Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc®

Zeta Omicron Omega Chapter

Serving Lenoir and Greene Communities since 1955


Zeta Omicron Omega Chapter
Kinston, North Carolina
Chartered March 19, 1955

The establishment of Zeta Omicron Omega Chapter in 1955 was the fulfillment of a long awaited dream for the members of the small eastern North Carolina community. There were not sufficient members in Kinston to meet the requirements for a chapter, and consequently, the Kinston members originally joined with members from Goldsboro and founded Epsilon Phi Omega Chapter in 1952. When the number of members increased, it was agreed that a division of the chapter would render more effective service to the respective communities. The members from New Bern, Williamston, Roberson, and Morehead City joined the members from Kinston and formed Zeta Omicron Omega Chapter on Saturday, March 19, 1955. Grace Matthews, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director presided over the ceremony. The homes of Mabel Lenhardt and Marilyn Cogdell were used for the ceremony and the banquet.

The Charter Members are:
Eleanor Allison
Thelma Best
Gladys Brown
Marilyn Cogdell
Mary Danyus
Charlotte Holt
Dorethea Jenkins
Grace Johnson
Mabel Lenhardt
Bernice Lloyd
Myra McLendon
Grace Murphy
Gloria Payne
Dorothy Pitt
Fannie Slade
Annie Smith

From the chapter’s founding the major focus has been to render services that would improve the quality of living for families of African American descent. The chapter’s efforts in the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s were reflective of the needs of the people in the areas of education, economics, employment, and health. The chapter sponsored job opportunity workshops, adult tutorial programs, clothing closets, shoe banks located in various schools, and book fairs to make available updated materials for students in their homes.

The continuum of health and social services has existed through the 70s and 80s at two of the largest state facilities for youth with special needs located in our city: adjudicated juvenile delinquents and the mentally handicapped. The chapter received citations from the Governor for volunteer services to these institutions from 1975 to 1985.

The two traditional fundraisers were Fashionetta and the Cotillion. From 1971 to 2013 Zeta Omicron Omega has sponsored twenty biennial debutant cotillions, one of the most prestigious social and cultural events of eastern North Carolina. The members provide six months of training in social graces and deportment and exposure to a variety of cultural affairs. Each member serves as a mentor for a debutante, making this an enriching and rewarding experience.

Chapter plaudits include: The Mid-Atlantic regional achievement award in 1969. In 1980 Kinston’s Mayor issued a proclamation recognizing Outstanding Services to the community on the Chapter’s 25th anniversary. In 1979, 1980, and 1981 the chapter received volunteer services awards from the governor of North Carolina in recognition of services rendered to students at Dobbs School. In 1981 a scrapbook compiled by Paula Cogdell was awarded 3rd place at the Mid-Atlantic regional. In 1981, an endowment for an Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. scholarship was established at Lenoir Community College. As of 1997 it has been permanently endowed. We also have a lifetime membership with the NAACP.

Other highlights include hosting the 1988 Eastern Carolina Cluster with the theme, “Service with a Global Perspective.” In 1989 the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing the outstanding achievements and services to the community. In 1990, the East Branch Library was purchased to be used as an educational facility.

In 2010 Zeta Omicron Omega hosted the Leadership Breakfast during the 57th Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. The event was attended by the national president, Barbara McKenzie, as well as a host of other directorate members. The vice president, Carolyn House Stewart was the keynote speaker. Our chapter also served as the hostesses of the men and children in attendance.

Our members are very versatile teachers, attorneys, nurses, principals, administrators, social workers, real estate brokers, and so forth; and have earned numerous meritorious awards.

Twenty-eight dynamic ladies have been at the helm:
Dorothea Jenkins 1955-1957
Mabel Lendhardt 1958-1959
Fannie Slade 1960-1962
Mabel Lenhardt 1963-1965
Milton Pollock 1966-1969
Katie Hill 1970-1971
Geraldine Lane 1972-1973
Cora Thompson 1974-1975
Diane Kornegay 1976-1977
Grace Murphy 1978-1979
Marilyn Cogdell 1980-1981
Sherlene Gray 1982-1983
Mildred Bryant 1984-1985
Milton Pollock 1985-1986
Marsha Higgins Green 1986-1989
Barbara Seaforth 1990-1991
Valeria Davis 1992-1993
Joyce Raye 1994-1997
Jimmette Graham 1998-1999
Sarone Cannon 2000-2001
Betty Little 2002-2003
Wanda Barnes 2002-2005
Faith Bynum 2006-2009
Cherice Artis 2010-2011
Iris Jones-Nelson 2012-2013
Amanda Outlaw 2014- 2017
Jada Mumford 2018 - 2019
Bessie Burns 2020- 2021
Teedra Brown 2022-2023

Brittany Connor- 2024-present

Through sixty-eight years, Zeta Omicron Omega has continued to flourish and has maintained very special bonds of sisterhood with those chapters that have emerged from our sisterhood. Following the precepts of our founders, scholarship, leadership, and the pursuit of excellence, represents the goals established by the members. From 1955 to 2023 the chapter has provided scholarships and academic awards to more than 300 graduating high school seniors. In this new millennium we will continue to provide “Service to All Mankind.”

Chapter History