Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (1911- )

 

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Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. (Kappa), a predominately
African American Greek-letter fraternity, was founded on January 5, 1911 on the
campus of Indiana
University.  It is the first black Greek-letter
organization founded west of the Appalachian Mountains.  The fraternity, originally called Kappa Alpha
Nu, was established by ten black men partly to provide an alternative to the
racially exclusive student organizations on campus and partly to strengthen the
bonds of friendship among these and other African American students.  A second chapter was established at the University of Illinois
in 1912 and by 1921 there were chapters throughout the Midwest,
the East, and one in the South.  Today
the fraternity has over 700 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state of
the United States as well as
chapters in the United Kingdom,
Germany, South Korea, Japan,
the Caribbean, and South
Africa.
The total membership of the fraternity exceeds 150,000.

The fraternity has had many notable members including former
Los Angeles Mayor Thomas Bradley, librarian Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, CBS
newscaster Ed Bradley, radio personality Tavis Smiley, composer William Grant
Still
, entertainer Kevin Eubanks, Robert S. Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender,
Michigan Congressman John Conyers, and Washington,
D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity supports a variety of community
service programs including Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude Research Hospital,
and the United Negro College Fund.  It
also sponsors a number of initiatives designed to encourage scholarship and
leadership skills among high school youth including the Kappa League which
began in 1970 to help high school students develop their leadership skills, the
Junior Kappa League for younger students, the A-MAN Program which promotes
interest in science and technology, and Kappa Kamp, an outdoor educational
enrichment program which allows inner city kids to attend a summer camp in
Piney Woods, Mississippi and Hemlock Overlook Park in Virginia.  The camp fosters team building, self respect,
and respect for others through leadership sessions, outdoor obstacle courses,
and outdoor activities. This camp, which accommodates 50 young men at a time
between the ages of ten to fifteen, is designed to provide guidance and
encourage success.

The Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation, established in 1981, is the
philanthropic division of the fraternity.
It raises funds which are distributed to young people as scholarships
and which support after-school programs.

 

Source:

William L. Crump, The Story of Kappa Alpha Psi: A History of the Beginning and Development of a College Greek Letter Organization, 1911-1991 (Philadelphia: Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, 1991); Daniel Soyer, "Fraternities and Sororities," Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1996); Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, 2002, http://www.afkapsi.com/History.html.