So I never had sisters. Just one younger brother who ended up going to Brown with me. Although I was admitted in the last class of Pembroke College (all women), became a student activist leader, and later a Trustee of the Brown Corporation, I felt like an outsider. Not rational. I also attended Boston’s Girl’s Latin School for six years and had many friends, but they were from different parts of town. Not connected. It’s not that I do not have women in my life. I adore my mother, who lives next door, and I have reared three girls who taught me how powerful and important sisterhood really is.
I developed four relationships over my life with women I consider sisters. Only one lives nearby and one died when I was 29. I still miss her sorely, our secrets and sharing such sweet dreams for ourselves, our world. I have not been mentored professionally by any women. All highly successful men. Yet when my middle child pledged and joined a sorority at her undergraduate college, I did not grasp why this was so important to her. She was about to embark on medical school. What could compete with that ambition? Or drive it beyond her childhood vision of becoming a physician, the first in our family?
Recently, a colleague asked me to join her in seeking membership in the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Surprising even myself, I quickly seized the opportunity as if I’d been waiting for something like this for a very long time. Sisterhood and public service. College educated Black women organized since 1913 to make “the world a little greater.” I did it. I competed, pledged, and made the serious commitment. Last weekend, before a large audience of officials, friends, and family members, I was accepted into the sorority along with 65 other line sisters and became a Soror in full standing. Someone asked why, at my age? Because it is precisely at my age that I truly can now seek to fulfill my yearnings for myself. I now have a wonderful and authentic experience of sisterhood, as I follow in my daughter’s Delta Sigma Theta footsteps. At last.