Our History

History of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was organized at Howard University in Washington D.C. on January 16, 1920 as the result of encouragement given to our five Founders by Charles Taylor and A. Langston Taylor, members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.  These Sigma brothers felt the campus would benefit by the development of such an organization as sisters to the fraternity.  Thus, Zeta and Sigma became the first and ONLY official Greek-letter sister and brother organization.
 Zeta began as an idea conceived by the five Howard University coeds.  Arizona Cleaver, Pearl Neal, Myrtle Tyler, Viola Tyler, and Fannie Pettie. These five women, also known as our Five Pearls, dared to depart from the traditional coalitions for black women and sought to establish a new organization predicated on the precepts of Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood and Finer Womanhood. It was the ideal of the Founders that the Sorority would reach college women in all parts of the country who were sorority-minded and desired to follow the founding principles of the organization. Founder Viola Tyler was oft quoted to say "[In the ideal collegiate situation] there is a Zeta in a girl regardless of race, creed, or color, who has high standards and principles, a good scholarly average and an active interest in all things that she undertakes to accomplish."
 Over the years since the sorority’s inception, Zeta Phi Beta has chartered hundreds of chapters and initiated thousands of women around the world. Zeta has continued to thrive and flourish while adapting to the ever-changing needs of a new century. Despite the Great Depression, discrimination and segregation and a host of other challenges, Zeta has continued to hold true to its ideals and purpose, for, as stated by one of the Sorority’s founding members: "I believe that no [other] organization could have been founded upon principles that were so near and dear to all of our hearts." (Founder Myrtle Tyler).  
 For more information about Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. please visit the international website: www.zphib1920.org or contact Omega Iota Zeta Chapter at info@zpb1920oiz.org