|Kappa Alpha Psi|
|Founded||January 5, 1911
Indiana University Bloomington
|Motto||Achievement In Every Field Of Human Endeavor|
|Colors||Crimson █ and Cream █|
|Publication||The Kappa Alpha Psi Journal|
|Chartered||May 15, 1911 at Bloomington, Indiana|
|Nickname||Kappas, Nupes, Pretty Boys,|
|Headquarters||2322-24 North Broad Street
Kappa Alpha Psi , a college Fraternity, now comprised of functioning Undergraduate and Alumni Chapters on major campuses and in cities throughout the country, is the crystallization of a dream. It is the beautiful realization of a vision shared commonly by the late Revered Founders Elder Watson Diggs; John Milton Lee; Byron Kenneth Armstrong;Guy Levis Grant; Ezra Dee Alexander; Henry Tourner Asher;Marcus Peter Blakemore; Paul Waymond Caine; Edward Giles Irvin and George Wesley Edmonds.
It was the vision of these astute men that enabled them in the school year 1910 – 11, more specifically the night of January 5, 1911, on the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, to sow the seed of a fraternal tree whose fruit is available to, and now enjoyed by, college men everywhere, regardless of their color, religion or national origin. It is a fact of which KAPPA ALPHA PSI is justly proud that the Constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership merely because of his color, creed, or national origin. The Constitution of KAPPA ALPHA PSI is predicated upon, and dedicated to, the principles of achievement through a truly democratic Fraternity.
Chartered and incorporated originally under the laws of the State of Indiana as Kappa Alpha Nu on May 15, 1911, the name was changed to KAPPA ALPHA PSI on a resolution offered and adopted at the Grand Chapter in December 1914. This change became effective April 15, 1915, on a proclamation by the then Grand Polemarch, Elder Watson Diggs. Thus, the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter Fraternity in every sense of the designation.
From its inception, and for the next six years, Brother Diggs served as the Grand Polemarch of KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity. Through his leadership and indefatigable application, augmented by the efforts of B.K. Armstrong, and John M. Lee, who comprised the remainder of the original Grand Board of Directors, the infant Fraternity was guided through the most perilous years of its life. Accordingly, much of the credit for the organization’s survival through this period is shared by these three men.
From its inception, every endeavor was directed toward establishing the Fraternity upon a strong foundation before embarking on plans of expansion. By the end of the first year, working together, Diggs and Armstrong had completed the ritual and had commenced work on the coat of arms. Work on the latter was completed during the following summer by Diggs, Armstrong and Lee while they were pursuing employment at a hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In selecting a suitable motto, Diggs, Armstrong and Lee solicited the aid of a Professor of Greek Art at Indiana Technical College at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Having adopted a motto which mutually suited them, they carried a sketch of the coat of arms to a commercial engraver in Fort Wayne, from which he made the first metal plate.
Kappa Alpha Psi
For years, in order to safeguard the ritualistic secrets of the Fraternity, Diggs laboriously typed and bound the rituals. It was not until he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he met an old German printer in whom he had confidence, that he entrusted the esoteric materials of the Fraternity to a commercial printer.
In the spring of 1912 Diggs wrote in a little blue examination book the first Constitution, which was adopted in 1920 with but a few revisions. This edition remained in use until 1926 when it was supplanted by the codified edition jointly written by Diggs, J. Ernest Wilkins, and W. Ellis Stewart. In 1957 the Constitution again underwent major revision.
Now substantially established and provided with a Constitution, Ritual, coat of arms, motto, and guiding hand in a dynamic Grand Chapter, the Fraternity was ready for expansion. In the summer of 1912 Diggs visited the University of Illinois at Urbana, Illinois, where he met Earl B. Dickerson, President of the Old “Illini Club.” This club constituted the nucleus of the University of Illinois Chapter, the Beta, which was chartered on February 8, 1913. Gamma Chapter (later changed to Indianapolis Alumni Chapter) was established on December 29, 1913, followed by the establishment of Delta Chapter at the University of Iowa, on March 7, 1914. The latter was subsequently changed to Gamma Chapter, and the designation of Delta assigned to the Wilberforce University Chapter at Wilberforce, Ohio. Epsilon Chapter, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, was established December 4, 1915, as the first chapter in the East. Elder W. Diggs journeyed from Indiana to give this chapter his personal and official installation, recognition and blessing.
