National History


Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was founded on November 12, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana on the campus of Butler University. It was during this time that the KKK in Indianapolis boasted the largest membership outside of the American south. It was because of this difficult and oppressive environment that seven school teachers set out to organize the Black Greek Letter organization of Sigma Gamma Rho to support and uplift the surrounding community. These brave young educators, our seven founders, were: Mary Lou Allison Little, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Dulin Redford, Bessie M. Downey Martin and Cubena McClure.

Sigma Gamma Rho became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to Alpha chapter at Butler University, becoming the first and only historically black sorority founded on a predominately white college campus. The first three years of Sigma Gamma Rho were devoted to organizing. This made way for the first national Boule, now a biennial conference,  which convened in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 27-29, 1925. The second was held in Indianapolis as well at which time Edythe Malone Ward became the second Grand Basileus and successor to founder Mary Lou Allison Little.



Quick Facts about Sigma Gamma Rho

Established: November 12, 1922, at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Membership: Over 85,000 worldwide

Division: Five Regions –
Central, Northeastern, Southeastern, Southwestern, Western.

Service Channel: Over 500 chapters in the U.S., Bahamas, Bermuda, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Germany and Korea.

Sorority Flower: The yellow tea rose.

Sorority Mascot: The Poodle.

Sorority Colors: Royal blue and gold.


Find out more about Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. at