Did you know that Malcolm X’s wife Dr. Betty Shabazz was a member of Delta Sigma Theta?
It is true! Dr. Betty Shabazz, widow of slain Civil Rights activist Malcolm X, was a member of the New York Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Dr. Shabazz, whose original name was Betty Dean Sanders was born May 28, 1934, to Ollie Mae Sanders and Shelman Sandlin. She grew up in an abusive home but at the age of 11 she was taken in by Lorenzo Mallory, a prominent businessman and his wife Helen. Helen Malloy was a founding member of the Housewives League of Detroit, a group of African-American women who organized campaigns to support black-owned businesses and boycott stores that refused to hire black employees as well as a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP.
While her foster parents were very active in the Black community, they tried to shelter Betty from racism and did not talk about it at home. In an interview Betty once reflected on the avoidance of addressing racial inequalities in her household, “Race relations were not discussed and it was hoped that by denying the existence of race problems, the problems would go away. Anyone who openly discussed race relations was quickly viewed as a ‘troublemaker.'”
After finishing high school Betty left Detroit to move to Alabama to study education at the historically black college, Tuskegee Institute, which now goes by Tuskegee University. As she was about to get on the train to head south for school, her foster mother mumbled something to Betty that she didn’t understand. She was trying to warn Betty about the racism that awaited her down south. “The minute I got off that stage, I knew what she was trying to say. She was trying to tell me in ten words or less about racism,” Betty said later in an interview.
Betty had a very hard time dealing with Jim Crow racism in Alabama so much so that she changed her major from education to nursing and then moved to New York through a Tuskegee-affiliated program at the Brooklyn State College School of Nursing against her parents’ will.
In her second year of nursing school, Betty came in contact with the Nation of Islam because a friend invited her to a dinner party held by them. Although she wasn’t interested at first, she loved the food that they served at the party and was invited again by the same friend who told her that this time, a handsome minister would be talking and that “all the sisters want him.” Betty attended the second event and the minister who her friend had told her about happened to be none other than Malcolm X.
“I really had a lot of pent-up anxiety about my experience in the South,” Shabazz told an interviewer in 1990, “and Malcolm reassured me that it was understandable how I felt.”
Malcolm took an interest in Betty, she joined the Nation of Islam and changed her name to Betty X. The two soon started dating but in a way that was acceptable by the Nation of Islam’s teachings. The Nation teaches against one-on-one dates so members would meet up in large groups and go on group dates to visit New York’s museums and libraries and Malcolm would always ask Betty to attend.
On January 14, 1958, the same day that she received her nursing license, the two got married in Lansing, Michigan.
In the early years of their marriage, Malcolm followed the Nation’s strict marriage structure of a husband controlling and leading and the wife submitting, but things soon changed:
“We would have little family talks,” Betty once stated. They began at first with Malcolm telling me what he expected of a wife. But the first time I told him what I expected of him as a husband it came as a shock. After dinner one night he said, “Boy, Betty, something you said hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I’ve been going along having our little workshops with me doing all the talking and you doing all the listening.” He concluded our marriage should be a mutual exchange.”
Shabazz had six children with Malcolm and in 1964 the couple decided to leave the Nation of Islam, convert to Sunni Islam and change their last names from X to Shabazz.
On February 21, 1965, Malcolm was assassinated while standing at the podium giving a speech by a group of men with sawed-off shotguns and pistols who were members of the Nation of Islam. He was hit 16 times and died from the wounds. Betty was in the crowd watching the speech with her daughters.
Betty Shabazz at her husband Malolm X’s funeral —Hartsdale, New York, March 4, 1965 — Photo Credit AP
Shabazz had a tough time after the assassination. She was raising six children by herself, was dealing with anger and sadness and finances were tight.
In 1969, she enrolled at Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University) to finish the degree in education that she left behind when she decided to become a nurse. She was able to finish her undergrad studies in one year and went on to get a masters in health administration. In 1972, she enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to do an Ed.D. in higher education administration and curriculum development.
Shabazz joined Delta Sigma Theta in April 1974 while getting her doctorate at the the University of Massachusetts Amherst which she received in 1975.
She went on to teach health sciences with a concentration in nursing at Medgar Evers College in New York where in 1984 she was given the title, Director of Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs, a position she held until her death.
In 1997, Betty’s grandson Malcolm set a fire in her apartment that resulted in her suffering burns on over 80 percent of her body and she died three weeks later at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. The grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention for manslaughter and arson.
Shabazz was buried next to her husband at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York and the funeral was attended by over 2,000 people.
She was active in the New York Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., until her death and now has memorials dedicated to her across the United States.
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We have searched the internet and gathered some pictures and video of Betty from over the years. Click on the arrows below to see them.
The Women of Delta Sigma Theta at the College of William and Mary Are Stunning
The Deltas at the College of William and Mary are stunning!
The Mu Upsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. recently did a chapter photo shoot and the photos came out beautifully.
