I am appalled by attacks on undergraduate chapters of black fraternities, such as David Mills's article on pledging {"The Rites and Wrongs of Brotherhood," Style, June 18}.

Though I do not deny that hazing incidents probably occurred, as a member of a black sorority, I resent the almost exclusively negative focus of such articles. Black fraternities and sororities, both graduate and undergraduate chapters, have for decades made progressive contributions to the black community, nationally and internationally.

Since the founding of the first black Greek letter organization, Alpha Phi Alpha in 1906, black sororities and fraternities have had a tradition of service. Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Alpha Kappa Alpha are known for their activist marches on Washington, their aid and support of boarder babies, their fight against adult illiteracy, their work in drug and sex education programs, their protests of apartheid and their efforts to raise relief money for underdeveloped countries. That is where their efforts lie -- not in hazing.

Part of the success of these organizations stems from the rich traditions of the pledge period. As pledges, new members are taught to treasure the public service ideals upon which the organizations are founded. They are taught that they are not just members of these organizations, but brothers and sisters.

The pledge period is an intense time of learning about the history, the founders and the goals of a fraternity or sorority. It is a time to bond with the other pledges and with "linesisters" and "linebrothers," as they are called. Most important, it is a time to get involved in existing service projects and in implementing new ones.

During my pledge period at Howard University, no one on my line or in my chapter experienced anything remotely similar to the horror stories that have been reported. But I would never trade any of the hard times that I did experience as a pledge for a contract that would have, in itself, made me a full-fledge member of my sorority.

It is because of my pledge period, with its good and bad times, that I remain so close to my sorors (sorority sisters). I know that they can be relied upon to offer their support or help if I ever need it. And I would do the same.

It is also partly because of my pledge period that I can see my strengths and weaknesses and know that I can deal with other hardships I may face in life. And it is because of my pledge period that I have an appreciation and a knowledge of my sorority that keeps me dedicated in heart and in service to strive to uphold its ideals.

Of course, hazing is a problem in fraternities and sororities -- and not just black ones. But rather than condemning these organizations for negative and isolated incidents, the critics should be giving them credit for having rolled up their sleeves and done work that makes a difference.

-- Christol L. Powell The writer, now a member of Federal City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., works for The Washington Post.