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Madree Penn White was born in Atchinson, KS and reared in Omaha, NE. She was the highest ranking student in Omaha High School at the time of her graduation. She became an accomplished linguist, speaking German, French, Greek and Latin. Her high intelligence and linguistic skills were put to service in the founding of Delta Sigma Theta. She was the second president of Alpha Chapter and of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (1913-1919). Madree Penn White served as the first woman editor of the campus paper, The Howard University Journal. Her participation in the 1913 Woman’s Suffrage March led to her being the first Delta ever to have an audience with a President of the United States.

Madree Penn White developed the incipient organization’s constitution and by-laws. She designed the ceremony for inducting Honorary Members. She set in motion the mechanism for creating other chapters. She held an individual ceremony for Ruby Martin, an undergraduate from Wilberforce College (OH), who returned to her campus and established Beta Chapter.

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