Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is unique in the way the organization decided to expand the reach of the Sorority beyond Howard University’s campus and into a national organization. While other organizations focused on initially establishing chapters at predominately white educational institutions, Zeta saw a clear need to develop chapters leveraging the backbone of the African American educational experience-
As such, Zeta dared to establish its very first chapters not in the relatively urban cities of Chicago, New York and Detroit, but in the deeply divided cities in the Deep South including Talladega, AL, Lorman, MS and Charlotte, NC. Zeta’s first two chapters after Howard University were established at historically black universities-
Zeta Phi Beta was also at the forefront in other areas of expansion. In 1937, National President Violette Anderson asked Lambda Zeta chapter to host the upcoming national convention in Houston, Texas. No other black Greek-
Zeta again sought to challenge established norms in the 1940′s when work began to develop a chapter in Africa. Many African students attended American universities in the 1930s and 1940s, and several of these students became members of Zeta Phi Beta. One of these women, Dr. Rachel Townsend, commented how she would love to have a chapter in her country of Liberia, Africa. At the encouragement of other Sorority members, Dr. Townsend returned to Liberia to find other Zetas who had attended Howard University and were interested in forming a chapter. An application was submitted, and the charter was granted in December 1948 for the establishment of a Zeta graduate chapter in Monrovia, Liberia, Africa.