Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Robert B. Ingram, Ph.D.


Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. (Proverbs 31:10). That was the proverb I reflected upon in preparation for todays salute to the SOPHISTICATED WOMEN OF ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY, women, whose price is far above rubies. Your lives are personified in the words, "Sugar and spice and everything nice".

Because, to me, you evidence the strength of women like Sojourner Truth (1795 1883), because you, too, are pilgrims of God whose mission is to liberate our people. To me, you evidence the quintessence of women like Queen Nzinga (1582-1663), for you too accept your role as astute diplomatic and political servants whose generosity of the spirit motivates and inspires others to do the best than can with The tools they have.

To me, you demonstrate the tenacity of women like Harriet Tubman because of your lion-hearted spirit drives you to practice what you profess. You do not pretend to be what you do not intend to be. You are my "sheroes".

You are the scintillating, splendid, shining brilliance of people like:

1 Marjorie Hill
2 Lucy D. Slowe
3 Lillie Burke
4 Ethel Hedgeman Lyle
5Anna E. Brown
6 Marie Woolfolk Taylor
7 Beulah E. Burke
8 Margaret Flagg Holmes
9 Lavinia Norman

You are the enticing elegance and exquisite charm of some of the most revered women in our history. You evidence the brilliance and judgement of a:

1 Norma Boyd
2 Ethel Jones Mowbray
3 Alice P. Murray
4 Sarah M. Nutter
5 Joanna B. Shields
6 Carrie E. Snowden and a
7 Harriett J. Terry

You have the resolution and patience of a:

1 Norma Boyd
2 Julia E. Brooks
3 Ethel Jones Mowbray
4 Nellie M. Quander
5 Nellie Pratt Russell and a
6 Minnie B. Smith

Your courage, your strength and your knowledge. Your mastery, your wisdom and your energy are nothing less than sugar and spice an everything nice.


When I think of the AKA'S I draw spiritual lessons from your service. Let me pass along a story from the Bible that illustrates what I mean. The story of Esther details, in my mind, the sacrifices of people like yourselves. You know the story.

Esther, was an orphan that became a queen. Esther was a Jewish girl whose parents were both dead. Esther lived and was raised by her cousin Mordecai.

Through Mordecai, Esther learned to love, to trust and to obey a mighty God.


Esther's people, like many of the people AKA represents have been:

* Marked down
* Knocked down
* Backed down
* Put down
* Cracked down, and
* Held down

Without Esther's help not only would her people be down, they would be out. Esther was faced with a choice, to save her own life or save the lives of her people. She knew the law. To speak to the King meant instant peril to her own personal safety. And not to speak to the King meant instant death to her people. In today's vernacular Esther was in a double bind; caught between a rock and a hard place.

In the 4th chapter and the 16th verse of the book named after her, we find her coming to grips with her destiny. Devotion to her people was far greater than the duty to herself. So it is with AKA'S who are devoted to our people. ALL of our people. You serve because of your love, not because of any law. To continue the legacy of your FOUNDERS THREE THINGS MUST OCCUR:

I. First you must continue being: ABOLITIONISTS

Being an ABOLITIONISTS is the precondition for self-determination. Our destiny is largely in our own hands. Our Bible tells us to seek and we shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened to us. If we are to make good in this race called life, we must do so through organized, unified strategies.

Whatever our strategies they must emancipate ourselves and our people from the media's powerful practice of perpetuating negative, violent images that encourage irresponsible thoughts, behavior and activities. It appears to me that the majority media delights in portraying African Americans as pimps, pushers and prostitutes, using inflammatory words to portray negative propaganda with such intensity that subconsciously African American people are embracing and acting out these destructive stereotypes.

What that says to me is this, when we fail to be ABOLITIONISTS our people, we continue to allow their fertile minds to be inculcated with violent thoughts, guided by violent sights, trained by violent sounds, instructed by violent words, directed by violent things, schooled in violent places, and therefore, too many of our people continue to be violent outlaws, who live violent, dehumanizing lives.

II. Secondly, you must continue imparting KNOWLEDGE

Occasionally, your heartfelt fervor may decline and your devotion may subside, but despite an occasional misstep you must continue keeping the lamp of KNOWLEDGE burning.

• Forgetful AKA'S, need to open their minds up.
• Lazy AKA'S, need to pep up.
• Sleepy AKA'S, need to wake up.
• Angry AKA'S, need to make up.
• Stingy AKA'S, need to give it up, and
• Gossiping AKA'S, need to shut up.

