Delta Presents, an annual program sponsored by the Little Rock Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., recognizes outstanding black male high school seniors for achievements in their schools, churches, and communities. In the early 1970’s, a number of groups spotlighted achievements of black female students but not black males. The idea for Delta Presents was conceived in 1973 when a member, the late Mrs. Sue Cowan Williams visited a community in California where a similar program was being conducted. During that time, other chapter members also attended recognition programs for outstanding young people in other cities. Through their shared ideas and collaborative efforts, Delta Presents was born. The first Delta Presents program was held 1974 at the Philander Smith College Auditorium and hon-ored 19 young men. Early programs were also held at the Arkansas Arts Center and The Cam-elot Hotel.
Delta Presents has revolved over the years. The early programs took place in an auditorium setting and were followed by a reception. The fifth Delta Presents, held at the Camelot Hotel, was the first banquet program. During this phase of Delta Presents’ development, preparatory activities were incorporated into the agenda to give the honorees an opportunity to interact with successful African American males in our community.
This expansion of the program afforded the honorees opportunities for personal contact with role models that they had only read about in newspapers or seen on television. This aspect of the program continues to be a highlight for both the honorees and for presenters from the community. Delta Presents has always been about providing opportunity for the honorees. So, it was only fitting that the program grew to give the young men the opportunity to showcase their talents rather than bring in talent from the community.
Most significantly, during the 1980’s, the chapter enhanced Delta Presents by awarding scholarships to honorees. In this way, the chapter has made a tangible investment in the future of these outstanding young men. Through the scholarship program, the chapter has given monetary awards to the honorees that have displayed the most outstanding academic ability and service involvement. In later years, each honoree has received a book stipend or a scholarship from financial commitments from the chapter members, the community and civic sponsors.
Delta Presents honorees participate in a series of activities prior to the event. The Delta Presents experience begins with the Parent Host Hour, an informational meeting with the young men and their parents; Career Fest where students from area secondary schools, including Delta Presents honorees, are given information to help in the process of career selection. Professionals from the community discuss their careers and the preparation needed to pursue those careers. There is also the Personal Development Seminar that provides interaction with male role models who encourage the young men in their individual development. Participation in Delta Presents also gives honorees the opportunity to meet with former honorees who are leaders in the community and in the nation.
Delta Presents applications are available to all African American male high school seniors with-in the city and in surrounding cities. For 47 years and over 2000 honorees, the Little Rock Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has been a part of a firm foundation in our community by investing time, energy and resources in the lives of our communities’ most outstanding African American males.