Thus ended the infancy of KAPPA ALPHA PSI, whereupon the Fraternity embarked upon an era of expansion. Except for the years of World War I and II, when several Grand Chapter meetings were suspended, KAPPA ALPHA PSI has grown and prevailed with unabating impetus.
KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity, relatively early, envisioned the modified attitudes of college administrators and administrations regarding certain frivolous activities previously identified with Greek letter organizations; and it initiated appropriate changes. Among the early changes brought about was the banning of paddling and other forms of physical abuse, and the introduction of constructive endeavors during pledgeship and probation. To date, KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity is organizationally and administratively mature. It moves steadily toward a tomorrow of promise, productivity and influence.
“A SHORT CHRONICLE OF KAPPA ALPHA PSI FRATERNITY”
The founders of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. are: Elder Watson Diggs, most affectionately known as ‘The Dreamer’, Dr. Ezra D. Alexander, Dr. Byron Kenneth Armstrong, Atty. Henry Tourner Asher, Dr. Marcus Peter Blakemore, Paul Waymond Caine, George Wesley Edmonds, Dr. Guy Levis Grant, Edward Giles Irvin, and Sgt. John Milton Lee:
The founders endeavored to establish the fraternity with a strong foundation before embarking on plans of expansion. By the end of the first year, the ritual was completed, and a design for the coat of arms and motto had begun.
Kappa Alpha Psi initiate Frank Summers was one of eighteen members of the Indiana University Track team awarded the letter “I” in 1915.
The fraternity was founded as Kappa Alpha Nu on the night of January 5, 1911 by ten African-American college students. The decision upon the name Kappa Alpha Nu may have been to honor the Alpha Kappa Nu club which began in 1903 on the Indiana University campus, but there were too few registrants to assure continuing organization.
The motto of the Fraternity is, “Achievement in every field of human endeavor”. During this time there were very few African-American students at the majority white campus at Bloomington, Indiana and they were a small minority due to the era of the Jim Crow laws. Many African-American students rarely saw each other on campus and were discouraged or prohibited from attending student functions and extracurricular activities by white college administrators and fellow students. African-American students were denied membership on athletic teams with the exception of track and field. The racial prejudice and discrimination encountered by the founders strengthened their bond of friendship and growing interest in starting a social group.
By 1913, the fraternity expanded with the second undergraduate chapter opened at the University of Illinois—Beta chapter; then the University of Iowa—Gamma chapter. After this, Kappa Alpha Psi chartered undergraduate chapters on Black college campuses at Wilberforce University—Delta Chapter, and Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)—Epsilon Chapter. In 1920, Xi Chapter was chartered at Howard University. In 1921, the fraternity installed the Omicron chapter at Columbia University, its first at an Ivy League university. The fraternity’s first chapter in the South was established in 1921 at Morehouse College— Pi Chapter. Kappa Alpha Psi expanded through the Midwest, South, and West at both white and black colleges.
Some believe the Greek letters Kappa Alpha Nu were chosen as a tribute to Alpha Kappa Nu, but the name became an ethnic slur among racist factions. Founder Elder Watson Diggs, while observing a young initiate compete in a track meet, overheard fans referring to the member as a “kappa alpha nig”, and a campaign to rename the fraternity ensued. The resolution to rename the group was adopted in December 1914, and the fraternity states, “the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter Fraternity in every sense of the designation.” Kappa Alpha Psi has been the official name since April 15, 1915.
