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The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc was founded by eight educators desiring to establish a sisterhood among teachers and promote the highest ideals of the teaching profession.

The eight founders are Gladys Merritt Ross (Mother Founder), Julia Asbury Barnes, Ella Wells Butler, Marguerite Gross, Florence Steele Hunt, Edna McConnell, Gladys Cannon Nunery and Mildred Morris Williams.

May 23, 1923, the date of incorporation, is recognized as the official Founders Day.

In Recognition of NSPDK Founders' Day

Below is an Excerpt from "We Speak Your Names".  Please use the poem that Supreme Basileus Dr. Etta F. Carter adapted from Pearl Cleage at your Founders' Day programs and events.


By Pearl Cleage

Written for Oprah Winfrey's Living Legend's Banquet

Adapted for NSPDK Founders' Day by Dr. Etta F. Carter


Because we are free women,
born of free women,
who are born of free women,
back as far as time begins,
we celebrate your freedom.

We Speak Your Name
Dr. Gladys Merrit Ross


Because we are wise women,
born of wise women,
who are born of wise women,
we celebrate your wisdom.

We speak your name
Julia Asbury Barnes

Because we are strong women,

born of strong women,

who are born of strong women,
we celebrate your strength.

We speak your name

Dr. Florence Steele Hunt

We are here to speak your names

Dr. Gladys Cannon Nunery,

Ella Wells Butler,

Mildred Morris Williams,

Edna McConnell, and

Marguerite Gross

We are here because you taught us that sisterspeak can continue to be our native tongue, no matter how many languages we learn as we move about as citizens of the world and of the ever-evolving universe.

We are the ones you hoped would make you proud because all of our hard work makes all of yours part of something better, truer, deeper.


Something that lights the way ahead like a lamp unto our feet, as steady as the unforgettable beat of our collective heart.

My sisters, on this NSPDK Founders' Day,

we ask you to speak our Founders' names and your chapter's charter members' names.

We speak your names.
We speak your names.

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