In the beginning, the events leading up to the establishment of a chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® in San Francisco, California began with the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, and the declaration of war against Japan by the Congress of the United States of December 8, 1941. Three days later,Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and Congress replied with declarations of war against Germany and Italy.
The Selective Training Act became law in 1940. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor about 650,000 med were inducted into the service by July 1941, and about a million more in 1942. Hundreds of thousands of servicemen passed through San Francisco on their way to the war in the Pacific or were stationed in and around the city. Skilled workers were deferred from military service to work in the shipyards and other defense related jobs. With the battle cry, “REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR,” young men left college campuses to join the service, and for the first time in American history, women joined the army, navy, marine corps, and the coast guard for purposes other than nursing. College coeds, wives, and sweethearts joined the workforce in shipyards, on military bases, and they also entered the armed services. The Kaiser shipyard in Oakland and Bethlehem Steel in San Francisco were operated on a twenty four hour basis, and many Alpha Kappa Alpha women and their husbands migrated to the West Coast.
Few African Americans settled in California until World War II. Between 1940 and 1980 the African American population in San Francisco rose from about 4,000 to about 86,000. Many who had come to the city to serve in jobs related to defense decided to remain and become permanent residents.
The war ended and sorors still remaining in San Francisco petitioned the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated® National Office to establish a graduate chapter in San Francisco. Delta Zeta Omega Chapter was chartered September 8, 1946, and became the 101st chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Soror Anna Beachman Browne, 6th Far Western Regional Director, officiated at the chartering. Supreme Epistoleus, Soror Zenobia Allen, was also present. An attractive tea and program at the San Francisco YWCA was the setting of presentation of the chapter to the public by members of Alpha Nu Omega, Oakland-Berkeley Chapter. Soror Alice Long, Basileus of Alpha Nu Omega Chapter presided as Mistress of Ceremonies.
Since its chartering Delta Zeta Omega has welcomed sorors from San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, San Mateo, Pacifica, South San Francisco, Daly City, Hercules, and other surrounding cities. One charter member is still working with the chapter, Soror Mary Carter Clay. Delta Zeta Omega has two Diamond Sorors, Mary Carter Clay and Vivian McLean.
Since its inception, Delta Zeta Omega has developed programs in the areas of academic excellence, scholarship, health, and community service. Chapter scholarship awards have been given to high school graduates in order for them to continue their education at the college or university of their choice. Financial aid grants were/are also given to deserving students not in attendance at a four year college.
After several years of organizing and work with a group of young women in San Francisco colleges, Delta Zeta Omega Chapter requested and received permission from the Alpha Kappa Alpha National Office to sponsor the chartering of an undergraduate chapter. Eta Sigma was chartered on May 9, 1973, with Soror Hassie Dianne Hill as its first President. The Charter included students at the University of San Francisco, Lone Mountain College, and San Francisco State University. As the years have passed, Delta Zeta Omega has continued to serve the community focusing on “Programs of Service" : The Arts, Education/Scholarship, Community Health, The African American Family/Heritage, Leadership and Global Impact.