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Vice President Kamala Harris And The Contemporary And Historical Influence of Black Sororities




Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority dance during an early voting mobilization event at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on October 19, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.
Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority dance during an early voting mobilization event at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on October 19, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.
Octavio Jones/Getty Images

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When Kamala Harris assumed the vice presidency and became the first Black person, South Asian person and woman to hold the office, she wore a string of pearls to mark the occasion.

For members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority— the first sorority to be founded by Black women— the image was a familiar one. Harris has been a member of the sorority since she was a teenager at Howard University, and has often been seen out in the string of pearls AKAs are known for. As a part of the “Divine 9” (as the group of historically Black sororities and fraternities are known) AKA’s history dates back to 1908, when it was founded by nine college students at Howard University. These days, there are many primarily Black Greek organizations in addition to the Divine 9 at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Their influence can be lifelong, providing community and friendship to members for many years after college.

Today on AirTalk, we’re hearing more about the lifelong community provided by historically Black sororities. Are you part of a primarily Black sorority? What has your experience been like? We want to hear from you! Comment below or give us a call at 866-893-5722.

With guest host Libby Denkmann

Guests:

Erika D. Smith, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and author of the recent piece, “How Kamala Harris’ decision to join a sorority helped her become vice president”; she tweets @Erika_D_Smith

Shelby Boagni, regional director of the Far Western Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which encompasses nine states, including California