Members of the sorority’s Wakulla Chapter: Vivian Wilson, Carlotta Patterson, Chrissy Ervin, Novella Franklin, C. Lynn Thomas, Danyell Conncer, Sonya Jackson, and Kim Hinson.

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Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated Geographical Area 1 celebrated the 104th anniversary of Founders’ Day at the Wakulla County Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 20.

The catered event opened with the Presiding Officer and Area 1 Coordinator Cassundrea Lynn Thomas, along with Chapter President Novella Franklin, Dr. Jacquelyn McMillan, and Dr. Sonya Jackson extending a generous warm welcome and prayer invocation to those attended. Area 1 encompasses Escambia County to Madison County.
First Vice President Carlotta Patterson and Chrissy Ervin of Publications shared, “Zeta Phi Beta is focused on principles, scholarship, service, sisterhood and finer womanhood; we volunteer in Wakulla County by providing Blessing Boxes of food, volunteering within the FRESH back to school events, assisting with food drives, and providing community service whenever a need is identified.”
Wakulla County Commissioner Quincee Messersmith attended the event and recognized the sorority’s tremendous impact on Wakulla County made possible by the selfless acts of service associated with Eden Springs Rehabilitation Center and the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.
Messersmith attended the event donning a royal blue and white dress reflecting the colors of the sorority’s identity.
Living a healthy lifestyle, personal wellness and mental health were topics of discussion at the event as well.
Cassundrea Lynn Thomas said in her welcome speech, “I am glad to be here again. It is no secret the flame of love is in all things. When I think of Novella L. Franklin, you mean so much to a lot of people. Since opening this Chapter I have seen the blessings that you chose to give: to instill loyalty and commitment, to the blessings given and the blessings received in your own lives.”
When addressing the Founders, the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority shared, “The Founders instructed us by teaching us vision, mission, and a plan. Where our start came from, without them, there will be no us.”
The Z-HOPE Presentation was presented by Mrs. Kenny Manning of Be a Hero to Our Heroes, Inc./ F.R.E.S.H. Back to School Outreach Ministry.
“Thank you and we appreciate the interest and support of Wakulla County and we pray God continues to bless this vision,” Manning said.
The Trailblazers of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority website shared the following information:
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority would be remiss not to pay homage to the first women who believed in the need for a new and different type of Greek-lettered organization and acted upon that need. To these women, Zeta was more than an organization – it was a movement. This belief system reflected, at its core, the desire to provide true service, embrace scholarship, set a standard for Sisterly Love, and define the noble concept of Finer Womanhood. This belief has sustained and encouraged Zetas worldwide to hold fast to the ideals initiated and developed by its earliest members.
The Founders of Zeta were strong, principled coeds who possessed a great deal of modesty, strength of character, and pride in academic achievement. They are a worthy foundation upon which to base our illustrious Sorority.
Arizona Cleaver Stemons: Arizona Cleaver was the first president of the Alpha Chapter and the first national president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She completed her graduate and post-graduate studies in social work and was responsible for chartering numerous undergraduate and graduate chapters throughout the United States.
Pearl Anna Neal: After graduating from Howard University’s Conservatory of Music, Founder Neal continued her studies at the Julliard School of Music. In 1938, she was the first black woman in New York to earn a master’s degree in music from Columbia University. An extremely accomplished musician, Founder Neal taught music in North Carolina public schools and served as a director of seniors majoring in music at Teachers College in Winston Salem, NC.
Myrtle Tyler Faithful: Myrtle Tyler was the second national president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and blood sister to Viola Tyler. High school mathematics and English teacher, Founder Tyler was an active member of the Alpha Zeta Chapter in Baltimore, Maryland.
Viola Tyler Goings: Viola Tyler graduated from Howard University with a teaching degree and a major in mathematics. She taught school in Ohio for many years and was always active in community affairs.
Fannie Pettie Watts: Fannie Pettie graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and taught junior and senior high schools in Savannah, Georgia. She was credited with organizing two additional Zeta chapters and had active membership in the Delta Alpha Zeta Chapter.