The story of Kappa Alpha Psi is to a large extent the story of black students everywhere, whether organized or not, who attended predominantly white colleges or universities in America prior to World War II. The accomplishments of these first Black students is all the more noteworthy because typically they worked their way through college. Their determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable social and economic odds is the source of inspiration to less than full privileged students at white institutions of higher learning throughout America. To understand this is to understand the birth of college fraternities among Blacks.
Black-sponsored Greek letter organizations on the Indiana University campus might well have begun in 1903, but there were too few registrants to assure continuing organization. In that year, a club was formed called Alpha Kappa Nu with the purpose of strengthening the Blacks’ voice at the University and in the city of Bloomington. There is no record of any similar organization at Indiana until the chartering of Kappa Alpha Nu, a forerunner of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, in 1911.
The Ten Illustrious Founders gave birth to a great concept, the idea that if we are going to be brothers, let us be brothers on the best terms that we know. If we are going to bind ourselves together, let it be around something that is strong enough to hold us; if we are going to sing, let us sing about something that will have a lasting refrain; if we drink a toast, let it be of something beyond the trivial and the vulgar; let us exalt the theme of achievement. Reliance would be placed upon high Christian ideals and the purpose of honorable achievement in every field of human endeavor. The Fraternity would seek to raise the sights of young black youths and stimulate them to accomplishments higher than might otherwise not be realized or even imagined.
—–Excerpts taken from “The Story of Kappa Alpha Psi”—–