Las Vegas Alumni History - From A Dream to A Chapter

(article and pictures taken from the Kappa Alpha Psi Journal Vol. LX No. 4)

December, 1974

From a dream, to a group, to an association, and finally an alumni chapter is the story of the Las Vegas Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.  In February of 1964, five aspiring brothers gathered at the home of Kermit R. Booker, Sr. to establish plans to put the name of Kappa on the map in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Little did these men know that seven months later the Las Vegas Alumni Chapter would become a reality.  The original five were Kermit R. Booker, Sr., Joseph William Haynes, Herschel L. Williams, Herbert Freeman, and David Hoggard, Jr.  These five brothers had long envisioned the establishment of a Kappa Chapter in the Vegas area.  Their hopes began to materialize in April of 1964, when William H. Smith, Jr., Harry Robinson, and Thomas Bailey arrived in  the Las Vegas area...now there were eight.  In February, a determined drive was launched by each member to locate other brothers in the community.  By June, Roger V. Von Phul and Kermit R. Booker, Jr. had joined the ever growing clan.  Now there were ten. 

On Saturday, July 11, 1964, another milestone was reached by the aspiring group - the first national Black Greek Letter Society Branch on the college level to be established in Nevada - received its charter from Charles Sudduth, then Western Province Polemarch, at a ceremony in the home of Kermit R. Booker, Sr.  Now these aspiring brothers were more than just a group, they were chartered members of the Las Vegas Alumni Association.  The resolution to reduce the number of brothers required to establish an alumni chapter from thirteen to ten was proposed and adopted by the Grand Chapter at the Conclave in San Fransisco, CA in August 1964.  The ten brothers of Las Vegas rejoiced in hearing this good news.  This meant that at last their greatest aspirations and wildest hopes of becoming an alumni chapter would become a reality.  Thus on Sunday, September 20, 1964, at a brief ceremony again in the home of the first Polemarch, Brother Booker, the brothers of Las Vegas received their charter from the newly elected Western Province Polemarch Robert F. Green.  They had finally arrived, the Las Vegas Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi had been born. 

The brothers of Las Vegas did not sit back on their laurels, now that they were an alumni chapter.  They mapped, planned, and executed a program in the local community for 1964 -1965.  They established a Guide Right Program and formed a pledge group.  In August 1966, the Las Vegas Alumni Chapter hosted the Western Province Meeting at the Stardust Hotel which was an outstanding event.  The chapter then set its sights for the National Conclave to be held in Las Vegas within ten years.  This was indeed a hard task for a young chapter, with so few brothers.  This dream of the first Polemarch Kermit R. Booker, Sr. also became a reality.  The Las Vegas Alumni Chapter hosted the 59th Grand Conclave! 

Charter members were: Kermit R. Booker, Sr.; David Hoggard, Jr.; Herschel L. Williams; Herbert Freeman; William H. Smith, Jr.; Harry Robinson; Thomas Bailey; Roger Von Puhl; Joseph William Haynes; and Kermit R. Booker, Jr.

Polemarch Booker

 

A Brief History of Kappa Alpha Psi

(From our National Site)

For years, in order to safeguard the ritualistic secrets of the Fraternity, Diggs laboriously typed and bound the rituals. It was not until he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he met an old German printer in whom he had confidence, that he entrusted the esoteric materials of the Fraternity to a commercial printer.

In the spring of 1912 Diggs wrote in a little blue examination book the first Constitution, which was adopted in 1920 with but a few revisions. This edition remained in use until 1926 when it was supplanted by the codified edition jointly written by Diggs, J. Ernest Wilkins, and W. Ellis Stewart. In 1957 the Constitution again underwent major revision.

Now substantially established and provided with a Constitution, Ritual, coat of arms, motto, and guiding hand in a dynamic Grand Chapter, the Fraternity was ready for expansion. In the summer of 1912 Diggs visited the University of Illinois at Urbana, Illinois, where he met Earl B. Dickerson, President of the Old "Illini Club." This club constituted the nucleus of the University of Illinois Chapter, the Beta, which was chartered on February 8, 1913. Gamma Chapter (later changed to Indianapolis Alumni Chapter) was established on December 29, 1913, followed by the establishment of Delta Chapter at the University of Iowa, on March 7, 1914. The latter was subsequently changed to Gamma Chapter, and the designation of Delta assigned to the Wilberforce University Chapter at Wilberforce, Ohio. Epsilon Chapter, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, was established December 4, 1915, as the first chapter in the East. Elder W. Diggs journeyed from Indiana to give this chapter his personal and official installation, recognition and blessing.

Thus ended the infancy of KAPPA ALPHA PSI, whereupon the Fraternity embarked upon an era of expansion. Except for the years of World War I and II, when several Grand Chapter meetings were suspended, KAPPA ALPHA PSI has grown and prevailed with unabating impetus.

KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity, relatively early, envisioned the modified attitudes of college administrators and administrations regarding certain frivolous activities previously identified with Greek letter organizations; and it initiated appropriate changes. Among the early changes brought about was the banning of paddling and other forms of physical abuse, and the introduction of constructive endeavors during pledgeship and probation. To date, KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity is organizationally and administratively mature. It moves steadily toward a tomorrow of promise, productivity and influence.

Our Founders

Elder Watson Diggs

Byron Kenneth Armstrong

Ezra Dee Alexander

Henry Tourner Asher

Marcus Peter Blakemore

Paul Waymond Caine

GeorgeWesley Edmonds

Guy Levis Grant

Edward Giles Irvin

John Milton Lee

 

"In The Beginning" YouTube Video

© 2010 Las Vegas Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. All rights reserved