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A celebration of a giant

The Dallas Examiner | 3/3/2015, 8:25 a.m. | Updated on 3/3/2015, 2:33 p.m.
Enveloped in a sea of red, the ballroom at the Hilton Hotel at Lincoln Center was filled with Delta Sigma ...
Women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. sing as they march in with a banner celebrating Founder’s Day. Photo by Wallace Faggett

The Dallas Examiner

Enveloped in a sea of red, the ballroom at the Hilton Hotel at Lincoln Center was filled with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority sisters, along with their family and friends, in celebration of the life and legacy of a local giant – Frederica Chase Dodd – during the annual Dallas Alumnae Chapter’s Founders’ Day luncheon on Feb. 7.

Dodd was one of the founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. at Howard University in 1913. Additionally, she founded Dallas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the first Greek sorority in Dallas, in 1924.

Keynote speaker for the luncheon was Rev. Dr. Ouida F. Lee, senior pastor of Church of the Disciple and a Delta member. She spoke in reference of the theme, “Reuniting with our Past to Shape our Future.” She researched the climate in Dallas when Dodd returned to found the city’s first Delta chapter.

Lee’s research revealed that these were troubling times in Dallas.

“On June 14, Dallas Klan No. 66 paraded through the streets of Oak Cliff followed by a barbecue and speeches. And on July 15 Dallas Klan No. 66 held a family picnic at Fair Park, followed on Sept. 8 by a live performance, called ‘The awakening,’ entertainment opened at the Circle Theater,” she stated.

She further found that, “in spite of the fact that in Dallas there was racial segregation and racial intolerance, this did not stop the courageous women who were determined to make a difference. She found that in 1920 colleges boomed. Black high schools in Texas were preparing more students for higher education. Families were being forced off of farms and education was one of the few opportunities available to young people. So we had a Black Dallas with hopeful young people prepared for college, agricultural jobs vanishing from the scene and racial discrimination parading through the streets.”

Lee then issued a challenge to the women of Delta.

“Racism is alive and present, but there is the call for us to look beyond division and divisiveness to see the power of teams working together in unity to face the challenges that are before us.”

Frederica Chase Dodd

Dodd was born as Frederica Chase on Nov. 3, 1893. Her father was an attorney and her mother was a teacher. She attended Dallas Colored School #2, currently Booker T. Washington High School, according to the Texas Online Handbook.

In 1910, she went on to Howard University.

On Jan. 13, 1913, Dodd, along with 21 collegiate women at Howard University, wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to those in need. She served as the sorority’s first sergeant-at-arms.

After forming the chapter, their first public act was to participate in the National American Woman Suffrage Association’s march in Washington, D.C., in March of 1913. This was the first women’s suffrage march. Five thousand people marched down Pennsylvania Avenue demanding the right to vote for women.

In 1914, she graduated and returned to Dallas to teach English at Booker T.