The founding of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.® began with a small group of college-trained women of color, on the campus of Howard University, located in Washington, D.C. The sorority’s website notes that Ethel Hedgeman dreamed of creating a support network for like-minded women who wanted to come together for mutual upliftment and coalescing their talents and strengths for the benefit of others. Her vision crystallized as Alpha Kappa Alpha, in 1908. Five years later an insightful woman named Nellie Quander became the leader incorporator who ensured Alpha Kappa Alpha’s perpetuity through incorporation in the District of Columbia.
Actress and director Phylicia Rashad is involved in a project on the horizon about the first Black Greek-letter sorority. The documentary called Twenty Pearls chronicles the organization’s history. Ironically, Rashad graduated from Howard University, magna cum laude. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
According to a statement, Rashad narrates the organization’s journey through 113 provocative years. Interviews include Alpha Kappa Alpha International President and CEO Dr. Glenda Glover, Vice President Kamala Harris, Miss Universe Ireland 2019 Fionnghuala O’Reilly, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, and many more are reportedly included, in addition to archival assets. It was also reported that the organization has now grown to more than 300,000 members internationally. Another milestone for the sorority is that it is reportedly the first African American Greek-letter organization to distribute a full-length, feature documentary film.
Comcast also stated that Twenty Pearls closely examines the founding and legacy of the first Black sorority, which is now regarded as one of the most significant and influential Black organizations in history. The documentary tells a powerful story of sisterhood.
“We’re thrilled to work with award-winning filmmaker, Deborah Riley Draper, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to bring this exclusive premiere to the Black Experience on Xfinity channel, furthering our company-wide mission of investing in and showcasing authentic Black stories and culture,” Keesha Boyd, executive director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services, said in a statement. “We launched this channel to help facilitate the discovery of stories like Twenty Pearls, while providing a platform for emerging Black content creators.”
Comcast said that Twenty Pearls premiered on March 26 on Xfinity. It was free for subscribers. It was made available nationwide, on-demand as of on March 30, 2021. Visit the website to learn more about the documentary.