Our Founder

Elder Watson Diggs “The Dreamer”

Elder Watson Diggs (circa 1883-1947), born in Christian County,

Kentucky, was a graduate of Indiana State Normal (now Indiana

State Teachers College) and Indiana University, the birthplace of

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He served as Grand Polemarch for the

first six consecutive years of the Fraternity's existence. For this and

other outstanding contributions to the Fraternity, he was awarded the

Fraternity's first Laurel Wreath in December, 1924.

An educator by profession, he taught in the public schools of Indianapolis,

Indiana, where he was elevated to a principalship. After his death on

November 8, 1947, the name of the school where he taught was changed

to the Elder Diggs School in his memory. Upon America's entrance into

World War I, Diggs resigned his principalship to enter the Nation's first

Officer's Training Camp at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and was commissioned

a lieutenant. After European service with the 368th Infantry, he became

a captain in the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Diggs was instrumental

in having the Indiana Constitution amended to permit Negro enlistment in

the Indiana National Guard.

Byron Kenneth Armstrong

Byron Kenneth Armstrong (1892-1980), born in Westfield, Indiana,

entered Indiana University where he studied philosophy,

mathematics, and sociology. After finishing Indiana University, he

earned his Master's degree at Columbia University in 1913, and

subsequently the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University

of Michigan. He held teaching positions in Florida, Indiana, Kansas,

and Oklahoma. During World War I, he served as an investigator for the

Department of Labor. He was awarded the Laurel Wreath in 1935.

Ezra Dee Alexander

 

Ezra Dee Alexander (1891-1971) was born in Bloomington, Indiana

in 1892, the site of Indiana University. He was graduated from

Bloomington High School in 1910. He matriculated at Indiana

University in the fall of 1910 and was graduated from Indiana

University in 1917 with the A.B. degree. He received his M.D. degree

from the Medical School of Indiana University in 1919. He practiced

medicine in Indianapolis. In 1920, he married Mary Hunter, a teacher

in the Indianapolis Public School system. Alexander served several

terms as a member of the Grand Board of Directors.

Henry Tourner Asher

 

Henry Tourner Asher (1890-1963), born in Woodburn, Kentucky in

1890, was graduated from the Bloomington High School in 1910.

He received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University

in 1914 and the next year was an instructor at Lincoln Institute at

Jefferson City, Missouri. He was a graduate student at the University

of Minnesota in 1917. He received the degree of LL.B. at the Detroit

College of Law in 1928.

Marcus Peter Blakemore

 

Marcus Peter Blakemore (1889-1959), born in Franklin, Indiana in

1889, attended common and high schools in Anderson, Indiana. He

was graduated from High School in 1909 and entered Indiana

University the following year. After leaving the University, he

organized the Electric Engineering Company, which he operated until

he enlisted in World War I. He later entered the Dental School of the

University of Pittsburgh, from which he was graduated in 1923. At the

time of his death in October 1959, he was residing in Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania, where he maintained his practice of dentistry.

Paul Waymond Caine

 

Paul Waymond Caine (1891-1931) was born in Greencastle, Indiana,

in 1890 and attended grade school and high school in Greencastle,

Indiana. He enrolled at Indiana University in 1909 and helped the

other Founders in organizing Kappa Alpha Nu (original name of the

fraternity). Because of a disastrous fire in the Fraternity house in

which he was employed, he never finished his sophomore year. 

Caine went into the catering business in his hometown, later attended

Columbia University; set up catering businesses in Gary, Indiana, Peoria,

Chicago and Evanston, Illinois and published a book on catering, which

was copyrighted in 1919 by the Hurst Publishing Company. He was

instrumental in setting up the Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Zeta chapters of

the fraternity. He later went into business in Rockford, Illinois and was

burned during an explosion of gaseous materials in his dry cleaning

business in 1931. He died April 15, 1931 at St. Anthony's Hospital,

Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois, due to pneumonia and

shock following 1st and 2nd degree burns.

George Wesley Edmonds

 

George Wesley Edmonds (1890-1962) was born in Vanderburgh

County, Knight Township, Indiana on August 13, 1890. He entered 

Carver Elementary School and Clark High School in Evansville,

graduating in 1910. In the fall of 1910, George entered Indiana

University at Bloomington. He joined nine other students in founding

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. 

After George returned home for the summer of 1911, his father became

ill with pneumonia and died. His father had worked in the coal mines of

Vanderburgh County for many years. George, being the eldest son,

became head of the family, thus preventing his return to school. With

the new responsibility of supporting the family, George took a job with

the area coal mines and worked with the coal mines and the railroad

until he died of pneumonia on June 13, 1962. George married the former

Willa Mae Forte and settled in Stevenson, Indiana. They became the parents

of one son, Noel.

Guy Levis Grant

 

Guy Levis Grant (1891-1973), born in New Albany, Indiana,

attended public schools in that city, was graduated from Scribner

High School in 1909, and later entered Indiana University. While

there, he majored in chemistry, graduating with the A.B. degree in

1915. In 1920, he received the D.D.S. degree from Indiana Dental

School, then a part of the University of Indiana; he practiced dentistry

in Indianapolis. In 1929, he married Laura Hammons.

He served as a member of the Grand Board of Directors and was the

Fraternity's Historian. In addition to his activities with Kappa Alpha Psi,

Brother Grant held memberships in several civic, professional, and

business organizations. He was a member of the Second Baptist Church

in Indianapolis.

Edward Giles Irvin

 

Edward Giles Irvin (1893-1982), born in Spencer, Indiana, on

August 13, 1893, was graduated from Kokomo, Indiana High School

in 1910 and entered the Indiana University the same year. After

leaving school, he pursued a Journalistic career in various cities

throughout the country until World War I.

Aside from his success as a Journalist, Brother Irvin was a pioneer in

promoting basketball and track athletics in the small town schools of

Indiana. He was an active member of the Methodist Church of Chicago

and a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges. He organized

and operated the Afro-American Manufacturing Company in Chicago,

which produced novelties, candies, and specialties.

John Milton Lee

 

John Milton Lee (1890-1958), born in Danville, Indiana, was

graduated from the Danville High School in 1910 and entered

Indiana University and there completed three years of pre-medical

work. He later became a student at Temple University (1915) but

was compelled to leave school because of a death in the family. He

enlisted in the 349th Field Artillery in March of 1918 and served

overseas as a First Class Sergeant and Gunner. His battery enjoys the

unique distinction of having been the first battery of Negro Artillerymen

ever to open fire upon an enemy. John Milton Lee fired the first shot.

He helped organize, and for several years was president of, the Fairview

Gold Club, the first Negro Golf Club in Pennsylvania. In 1931 he married

Mary Walker Robinson. Vocationally, he was engaged in several enterprises.

For eight years, he conducted a successful catering business in Philadelphia;

he organized and served as Vice President and Secretary of the Mutual

Emergency Union, a mutual aid company in Philadelphia. He was also a

member of the Board of Managers of the Columbia Community Branch

of the YMCA.

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