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The Voice of the Black Community


DELTA SPOTLIGHT: Martha Vivian Branch Thorpe
Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014
by Special To The Triangle Tribune

Martha Branch was born in Durham. After a Durham City Schools education, she left home to attend Bennett College, home of the Bennett Belles. She graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Arts in music and English. That same year, she married the late Dr. Earlie E. Thorpe, and they soon left Durham. Thorpe continued her pursuit of education and earned a Master’s of Arts in education from Southern University.  

Thorpe began her teaching career at Pearsontown Elementary in Durham. She continued to teach while away in Alabama and Louisiana, and in 1962 she returned to the Bull City and taught at Whitted Junior High, Carr Junior High before retiring in 1987 from Brogden Middle.

Thorpe and five others were initiated into the Durham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 1964. She quickly became involved in advancing the organization’s Five Point Programmatic Thrust.

During her 50 years in Delta, she has supported chapter programs and initiatives involving music, youth and senior citizens. She sang with the Deltones, worked diligently with the education committee and the Life Development Youth Tutoring Program, and was a member of what is now called the Golden Agers Committee. She is especially proud to be a contributor in the DADH Inc. Burn the Mortgage Brick Campaign, and pinning both of her daughters when they joined the sorority.

Thorpe is a member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, where she has served on many ministries and committees. She also is a member of the N.C. Association of Educators and Retired School Personnel, Durham Congregations in Action, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Durham Chapter – Bennett College Alumnae, Church Women United and more.

Thorpe remains active with the Daughters of Dorcas Club, Durham Association of Ministers’ Wives and Widows, the sorority and her church.



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