LADY FORTITUDE

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The sculpture, Fortitude, was commissioned in 1979 by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., it is located on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. and stands 12 feet 6 inches in height with 12 feet arm to arm span. The imposing work of art symbolizes the attributes of strength, courage, hope, wisdom, beauty and femininity as demonstrated by the 22 founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The outreached hands of Lady Fortitude symbolize the giving of oneself to others while her pushing forward motion portrays strength. Her entire form denotes courage and stands to inspire Black women to move forcefully to meet the challenges of life. “Fortitude” is a tribute to the 22 Founders who personified determination as each of them exhibited strength of mind and ability to endure adversity with patience and courage. 

The Birmingham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. presents the Fortitude 

Award to a member who best exemplifies the qualities as portrayed by our beloved Founders. 

The Fortitude Award is given during the observance of Founders Day biennially. 

Past Fortitude Recipients 

1979 – 1981  Wilma Barnes *

1981 – 1983  Bessie Sears Estell *

1983 – 1985  Eliza Lee Penny *

1985 – 1987  Marguerite Bascomb Warren *

1987 – 1989  Elgertha Pruitt Byrd *

1989 – 1991  Pearlie Garner Thomas 

1993 – 1995  Loretta Williams Allen *

1995 – 1997  Rosa Parker Hanks 

1997 – 1999  Helen C. George Heath *

1999 – 2001  Patricia Toney Speights 

2001 – 2003  Cynthia Williams Walton *

2003 – 2005  Marilyn T. Jones Woodson 

2005 – 2007  Constance Blaylock Nealey* 

2007 – 2009  Ponzella Penny Fuller 

2009 – 2011  Eva Flowers Bell * 

2011 – 2013  Eunice Davis Horton 

2013 – 2015  Catherine Breeding Mitchell *

2015 – 2017  Sarah Watts Mitchell

2017 - 2019  Brenda Gail Rudolph

2019 - 2021  Mary Marbury Hughes*

* Deceased