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Our Five Pearls

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated was founded on January 16, 1920 on the campus of Howard University. During this time several historically Black Fraternities and Sororities were already in existence. Five women Arizona Cleaver (Stemons), Myrtle Tyler (Faithtul), Viola Tyler (Goings), Fannie Pettie (Watts) and Pearl Neal felt the need for change. These women, known as our Five Pearls, believed that service to one’s community should be paramount over sorority elitism and socializing. These women founded a new organization based on the ideals of Scholarship, Service, Sisterly Love, and Finer Womanhood. It is on the shoulders of these Five Pearls that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated rests and through their example that members continue to thrive as they serve their communities.

Arizona Cleaver (Stemons): Arizona Cleaver was the first president of Alpha Chapter and the first national president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. She was born and raised in Missouri though pursued graduate and post-graduate studies at Howard University and the Pennsylvania School of Social Work. Founder Arizona Cleaver was the driving force, along with encouragement from the Founders of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, behind the creation of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

Viola Tyler (Goings): Viola Tyler was the second National President of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Founder Viola Tyler studied education at Howard University. She spent her career working as an educator and later as a school administrator. She was the blood sister of Founder Myrtle Tyler Faithful.

Myrtle Tyler (Faithful): Myrtle Tyler was the blood sister of Founder Viola Tyler. Like her sister, she pursued a teaching degree at Howard University and taught mathematics and English in Ohio for many years.

Fannie Pettie (Watts): Fannie Pettie was raised in Savannah Georgia and traveled to Howard University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. She later attended New York University to study social work. Founder Fannie Pettie is credited as organizing two Zeta chapters.

Pearl Neal: Pearl Neal was born and raised in North Carolina. She excelled in Music and attended Howard University to pursue an undergraduate degree in Music. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Music from Columbia University, making her the first Black woman to earn this degree in the state of New York in 1938. Founder Pearl Neal did further study at the Julliard School of Music, in New York.

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