Caroline Lattimore, a Durham member of the historically Black Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, joined many of her sisters celebrating Vice President Kamala Harris' inauguration Wednesday. (Image via Lattimore) AKAs Celebrate Kamala Harris
Caroline Lattimore, a Durham member of the historically Black Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, joined many of her sisters celebrating Vice President Kamala Harris' inauguration Wednesday. (Image via Lattimore)

With loads of pink and pearls, North Carolina members of Kamala Harris’ historically Black sorority celebrate her historic inauguration too. 

Before Kamala Harris ended her presidential campaign, the then-senator from California came to Durham’s St. Joseph AME Church in August 2019 for a special service on social justice. 

Caroline Lattimore, who like Harris is a member of the historically Black Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority, came to see Harris speak. Looking back on Harris’ journey to now — Harris shattered multiple barriers when sworn in as vice president Wednesday, becoming the first Black woman in the office — Lattimore says she’ll never forget Harris’ time in Durham. 

“She just radiates with personality and brilliance,” Lattimore says. 

The connection between the candidate and her AKA sisters across the US has been a feel-good story during Harris’ ascent to the White House. Members of historically Black fraternities and sororities were regulars at Harris events in 2020. And the AKA sorority, which was the first founded for women of color, was launched at Harris’ alma mater, Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Across North Carolina, AKA members, like Lattimore celebrated the inauguration Wednesday dressed head to toe in the sorority colors, pink and green, and pearls to show their support. 

Lattimore, a Durham resident initiated at Virginia’s Hampton University, celebrated with a virtual luncheon planned by her AKA chapter, Mu Omicron Omega. 

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Lattimore and other members set their dining tables and put on their best pink and green outfits with their favorite pearl necklaces. As they sipped tea and ate their lunches, they discussed the future of America and how they as sorority sisters could support the new administration. 

‘All of us will be on high alert.’

Lattimore has been an AKA member for 55 years. She also served as the 15th Mid-Atlantic regional director on the AKA board of directors from 2002 to 2006. In that role as regional director, Lattimore oversaw more than 6,000 AKA members in over 100 chapters in Virginia and North Carolina. 

“All of us will be on high alert,” said Lattimore. “Dressed up and looking the part of an Alpha Kappa Alpha woman in hopes that our Alpha Kappa Alpha sisterhood spirit will flow freely to the Capitol toward the Biden-Harris administration and to our very own member, who is now Vice President Harris.”

Within Harris’ newfound role, Lattimore thinks Harris’ representation will be inspiring, not just to members ofAKA, but to Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students and alumni and people of color everywhere. She expects that as Harris assumes her duties, younger generations will look to Harris as encouragement that they, too, can become prominent in government.

“We were disappointed when she didn’t win the [Democratic nomination] for president of the United States, but fate has a way of bringing good people forward,” says Lattimore. “When Biden appointed and selected her to be his running mate for vice president, this made us all so very proud on so many levels. VP Harris is there, not only because she is a politician; she is also a superb lawyer, [a former] attorney general for California, and a [former] US senator. Harris had all of the qualifications to serve as vice president. There’s no doubt about that.”

Lattimore said she  hopes American history will reflect Harris’ importance.

She added that the Biden-Harris administration will have their “plates full” dealing with  Congress, domestic and foreign policy issues, health care, the COVID-19 vaccine, and the economy.

“I think the country is a little bit nervous. I, too, am nervous because of all that has occurred in the past few months,” said Lattimore. “But I’ve decided this—I am going to look forward to the future. I am looking forward to change.” 

“I am also filled with hope for a better future to unite the American population,” Lattimore said. “We want to continue to make America a place [where] all people are respected.”