Founders & First Initiates
The Trailblazers of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority would be remiss not to pay homage to the first women who believed
in the need for a new and different type of Greek-
The Founders of Zeta were strong, principled coeds who possessed a great deal of modesty, strength of character and pride in academic achievement. They are indeed a worthy foundation upon which to base our illustrious Sorority.
Arizona Cleaver (Stemons): Arizona Cleaver was the first president of Alpha chapter
and the first national president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She completed her graduate
Myrtle Tyler (Faithful): Myrtle Tyler was the second national president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and blood sister to Viola Tyler. A high school mathematics and English teacher, Founder Tyler was an active member of Alpha Zeta chapter in Baltimore, Maryland.
Viola Tyler (Goings): Viola Tyler graduated from Howard University with a teaching degree and a major in math. She taught school in Ohio for many years and was always very active in community affairs.
Fannie Pettie (Watts): Fannie Pettie graduated from Howard with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and taught junior and senior high schools in Savannah, Georgia. She was credited with organizing two additional Zeta chapters and had active membership in Delta Alpha Zeta chapter.
Pearl Neal: After graduating from Howard University's Conservatory of Music, Founder Neal continued her studies at the Julliard School of Music. In 1938, she was the first black woman in New York to earn a master's degree in music from Columbia University. An extremely accomplished musician, Founder Neal taught music in North Carolina public schools and served as a director of seniors majoring in music at Teachers College in Winston Salem, NC.
Although there were five Founders of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., there were many
women who were initially interested but did not become a part of the founding group.
Many feared the high academic standards they would need to meet to become a part
of this new organization, others could not afford the initiation fee that appears
nominal by today's standards. However, soon after the light of Zeta shone clearly
through our Five Pearls, there were twenty-