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Our History

Beta Zeta Zeta Chapter charter members and members in 1959: Front row, (left to right) Mildred Thomas, Billie Lacy, Cordelia Mills, Ann Turnell, Marguerite Hall, Ann Turpeau and Anna Frazier.

Second row: Florida Turpeau, Hazel Lane, Theresa Breazeal, Geraldine Head, Estelle D. Kelley and Alvious Simon.

Third row: Juanita Dunlap, Juanita Fishback, Doris L. McAdams, Emma Page and Gladys Nooks.

Fourth row: Mary Bellinger, Annie Cox, Dorothy Chatman, Julia R. Flint and Roby Hopson. (Photo – Ray Harris)

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded on the campus of Howard University on January 16, 1920, fewer than 18 months after the end of World War I,  by five coeds seeking to expand their concepts of and dedication to scholarship, service, sisterhood and finer womanhood.

Following the founding of the Sorority, the University of Cincinnati awarded scholarships to Howard University students and many of them who were Sorority members relocated to the Greater Cincinnati area.  On June 19, 1924, Iota Chapter was chartered by the 4th National President, Nellie Buchanan in Covington, Kentucky.  Iota Chapter quickly grew in membership, and included Sorors in Cincinnati and Covington.  A number of social activities were held.  When Iota Chapter became inactive, Beta Zeta Zeta Chapter was chartered in September 1943, in Cincinnati, Ohio by fourteen women, 


Beta Zeta Zeta Chapter is the second oldest chapter in the Great Lakes Region.  Charter members, some of whom were former members of Iota Chapter in Covington, KY, included: Theresa Brezeal, Ruth Crittenden – the chapter’s first president, Essie Frakes, Roby Hopson, Anna Frazier Johnson, Wilma Lacy, Hazel Lane, Martha Lovell, Hazel Lucas, Cordelia Mills, Alvious Simon, Goldia Scott, Ann Turnell and Gladys Warrington; one of the Sorority’s first initiates, who later moved to Cincinnati and worked as a psychologist and teacher for 22 years.  

Beta Zeta Zeta has a notable history of educational, social and community service projects. The Chapter’s first major activity was a fashion extravaganza (circa 1947) featuring Marva Louis, wife of boxing champion Joe Louis. Proceeds from that event were used to establish a scholarship fund that supports the Doris L. McAdams and Wilma E. Lacy Memorial Scholarships. Later came monthly meal preparation and serving at St John's Social Services, community ‘baby showers’ hosted jointly with our undergraduate chapter, the ‘feathering’ of two Stork’s Nest sites, and in 2004-6, a ‘modified’ Stork’s Nest for the students enrolled at Scarlet Oaks Career Center.

Annually, the Chapter observes or hosts Founders’ Day, Finer Womanhood, and Prematurity Awareness programs. Beta Zeta Zeta Chapter is a lifetime NAACP member, and has had or maintains local partnerships with the March of Dimes, the Urban League, the YWCA, Scarlet Oaks Career Development Campus, WCET, Cincinnati Miss Black Teen Pageant, Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion, St. John’s Social Services, SUMA, HUB Social Services and Closing the Health Gap.

With few exceptions, since 1950, Beta Zeta Zeta Chapter has bestowed upon one or more Greater Cincinnati women the title, “Woman of the Year” or for local chapter members, “Zeta of the Year.” Each honoree must, through her community service or career activity, exemplify the ideals of scholarship, service, sisterhood or finer womanhood.


Beta Zeta Zeta Chapter is active in the Great Lakes Region and the State Organization of Ohio, earning commendations for its scholarship awards to high school girls, and its support of national programs at both levels. The chapter hosted State of Ohio meetings in 1996 and 2003 and regional conferences in 1967 and 1996. 

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