Delta Sigma Theta was founded 99 years ago at Howard University. This chapter of ladies studied as Jayhawks in Kansas. While Greek life itself has never mattered to me, what does matter is pictures. And I love this one. Not just the dresses and the hair and the double strand of something too jagged to be pearls, but I love old people names. Oreta, Betty Lou, Ivor, Cozetta, and even Dymple. Look at them subbing in Y’s 80 years ago, like they do today. (Think Kyndyll instead of Kendall.) And of course, there’s Dorothy Swope. I bet she traded that surname for another in the next five years, but on this day, in that dress, she was a Swope.
Yearbooks offer windows of potential. Young people on the precipice of adulthood, away from home, focusing their career paths, making friends, falling in love. Who knows what these women accomplished, how many people today remember their names? Maybe one reached 100 and still exists. But now they’re on the internet, forever preserved in youth, smiling in a time before Pearl Harbor, not knowing what would come.