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East St. Louis Alumnae Chapter

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was officially organized in East St. Louis in June 1942 through the efforts and influences of Soror Bessie B. Garvin, an educator in the city school system. The East St. Louis Alumnae Chapter, formerly known as the Gamma Eta Chapter, was the formal beginning of college Greek letter organizations for fraternities and sororities in the East St. Louis metropolitan community. 

Abbie Lou Martin

The Charter Members

Dr. Carrie Dawson


Aurilla Taylor Lewis


Celeste Gavin Dill


Abbie Lou Martin 


Bessie Garvin 


Lorraine Moore


Edna Jones


Mary L. Gladden Perry


Lila B. Teer

The East Saint Louis Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. remembers the life of our Jewel, Soror Abbie Lou Martin. Soror Abbie entered the Omega Omega Chapter on November 19, 2018. Abbie Lou Martin along with eight other members, chartered the Gamma Eta Chapter (later renamed East Saint Louis Alumnae) on June 6, 1942, bringing the first black Greek letter organization to the city of East Saint Louis. She was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at Alpha Nu Chapter on the campus of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1937. Soror Abbie served as the third president of East St. Louis Alumnae Chapter from 1947-1948. She served on the St. Clair County Mental Health Board for over 20 years. She was the chairman and leading fundraiser for the Mental Health Fundraiser Initiative. Additionally, she was the first African- American woman to serve as the Physical Education Supervisor for the East St. Louis School District 189.


On February 12, 2018, she celebrated her 102nd birthday. The members of East Saint Louis Alumnae Chapter were ecstatic to celebrate this milestone with our Jewel. Soror Abbie's kind and benevolent nature welcomed everyone who she met. While we are saddened by her passing, we cherish the many memories that she created with each one of us during her 102 years. 

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