As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, I have always loved our history. An opportunity presented itself where I could curate an exhibition surrounding the organization’s history and my local chapter in Tampa, Florida. I immediately agreed to this adventure, knowing I would have a long road ahead. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with my sorority and the history again. I have been a member for over two decades, and I have always desired to use my God-given talent for museum work and historical research for my sorority.
This collision of my love for the sorority and history occurred, and the beautiful accident happened. For over eight months, I read four history books about the sorority. I researched Howard University journals, yearbooks, and writings, collecting artifacts and documents, hoping to unearth a piece of history that was not seen before. My goal was met when I discovered a photo of the crest designer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which was housed at the Indiana Historical Society. This photograph of Phyllis Wheatley Waters was unknown to the sorority, and a new piece of history would be introduced in this exhibition.
I was in awe when I realized this would be the highlight of this entire process. The best part was the position of Mrs. Waters in the photograph. She was sitting at a desk, gazing at a paper with a writing utensil in her hand. Was she writing? Was she sketching our crest? I don’t know, but it was essential to share in the exhibition.
The past eight months have been challenging, exciting, and thrilling. Having such unique skills, it is a joy to give those to my sorority, and the chance to learn history about something you love is like a piece of heaven. I am grateful for all the people who assisted me with the implementation of the exhibition; Kisha Porter, the Exhibition Designer, and Kandace Nunn Johnson, one of the Exhibition Installers. A special thanks to Mrs. Carolyn House Stewart, the 28th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, who was with me on this journey and gave me a true lesson in our history. If you are in the Tampa, Florida area, the exhibition will be available for viewing until March 2023 at the Tampa Bay History Center.