What does achievement mean to you? For the ten men who founded Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University, it meant staying on the path to greatness despite the environment of racial discrimination that surrounded them. Indiana University was heavily supporting the Jim Crow laws, so there was a small number of African Americans students attending the university. The racist locals who opposed black students learning in their institutions did little to lift the few African-American students’ morale.
Ten African-American men- Elder Watson Diggs ‘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- persevered through the hate and discrimination to found Kappa Alpha Psi. Even though Kappa Alpha Psi was founded at a predominantly white institution, the Kappas do have a strong presence, as do all of the Divine Nine, at HBCUs.
‘The Dreamer’ Diggs, the fraternity’s first Grand Polemarch, originally studied at Howard University before transferring to Indiana University. It was at Howard University where he met founder Byron Kenneth Armstrong. The Kappas would return to Howard to charter the Xi chapter in 1920.
After Indiana, the fraternity went on to charter several of its first chapters on HBCU campuses: Delta chapter at Wilberforce University, Epsilon chapter at Lincoln University, Xi chapter at Howard University, Pi chapter at Morehouse College, and Tau chapter at West Virginia State University. HBCU graduates have excelled in every category one can name: science, law, politics, entertainment, etc. Surely, Kappa Alpha Psi has produced members from HBCUs who have achieved in every human endeavor.