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The Founders of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

"To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has achieved, but at what he aspires to." ~ Elder Watson Diggs



The fundamental purpose of Kappa Alpha Psi, is achievement in all possible endeavors. This objective is the offspring of the challenges and hurdles that were actively placed in the paths of African-Americans  in general, and young African-American men in particular, in the early 20th century in the United States.


The uniting of college men who share the common desire and disposition to live with other college men who share their values.  These fraternal values that members bond around cover areas of "culture, patriotism and honor."  All members are expected to display the quality of accepting personal responsibility to support all endeavors that push Kappa Alpha Psi, as a group, forward.


Each member to actively behave as a steward of the well-being of other fraternity members.  As college men, the intellectual prosperity of fellow Kappa men is stressed as an objective.  In addition, as men in general, the "spiritual, social and moral welfare" of all members is included within the goals for all members, and prospective members.  As united members, Kappa's are discouraged from attacking one another with destructive criticism and are encouraged instead to seek out the issues that cause the criticism, and remove them.


Since the fraternity was established as a uniting force for college men, another objective is to "assist the aims and purposes of colleges and universities."  As institutions of higher learning are often the first training grounds for young men, outside of familiar parental guidance, in guiding them towards maturity, Kappa Alpha Psi expects our members to support these institutions, while also attaining and exhibiting personal maturity.


The final objective of the fraternity is to inspire public service.  In an active demonstration of commitment to public service, the altruistic Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation assists the community efforts of the fraternity's undergraduate and alumni chapters.  The foundation, established in 1981, is also behind scholarships and grants, and supports local and national programs that include after-school and youth programs, extending to emergency relief funds following natural disasters.


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 K. Armstrong; Guy Levis Grant; Ezra D. Alexander; Henry T. Asher; Marcus P. Blakemore; Paul W. Caine; Edward G. Irvin and George W. 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 Byron 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. 


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. ...more

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