Erma Hines has been fulfilling a lifetime commitment to service and sisterhood for more than seven decades.
Erma Hines has been fulfilling a lifetime commitment to service and sisterhood for more than seven decades..

By Nichole R. Pinkney

The creative, talented and intelligent Erma Hines is celebrating 75-years of membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority this year. 

Family and friends will gather at the Regency Room in Suitland, Md., on May 7th to look back on her service to the organization. Though it will be a celebration of Hines, she will be using the occasion to also give back to the community. Scholarship awards will be given to 21 deserving students in Southern Prince Georges’ and Charles Counties.

Hines’ love for the organization grew after being initiated into the Beta Alpha Chapter at Florida A&M University (FAMU) in the spring of 1948. She was on a line of 13 during a historic time period. Hines became a member on April 30, 1948 while civil rights activist Dr. Dorothy I. Height was the National President between 1947 and 1956. 

Hines was  involved in leadership and served as her chapter’s representative for the National Panhellenic Council activities. She  graduated from FAMU in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (pre-med). While at FAMU, she was active in the Modern Dance Club, the College Choir, the Science Club and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Following graduation, Hines obtained her teacher certification and began a 40-year education career for the state of Florida. Her teaching assignments included science and math instruction that spanned over six counties at the middle school, senior high and junior college levels.

In 1965, the Jackson County School Superintendent asked her to break barriers as the first Black teacher at Snead High School. No one on the staff spoke to her for the entire school year. While she was initially met with resistance from the community, by the end of the school year, the parents were so pleased with the progress their children had made in the sciences, that she was asked to return the following year, which she respectfully declined! 

Hines can only give God the glory for blessing me with the ability to reach young people. Her love of teaching and passion for her students, led her to become a guidance counselor for nearly 25 years. 

Following her retirement, she developed two educational programs that were implemented in five Florida counties. 

Erma Hines
Erma Hines has been fulfilling a lifetime commitment to service and sisterhood for more than seven decades.

The mission of those programs was to motivate and stimulate people who had dropped out of school or were in danger of dropping out of school. Many of her former students from throughout her career still call today and say what a major impact she had in their lives. 

Hines has also held membership in numerous local, state and national civic and educational organizations exercising her love for people and contributing to her community. 

No matter where she has lived, she was always active in the Delta Sigma Theta Alumnae Chapter of that city or county. She is the mother of Marcietta Washington and her two granddaughters are her Delta Sigma Theta Sorority legacies. 

Family is her greatest love. As the youngest daughter of the late David A. and Mary Lou Boyd, she was always known as the “baby sister” to her 12 siblings, even though she had three younger brothers. 

A native of Jacksonville, Fla. Hines and her family relocated to Palatka when she was two, where she was raised and educated. Her father became a funeral director and today her family has five Boyd Funeral Homes throughout the state of Florida. 

Hines attended the historic Central Academy High School and was an excellent student, an avid reader, an outstanding basketball player and won many oratorical contests in the area. 

At the age of 13-years-old, she joined Leah Chapel Methodist which is now the Emmanuel United Methodist Church where she was active throughout her childhood. Following her college graduation, she married and was baptized into the Baptist faith, as her husband believed that a family should worship together. She was blessed to become the mother of five sons, two daughters, 25 grandchildren, 35 great grands and six great-great-grands. 

Hines and her husband were both later ordained into the diaconate. She faithfully served as a deaconess for over 65 years, and she is currently a Deaconess Emeritus at Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md. 

Throughout her life she has served in various church ministries such as Christian education, Sunday school, music and choir, finance, youth and women.

Hines believes her love for people and her encouraging spirit that God gave her are the essence of who she is. 

Her children, grands, great-grands, nieces, nephews, relatives, friends, students, co-workers and sorors alike, have told her that they enjoy spending time with her and hearing her “words of wisdom.”

 Worshiping the trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit brings immense joy to her life. 

Sunday school and bible study attendance allows her to grow in grace with the knowledge of my Lord and Savior. She prays that she will continue to be able to use her many God-given gifts to be used for His glory.

Nichole R. Pinkney is first vice president and chair of membership services for the Fort Washington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Read more about Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on here