Today marks the founding date of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., better known among Black Letter Greek Organizations as the “Nupes.” In 1911, 10 students gathered on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington and began a tradition that has expanded to a membership 150,000 members strong worldwide.
The fraternity was founded as Kappa Alpha Nu on January 5, 1911 by 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. The early vision of the Kappas was to serve as a social group dedicated to Black students on Indiana’s campus and to promote personal excellence.
Just months after its founding, the fraternity became the first African-American group of its kind to become nationally incorporated in May of that year. The name of the group changed after Kappa Alpha Nu was morphed into a racial slur according to some accounts, and thus the new name was born.
Kappas have become known for their elaborate cane-assisted “stepping” routines, but the group prides itself for its service work beyond step show performances. The Kappas established programs like the Kappa League and Guide Right to assist young men and provide leadership. The fraternity’s motto is “Achievement in every field of human endeavor,” which it seeks to maintain by way of its national educational programs.
Notable Kappas span the worlds of entertainment and sports with names such as Marc Lamont Hill, Cedric The Entertainer, NBA legend Bill Russell, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Tavis Smiley, and Colin Kaepernick among the many members of the frat.
Although Kappa Alpha Psi is predominately Black Greek letter organization, they have never turned away members due to race, religion, or creed. There are 721 undergraduate and graduate chapters in every state in the United States and across the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The Kappas will be celebrating the National Founder’s Day in Atlanta this coming weekend. Thomas L. Battles Jr. is the Grand Polemarch of the fraternity.
PHOTO: Kappa Alpha Psi