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Thu, 10.14.1886

Ethel Jones-Mowbray, Teacher and Sorority Founder born

Ethel Jones-Mowbray

*The birth of Ethel Jones-Mowbray is celebrated on this date in 1886. She was a Black teacher, culinary artist, and administrator.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. George Jones in Baltimore, Maryland, she lost her mother at birth. Her father raised her alone until she was ten. Later, Jones was raised by a foster family, the Myers. She was educated in Baltimore public schools and graduated with honors. Jones enrolled in Howard University in 1906 in the College of Arts and Sciences. Only 1/3 of 1% of Blacks and 5% of whites in those years attended college.

At Howard, Ethel was one of seven sophomore honor initiates into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She participated in the first Ivy Day ceremonies on May 25, 1909, when members started a tradition of planting ivy at Miner Hall. In 1909, she was the first vice-president of the sorority. The following year she served as president of the chapter. Jones graduated in 1910 with a bachelor's degree in math and a minor in education. She, Nellie QuanderJulia Evangeline BrooksNorma BoydNellie Pratt Russell, and Minnie B. Smith decided to incorporate Alpha Kappa Alpha and completed the process on January 29, 1913.

After college, Jones first taught in Baltimore public schools for a few years. In 1913, she married George Mowbray, whom she had dated since college. Ethel and George Mowbray moved to Chicago, where he did graduate work at the University of Chicago. In 1914, Ethel and her husband moved to Kansas City, Kansas. She worked as a culinary artist while her husband was a teacher in the Kansas City public schools. She later owned and operated a catering business. In 1924, Mowbray chartered the Mu Omega chapter in Kansas City.

She encouraged the expansion of Alpha Kappa Alpha in other cities as well. Mowbray worked with the Parent Teacher Association as a junior high school "room mother," where Mowbray assisted the teacher. Ethel and George Mowbray had two children, Geraldine and Helen; she enjoyed playing with three bridge clubs. Ethel Mowbray died in Kansas City, Kansas, on November 25, 1948. Alpha Kappa Alpha's Educational Advancement Foundation has an endowment in Mowbray's honor.

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