Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, INC.
Kappa Alpha Psi® Fraternity was a founded January 5, 1911, on the campus of Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana. The percentage of Blacks on campus was less than 1%. Blacks could go weeks without seeing one another on campus. Blacks were not allowed to reside in on-campus dormitories, were not afforded off-campus accommodations, and they were also denied the use of all other university facilities and were barred from participating in contact sports. Two young black men, Elder Watson Diggs, and Byron Kenneth Armstrong had previously attended Howard University. Their experiences at Howard gave rise to the chief motivating spirits which sowed of the seed for a fraternity at Indiana University and crystallized the idea of establishing an independent Greek-letter organization.
Consequently, eight other men met with Diggs and Armstrong for the purpose of organizing such a fraternity. The charter members were Elder Watson Diggs, Byron K. Armstrong, John M. Lee, Henry T. Asher, Marcus P. Blakemore, Guy L. Grant, Paul W. Caine, George W. Edmonds, Ezra D. Alexander, and Edward G. Irvin.
The Founders were God-fearing, and serious-minded young men who possessed the imagination, ambition, courage, and determination to defy custom in pursuit of a college education and careers. The ideals of the church were an important foundation of the Fraternity. One of the 5 Objectives of the Fraternity is: “To promote the spiritual, social, intellectual and moral welfare of members.” Many aspects of the Fraternity’s rites are engrained in Christianity ideals and contain excerpts from the Bible.
These men of vision decided the Fraternity would be more than another social organization. Reliance would be placed upon high Christian ideals and the purpose of ACHIEVEMENT.
The Fraternity would seek to raise the sights of Black youths and stimulate them to accomplish higher than might otherwise be realized or even imagined.
On January 5, 1911, the Fraternity then became known as Kappa Alpha Nu, possibly as a tribute to the Black students of 1903 (the Alpha Kappa Nu Greek Society) who preceded them at Indiana University. These men of vision decided Kappa Alpha Nu would be more than another social organization. It would be the only Greek-letter organization founded with the concept of achievement. Kappa Alpha Nu began uniting college men of culture, patriotism, and honor in a Bond of fraternity. Primarily, under the efforts and leadership of the calm, methodical, and philosophical Elder W. Diggs and the critical, and scholarly Byron K. Armstrong, the Kappa Alpha Nu Fraternity was founded.
Since the beginning, every endeavor was directed toward establishing the Fraternity upon a strong foundation before embarking on plans of expansion. Careful consideration was given to ensure the organization established a firm foundation the first year before efforts to expand were attempted.
Kappa Alpha Psi®, 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 that enabled them 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.
Founder Elder Watson Diggs, was quiet, polished, scholarly, a prolific writer and commonly referred to as ‘the Father of Kappa’. He was born in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky, on December 23, 1883, and was the eldest son of three children.
Diggs enrolled at Indiana University in the fall of 1910 and was the first African-American to graduate with an A.B. degree from Indiana University’s School of Education in 1916. He subsequently earned his Master’s degree of Education from Howard University in 1944.
Based on the hostile attitude and circumstances facing Blacks at Indiana University, Diggs decided to establish a fraternity on campus to give African-Americans support and sanctuary based on high Christian ideals and the purpose of achievement. Diggs assisted Byron & Irven Armstrong in designing the Coat of Arms, assumed responsibility for preparing the initiation ceremonial forms, completed the fraternity’s constitution and took a course in Greek heraldry and mythology to ensure the fraternity was rooted in authenticity. He was one of two Founders who pawned his watch to pay for the Fraternity’s incorporation fee.
Diggs wrote the lyrics to the Kappa Hymn. Additionally, he established the Kappa Alpha Nu Journal, the first periodical of any national Black college fraternity. He served as Grand Polemarch for the first six years of the fraternity’s existence...
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We are never going to close this gap unless there is a conscious commitment to do so.
Robert L. Johnson, Kappa Alpha Psi
To unite college men of culture, patriotism, and honor in a bond of Fraternity;
To encourage honorable achievement in every field of human endeavor;
To promote the spiritual, social, intellectual, and moral welfare of its members;
To assist the aims and purposes of colleges and universities;
To inspire service in the public's interest.
"Achievement In Every Field Of Human Endeavor"