"Making a Positive Impact:
It is Our Alabama State Journey"

Alabama State Organization
The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International

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History of Alabama State Organization

Beta State, second only to Texas, the “mother state,” was organized December 19, 1931, at a luncheon meeting at the Jefferson Davis Hotel, Montgomery. Twelve key women teachers initiated as founders of Beta State were as follows: Birdie Alice Belser, Danylu Belser, Olivia Herndon Dannelly, Louise Phillips Glanton, Janie Graham Parish, Agnes Ellen Harris, Mary Henderson, Ruth Higgins, Mayme Patrick, Mary De Bow Rich, Norma Smith, and Lucretia Wyman.

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society came to Alabama largely through the friendship of Dr. Annie Webb Blanton, National Founder, and Dr. Agnes Ellen Harris, Dean of Women, University of Alabama and Beta State Founder. Dr. Blanton was ever grateful to Alabama for being the first state to join Texas in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society. She saw the “real beginning of a NATIONAL Organization of Women Teachers which would honor women teachers and unite them for service to education through which greater leadership of women in education would be developed.”

Dr. Agnes Ellen Harris, Dean of Women, University of Alabama, served as the first president of Beta State from 1931-1935. Her leadership helped improve educational opportunities for women and advance the interests of Delta Kappa Gamma. The first years of Beta State included the depression period. State funds for public schools were almost depleted, forcing many school systems to cut terms short, to close the schools, or to ask teachers to accept “script” as a promise of later payment of salaries. During its first years of existence, Beta State supported issues important to women teachers such as the need for a teacher’s retirement fund and increased financial support for education from the Alabama legislature.

Thus Beta State Organization of Delta Kappa Gamma took the position that the permanence of the government and the high standards of living in the United States are dependent upon an enlightened and educated citizenship, and to this end the teacher is of prime importance.

Since its founding in 1931, Beta State members have made important contributions to The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Two Beta State members have served as National/International President: Norma Smith Bristow Salter (1933-36) and Zora Ellis (1960-62). Both also received the National/International Achievement Award. Dana Gatchell made a needlepoint tapestry in appreciation of the ideals exemplified in the life of the Founder Annie Webb Blanton. This tapestry was officially presented to and accepted by International at the Silver Anniversary Convention in Boston in 1954. Thirty-two key women educators have served as Beta State Presidents. Their leadership and guidance have helped our state organization recognize the purposes of our Society.


 

Updated on January 20, 2019