In 1947, at the Los Angeles Conclave, the National Silhouettes of Kappa Alpha Psi were established as an auxiliary group, which membership comprises wives or widows of fraternity members. In 1980, the Silhouettes were officially recognized and granted a seat on the Board of Directors of the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation. Silhouettes provide support and assistance for the activities of Kappa Alpha Psi at the Grand Chapter, Province and Local levels.
The Kappa “Kane”
In the 1950s, as black Greek-letter organizations began the tradition of step shows, the fraternity began using the “Kappa Kane” in what it termed “cane stepping”. The kappa canes were longer in the 1950s than in later decades. In the early 1960s, the cane was decorated with the fraternity colors. In the 1970s the cane was shortened so brothers could “twirl” and tap the cane in the choreography with high dexterity. The process of covering the cane in the fraternal colors is considered as ‘wrapping’ and is done very specifically.
In the 1960s the national organization did not condone the use of canes or Kappa Alpha Psi’s participation in step shows contending that “the hours spent in step practices by chapters each week would be better devoted to academic or civic achievement.” Senior Grand Vice Polemarch Ullysses McBride complained about the vulgar language and obscene gestures sometimes engaged in by cane-stepping participants during these stepshows. In 1985, during the fraternity’s 66th national meeting, cane stepping was finally recognized as an important staple of Kappa Alpha Psi.
Guide Right is a program for the educational and occupational guidance of youth, primarily inspirational and informational in character. Its reach extends to high schools and colleges alike. In the latter, giving due attention to the needs of undergraduate Brothers.
Conceived in 1922 by Leon Wop Stewart, and suggested at the twelfth Grand Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Guide Right became the Fraternity’s National Service Program. Jesse Jerome Peters, later to become the eighth GrandPolemarch, was chairman of the committee, during the administration of W. Ellis Stewart as Grand Polemarch.
Guide Right is administrated by a National Director and a Guide Right Commission. The Guide Right Commission consists of the Director and twelve Province Guide Right Coordinators, one from each Province, appointed by their respective Province Polemarchs. The Director is uniquely qualified to perform the duties of this office and is appointed by the Grand Polemarch. He prepares such directives as are necessary for the successful and efficient observance of this National movement. He also edits and prepares the Manual for the universal use of Undergraduate and Alumni.
The five national Guide Right initiatives are Kappa League, Jr. Kappa League, A-MAN Program, St. Jude Research Hospital, and the premier program, “Kappa Kamp,” which enables inner city boys to attend camp at the Piney Woods Country Life School in Piney Woods, Mississippi. In addition to the above-mentioned national initiatives, chapters within the Fraternity sponsor a wide variety of Guide Right programs in their communities that support their local youth.
The Kappa League was founded Thursday, February 12, 1970 by the Los Angeles (CA) Alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi; under the direction of Leon W Steward. Steward brought the idea to Los Angeles from Dayton, Ohio, where he had worked closely with Jay Crosby to expand the guide right activities of Dayton (OH) Alumni chapter. The Kappa League is a series of activities designed to help young high school male students develop their leadership talents. The activities provide both challenging and rewarding experiences to enhance their lives. The goal of the League is to help the students achieve worthy goals for themselves and to make meaningful contributions to their communities. The League includes a series of workshops to achieve its goals.
Student of the Year Competition
The Student of the Year Competition is a contest that encompasses six areas deemed critical to a successful life – scholarship, talent, community involvement, poise and appearance, career preparation, and model chapter operation. Each Province sponsors a pageant during its Council. In the year of a Grand Chapter Meeting, the Province winners compete at the Grand Chapter Meeting. The first Student of the Year Pageant was held on May 20, 1972 at Drexel University, under the direction of Mel Davis. The first Pageant at the Grand Chapter Meeting occurred at the 58th Grand Chapter Meeting.
Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation
The “Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation,” established in 1981, is the philanthropic arm of the fraternity and assists both alumni and undergraduate chapters in support of scholarships, after-school programs, and national projects such as Habitat for Humanity.
The Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation was conceived by Dr. Oliver S. Gumbs, the 23rd Grand Polemarch. His dream began to take shape at a May 1982 with the past Grand Polemarchs and the national officers in Washington, D.C. He proposed forming a separate 501(c)(3) charitable foundation to accept contributions to finance the headquarter’s renovation project. Fraternity members contributing to the new foundation could deduct their donations as charitable contributions for income tax purposes. The Foundation would also accept contributions from individuals, organizations and businesses.
The fraternity maintains dual membership in the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).
The NPHC is composed of nine international black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities and promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.
The NIC serves to advocate the needs of its member fraternities through enrichment of the fraternity experience, advancement and growth of the fraternity community, and enhancement of the educational mission of the host institutions.
Kappa Alpha Psi offers undergrad and graduate membership to potential aspirants, and its constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership because of color, creed, or national origin. Annually more than 1,800 members are initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi. Undergraduate Chapters are located on more than 406 College and University campuses and Alumni Chapters are arrayed in some 367 cities in the United States and 9 foreign countries.
Membership is a solemn commitment. To this Fraternity, the maker of the commitment becomes synonymous with the commitment itself. Membership in Kappa Alpha Psi is a lifelong dedication to the ideas and lofty purposes of Kappa Alpha Psi, which considers for membership only those aspirants whose personal, social and academic qualifications are acceptable to both the College and Fraternity.
To be considered for membership, a candidate must have at least a 2.5 gpa on a 4.0 scale. For consideration into Kappa Alpha Psi on the alumni level, one must possess at least a Bachelors Degree or the equivalent of such a degree from an accredited college or university. Kappa Alpha Psi also prides itself in that it has never bestowed honorary membership.
Stance on hazing
Any member, who participates in underground pledge activities, or hazing of any kind, shall be expelled from the Fraternity.
Executive Order Three
Kappa Alpha Psi has never condoned hazing, but is aware that incidents seem to always occur. In 1990, Kappa Alpha Psi along with fellow NPHC organizations issued a joint statement announcing the elimination of pledging. The fraternity revised its membership development and intake process; instituted strong policies against hazing and has taken steps to reinforce and strengthen its stance against prohibited conduct. The fraternity backed its stance by releasing Executive Order One in 1988, Executive Order Two in 1993, and Executive Order Three in 1994. However, in March 2012, the University of Florida chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi was accused of paddling pledges and is facing 13 misdemeanor sworn complaints involving hazing allegations. The allegations came to light during the investigation of another University of Florida fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, after they were also accused of paddling and striking pledges.
Map of the twelve provinces of Kappa Alpha Psi.
In 1921, the Fraternity was divided into districts as a result of proposed legislation by George F. David II, the third Grand Polemarch. David was first Grand Polemarch who had not been nurtured by the Alpha Chapter under the influence of the Founders, proposed dividing the Fraternity into supervisory districts. The idea originated with his father who was a Presiding Elder of the A.M.E. Church and also member of Kappa Alpha Psi. Grand Polemarch David II, implemented the division of the Fraternity into three districts. Past Grand Polemarch Irven Armstrong was assigned the first; Harrison R. Duke, the second; and Harold M. Tyler, the third district. The three districts grew into four “regions”. Fifth Grand Polemarch Earl B. Dickerson changed the designation of “Region” to “Province” and “Regional Director” to “Province Polemarch” at the 15th Grand Chapter Meeting in 1925. And during the original establishment of provinces, the following provinces were established: Eastern, Middle Eastern, Central, Great Lakes, Northwestern, Western, Southern, and Southeastern Provinces. Currently there are 12 provinces with the following names:
Kappa Alpha Psi has founded over 721 undergraduate, alumni, and international chapters. The fraternity has over 150,000 members and is divided into twelve provinces (districts/regions), with each chapter under the aegis of a province.