Mu Upsilon is passionate about service and creating a safe space for the students of the Black community that are attending their predominately white institution. Their chapter is the first Black Greek letter sorority to be chartered at the College, chartered on February 7, 1976. These women pride themselves on being leaders at their university, which is historically the birthplace of Greek life in the United States of America through the establishment of Phi Beta Kappa in 1776.
The chapter genuinely loves spending time with one another, and building on what sisterhood means to them. They raise funds to support local and international non-profits, mentor young ladies in their community, and support initiatives that focus on social-justice. These women believe that when you do something, you do it right and to the best of your ability. Mu Upsilon loves growing and being of influence to others through the power of their sisterhood in Delta.
Watch the video they created featuring their photos below.
Uploaded to YouTube by DeLauren Davis
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Ikea Acquires TaskRabbit, a Company Whose CEO Is a Soror of Delta Sigma Theta
In a giant move, Ikea just announced that it would acquire TaskRabbit the online and mobile marketplace that connects freelancers with local demand for everyday tasks. This is a BIG deal, and it is an extremely big deal for us over here at Watch The Yard because the CEO of TaskRabbit, Stacy Brown-Philpot, just so happens to be a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Brown-Philpot has an M.B.A. from Stanford University and a B.S. from the Wharton School of Business and according to her LinkedIn, was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in the Spring of 1996.
Before becoming the CEO of TaskRabbit in 2016, she served as the company’s COO for just over three years. Before that, she worked for almost 10 years leading global operations for Google’s flagship products where she worked as the Head of Online Sales and Operations for Google India and opened the office in Hyderabad.
She is currently also serves as a Board Director for HP and Nordstrom and has served on the board of Black Girls CODE and Friends for Youth.
Started in 2008, TaskRabbit operates in 40 cities in the United States and in London, connecting over 60,000 freelance workers, with people looking to hire someone to do chores like furniture assembly, moving and handyman fixes. In an interview with Forbes, Brown-Philpot stated “we pay five times the federal minimum wage based upon an average hourly rate of $35.”
While Ikea has not given out too much information about its plans for TaskRabbit, The New York Times stated that, “The companies teamed up last year in a pilot program in Britain to offer furniture-assembly services for the retailer’s customers. Customers at Ikea stores in the London area were given the option to build the products themselves, hire Ikea’s in-house assembly service or book a tasker to do the work at their home or office, with TaskRabbit’s fees starting at 20 pounds, or about $27.”
Take a look at this interview, Brown-Philpot did with CBS This Morning earlier this year.
This is one more win for the women of Delta Sigma Theta. In an tech industry where we see very few women of color leading companies, it is great to see Stacy Brown-Philpot set the example for us all and give us a role model to look up to.
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Former Ntl. President of Delta Sigma Theta, Congresswoman Fudge, Introduces Bill to Track Hazing on a National Level
Former Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. National President and current U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 11th congressional district, Marcia Fudge has introduced a bill that would require universities by federal law to include the hazing incidents in their yearly crime reports.
Fudge and her co-sponsor, Pennsylvania Republican Patrick Meehan, believe that tracking college hazing will allow authorities grasp the practice’s prevalence and figure out how to reduce it on a national level.
“The bill would require schools that participate in federal financial aid programs to disclose hazing incidents, arrests and disciplinary referrals in their yearly security reports and to implement a hazing education program for students,” Cleveland.com states.
“We cannot act only after an unfortunate incident occurs,” Fudge said in a statement. “We need a strategy that will address hazing at its core. Accurate college reporting will provide the data we need to develop legislative solutions for administrators and faculty and protect our nation’s college students.”
Fudge is a Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she served from 1996 to 2000 and is a member of the Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter. She has also served as the co-chair of the sorority’s National Social Action Commission. Last year, after the leak of internal documents from the Democratic Party that forced Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down, Rep. Fudge served as the chair of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Rep. Fudge’s hazing bill has been endorsed by Pennsylvania State University, where Timothy Piazza, an engineering student, died earlier this year from of injuries sustained while pledging Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
Rep. Marcia L. Fudge leads Press Conference on Anti-Hazing w/ Rep Meehan at the US Capitol https://t.co/70zLbwifr0
— Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (@RepMarciaFudge) July 13, 2017
The bill is currently being endorsed by organizations including the National Panhellenic Conference and the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
“The likelihood is very good that we are going to get it passed. It is a bipartisan bill and I think we are going to be great. I think they are going to pass it because everybody knows it is a problem.” Marcia said when asked if she thought the bill was going to pass by Cleveland.com reporters.
— Delta Sigma Theta (@dstinc1913) August 7, 2017
Marcia Louise Fudge has served as the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 11th congressional district since 2008, a district that includes most of the black-majority areas between Cleveland and Akron. Fudge was initially elected to Congress in November 2008. She was the first African American and the first female mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and an original co-chair of the Democrats for Public Education. She is active in the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, Congressional Military Family Caucus, STEM Education Caucus, Children’s Caucus (Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Taskforce on Childhood Obesity).
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