Hazel Carr, was one of the four Founders and a Past President of Alpha Pi Chi National Sorority, Inc. Born in Saint Louis, Missouri and grew up in the Ville Community. She attended Simmons Elementary School, Summer High School, and Stowe Teachers College. Hazel continued her education receiving a master's degree in Special Education. She was a well-respected special education teacher for many years. She was a lifelong member of St. James A.M.E. church, a member of the adult choir, a pianist for the Youth Choir and active in the Bible Study Class until her health began to fail. One of her passions was growing beautiful African violets. She was a member of the Metropolitan Saint Louis African Violet Council. She was also passionate about duplicate bridge. As an accomplished bridge player, she acquired master bridge status, playing in the American Bridge Association's duplicate bridge tournaments.
Hazel Carr served in a leadership capacity from 1962-1987. Through her steadfast leadership, dedication and perseverance, a new organizational structure was developed that changed the policies and procedures of Alpha Pi Chi. Hazel brought Greek paraphernalia to our assemblies. The sorority flag, banner with the crest that holds all of the sorority's symbols, and the torch light totally changing the atmosphere of the sorority while increasing pride in the organization. She introduces the program that awards scholarships each year to students with a 2.5GPA. She also initiated the charitable donation of $5000 every three years to a service organization in the host city of our convention. The first public sponsor, (Anheuser-Bush) underwrote a luncheon in the honor of Soror Jean Jackson, during Soror Carr's administration.
Hazel Carr was an inspiration to many people and touched many lives with her can-do spirit, dedication and devotion. She was a friend, a teacher and a leader. She leaves a legacy that will last for an eternity in Alpha Pi Chi National Sorority and in the communities where she lived and worked.
Helen Blake Harristhe youngest daughter of the Reverend Walter Scott Blake, a Baptist minister, and Tennis Blake, aschool teacher, was born in Emporia, Kansas. She finished grade and high school in Muskogee, Oklahoma where her father was a pastor.
She attended Fisk University and Northwestern University. Helen was employed by the Chicago Board of Education and attended summer school at the Nation Playground and Recreation Association of America. She accepted a position with a settlement house in Syracuse, New York.
Several years passed before she enrolled in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Chicago and completed courses in law at Loyola School of Law where she graduated. She engaged in many activities such as playing leading roles in operettas and plays; dancing, cooking and most of all writing. One which was published titled, "The People Downstairs." Helen's final written presentations included the following philosophy expressed by Albert Schweitzer,"In gratitude for your own good fortunate, you must render in return some sacrifice of your life for other life." All of us who have come together in service through Alpha Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. are dedicated to something that will out-last life and from that we will find true meaning of Learning and Living.
E. Gertrude Thompson was born, raised and educated in Atlanta, GA. She attended Clark College and had the distinct honor of being one of the first students to attend the Atlanta University School of Social Work.
Born the third child of Henry and Gertrude Furlow, she was endowed with a special talent, a gift. A gift of love is a divine energy that comes from within and radiated in all directions. It was this boundless store of love coupled with the genuine desire to be of service to her fellow man, which motivated her to join the American Red Cross. After that, she traveled abroad to Europe to use her skills and talents as a social worker to serve the men and women of the Armed Forces. She continued to render noteworthy service to the Department of Public Welfare the Southside Comprehensive Health Center. She always had time for words of encouragement, to listen to their problems and offer a word of advice and to share a warm, friendly smile.
In 1955, Gertrude was contacted by Elizabeth Farmer, from the Midwest Region, who was in Atlanta to meet with key women in the community for the purpose of organizing a new sorority. The idea of universal sisterhood was overwhelming, to say the least, and from this inception, Gertrude was totally committed. Working countless hours with planning, organizing, traveling and praying to God for guidance, strength, and direction.