AKA Sorority Plans To Build African American Women’s Museum In Founder’s St. Louis Home

The sororities and fraternities under the Divine 9 branch have always dedicated a great part of their missions to community service.

The Gamma Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Society and the sorority’s nonprofit, Ivy Alliance Foundation, are collaborating to revitalize the former St. Louis home of the sorority’s founder, Ethel Hedgemon Lyle. According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the vacant property will be transformed into a museum highlighting Black American women.

“For over a hundred years, we have been providing service to mankind,” the leader of the chapter’s buildings and properties committee, Tracey Clark Jeffries, said regarding the sorority’s mission.

“Now the community will know where to find us.”

The Jeff-Vander-Lou home is located at 2844 St. Louis northwest of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s campus. The $4 million project includes the museum and an adjacent community center to extend job assistance and skills training.

After a decade-long search for a location for the Ivy Alliance Foundation, Jeffries found the home that was owned by developer Paul McKee and his Northside Regeneration, the largest landowner in north city. Reportedly, McKee sold it to the sorority at a reasonable price in support of the organization’s initiative.

“They owned the land, and they didn’t have to sell the land,” Jeffries said of the companies.


According to Jeffries, Lyle’s house will be renovated into the museum, with construction slated to start next fall and open to the public by summer 2024. Other partners on the project include the Kwame Building Group as the contractor, Midwest Bank Centre as the lender, and Sensient Technologies Corp. to help connect residents with jobs.

“Developing underdeveloped areas is a great thing,” Jeffries said.

“What we hope is that the people of the community will be able to benefit from it.”

“We want to be there to help them benefit from it.”
A land dedication for the 12,000-square-foot community center will take place at 2850 St. Louis Avenue on Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.