Our Sorority History



Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded on January 16, 1920, as an idea conceived by five coeds at Howard University in Washington D.C.: Arizona Cleaver, Myrtle Tyler, Viola Tyler, Fannie Pettie and Pearl Neal. These five women, also known as our Five Pearls, dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for black women and sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts of Scholarship, Service, Sisterly Love and Finer Womanhood.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded upon the simple belief that sorority elitism and socializing should not overshadow the real mission for progressive organizations - to address societal mores, ills, prejudices, poverty, and health concerns of the day.

Since its inception, the Sorority has chronicled a number of firsts. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was the first Greek-letter organization to charter a chapter in Africa (1948), to form adult and youth auxiliary groups, to centralize its operations in a national headquarters, and to be constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated has chartered hundreds of chapters and initiated thousands of women around the world. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated's national and local programs include endowment of its National Educational Foundation, community outreach services and support of multiple affiliate organizations. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated chapters and auxiliary groups have given countless hours of voluntary service to educate the public, assist youth, provide scholarships, support organized charities and promote legislation for social and civic change.

A nonprofit organization, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated is incorporated in Washington, D.C. and in the state of Illinois. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated has continued to thrive and flourish while adapting to the ever-changing needs of a new century.


For more information about Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., please visit the International Headquarters' website at www.zphib1920.org.