No matter which way the winds of controversy blow, remember success will not come from holding a good hand, but from playing a poor hand well. There is a higher power that will help you to make a way out of no way.

When you impart KNOWLEDGE, you may not be what you wish to be, you may not be what you're going to be, but by the Grace of God, you will not be what you used to be!

III. Finally, you must continue being an: ACTUALIZER

To be a ACTUALIZER is to provide a synthesis between being an ABOLITIONISTS and Imparting KNOWLEDGE. Without that balance, one could embark on something called "divine insanity".

Divine Insanity" is the confusion in doing something, and not knowing if it right or wrong. Confusion like the young sister I saw outside of the church pulling and empty dog chain. I asked her "What was the matter?" and she answered I don't know, I am so confused I don't know if I found this chain or lost my dog!"

Implicit in imparting KNOWLEDGE is that you are not confused. You are doing what you are doing according to a standard not according to a birth right. Who you are, and not who your father and mother is or was, is what's important. Knowing yourself, liking yourself and being yourself is the cornerstone of being imparting KNOWLEDGE.

Just like the words to the song says, "Your mother may have, your father may have, but God bless the child that has got his own". AKA'S I've stopped by to invite you to continue your ABOLITIONIST activities, continue imparting KNOWLEDGE, and continue ACTUALIZING. Continue pledging your good name, your fortune and your life for the uplifting of our people.

One of the life qualities I admire most about the AKA's I know, is how they vigorously resists tyranny and champion truth.

The AKA's I know confront seemingly unsurmountable odds, such as illiteracy, drug use and drug abuse, single parent households, child abuse, inadequate health care, gang-related violence, low self-esteem, aids, unemployment and under employment.

The AKA's I know are constructive and positive individuals who are ready, willing, and able to lift their people from:

• Criticism to Compliment.
• Self-pity to Self-reliance.
• Resentment to Contentment.
• Hate to Love.
• Fear to Faith.

We can never relive today, therefore, it behooves us to give a good account of ourselves, every moment of this day. We need not be overwhelmed. They realize that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I've stopped by to invite you to keep making that one step at a time:

• Children are precious, teach one.
• Parents are needed, reach one.
• Educators are people of distinction, salute one.
• Goals can be achieved, have one.
• Philosophies inspire, create one.
• Cultural partnerships promote diversity, join one.
• Obstacles are surmountable, move one.
• Prejudices prevent growth, conquer one.
• Coalitions are necessary, build one.
• Positive role models, are crucial, be one.

I'm only one, But I am one
I can't do everything, But I can do something,
And by the Grace of God, What I can do, I will do

By now you may have gleaned that Abolitionist, Knowledge and Actualizing conforms to your call letters "AKA".

AKA, to me represents is a sorority of high regard, a sorority of self-sacrifice, a sorority that evidences the true measuer of a person's giving.


Let me put may remarks in a frame using a story I once heard about a "Lily".

One day, the story goes, a beautiful "Lily" was observed growing in the middle of a garbage dump.

The question was asked the Lily, "How can yiou grow with such beauty in the middle of such salacious and satology mees?"

The Lily replied, "Because my roots, strive, thrive and are alive below the mess,

My head rises above the mess,

My slender stem grows and glows through the mess,

So even though I am in the mess, I am not a part of the mess!"

I've stopped by to thank you for not being a part of the
APATHY, ABHORRENCE, or ABOMINATION. You are "Sugar and Spice and every thing nice.

You are women who are admired, acclaimed and adored by individuals, families and nations--not only here in AMERICA but around the world as well.

Ancient records show that your ancestors served as queens, goddesses, scholars, diplomats, scientists, icons, prophetess and freedom fighting women-warriors exalted sometimes above their fathers, their husbands and their brothers.

You share those attributes, and that is why I can say without equivocation you are "Sugar and Spice and everything nice".

You have been blessed with the blood of women who have administered great and mighty nations, led determined and capable armies into battle and founded splendid and enduring royal dynasties.

Indeed, no other human of any racial or ethnic type has been so widely venerated as has the African woman.

Thank you for inviting me to share these small tributes of historical recognition, for I am honored to salute the prominence, grandeur and majesty of members of your AKA Sorority. You are "Sugar and Spice and everything nice".

My prayer is that you hold on as your ancestors and founders held on and say with determination:

"I don't feel no ways tired,/

I've come to far from where I started from/

Nobody told me that the road would be easy/

But I've come too far for God to leave me!"

So go forward AKA'S and remember ESTHER, she too was "Sugar and Spice and everything nice".

To contact Dr. Ingram, please call 305-995-1340 or e-mail