Thousands Of Fraternity Alumni Celebrate Indiana Roots

Kappa Alpha Psi Founded At IU 100 Years Ago

Thousands of alumni of one of the nation's premier historically African-American fraternities returned to their Indiana roots Thursday, visiting the campus where it all began 100 years ago.

Sixty busloads of Kappa Alpha Psi members and their families headed to Indiana University's Bloomington campus to follow the Kappa Trail carved out by the founders of the organization on Jan. 11, 1911, 6News' Derrik Thomas reported.

The organization's 10 founding fathers, led by Elder Watson Diggs blazed a trail because they felt they had to.

"They were not afforded the opportunity to participate in contact sports. They couldn't swim in the regular swimming facilities that the university offered. Certain classes were not afforded to them," said Grand Polemarch Dwayne M. Murray, the organization's president. "They decided something needed to be done."

The tour visited the place where founders attended church and held meetings at Bethel AME Church and the first chapter house at 721 Hunter Ave.

A plaque in honor of the centennial convention, held in Indianapolis this week, was affixed to a bench in the nearby People's Park.

Samuel Green, 67, wanted his picture taken, sitting on history.

"I was here for the 75th anniversary for Kappa Alpha Psi. I'm a little older now. I might not make it to the 150th," he said, laughing.

The current convention will have an estimated economic impact of between $25 million and $28 million for Indianapolis.

Kappa Alpha Psi is known for its service to the community. Since 2003, it has raised $1 million for St. Jude's Children's Hospital and works closely with Big Brothers Big Sisters.