was the chapter’s first president, and worked with women and children in their homes, to Audrey Moseley Brodie, who was the chapter’s 8th president, and through migration, helped establish the all-Black Nile Swim Club in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, to Dr. Lois Wilson Brown, who was a staunch member of Shiloh Baptist Church, 23rd chapter president, and retired as a Supervisor of Vocational Education with the Department of Education for the State of VA. 

The book also highlights the community scholarships, concerts, the historic Ebony Fashion Show, that these local women created which the community benefits from today.

Women’s History Month is as much of the African-American community as any other themed month.

Timeless History and Service of the Iota Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated(R), 1922 to Our Time reminds the reader of what Norfolk women did within the bonds of sisterhood for the bonds of community.

Colita Nichols Fairfax, Ph.D., COI is an  Associate Professor, Certified Online Instructor at Norfolk State University.

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