Fraternity Founders

The men who founded Kappa Alpha Psi, and were dedicated to the principles of achievement through a truly democratic fraternity are:

  • Elder Watson Diggs
  • Ezra Dee Alexander
  • Byron Kenneth Armstrong
  • Henry Turner Asher
  • Marcus Peter Blakemore
  • Paul Waymond Caine
  • George Wesley Edmonds
  • Guy Levis Grant
  • Edward Giles Irvin
  • John Milton Lee

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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.

The fraternity may have begun in 1903 on the Indiana University campus, but there were too few registrants to assure continuing organization. In that year a club was formed called Alpha Kappa Nu, but the club disappeared after a short time. There is no record of any similar organization at Indiana until the fraternity was founded as Kappa Alpha Nu on the night of January 5, 1911 by ten African-American college students.

During this time there were very few African-American students at the predominately white campus at Bloomington, Indiana and they were a small minority due to the era of Jim Crow laws. Many African-American students rarely saw each other on campus and were discouraged or prohibited from attending student functions and extra-curricular 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. From the beginning, the founders’ goal was to create a fraternity founded on Christian ideals and for the purpose of achievement regardless of a person’s race or social class.

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