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Founders

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ELDER WATSON DIGGS
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1890-1947

   Elder Watson Diggs, 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 principalship. After his death on November 8, 1947, the name of the school where he had taught was changed to the Elder Watson Diggs School in his memory.
   Upon America's entrance into World War I, Diggs resigned his principalship to enter the Nation's first Officers 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.

EZRA D. ALEXANDER
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1892-1971

   Ezra Dee Alexander was born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1892, the site of Indiana University. He 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 AB Degree. He received his MD degree from the Medical School of Indiana University in 1919. He practiced medicine in Indianapolis. In 1920, he was married to Mary Hunter, a teacher in the Indianapolis Public School system. Alexander served several terms as a member of the Grand Board of Directors.

BYRON KENNETH ARMSTRONG
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1890-1980

   Byron K. Armstrong, 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.

HENRY T. ASHER
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1892-1963

   Henry T. Asher, born in Woodburn, Kentucky in 1892, 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 Illinois in 1915-16, and received the degree of Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota in 1917. He received the degree of LL.B. at the Detroit College of Law in 1928.

MARCUS PETER BLAKEMORE
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1889-1959

   Marcus Peter Blakemore, born in Franklin, Indiana in 1889, attended common and high schools in Anderson, Indiana. He graduated from high school in 1909 and entered the University of Indiana 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
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1891-1922

    Paul Waymond Caine was born in Charleston, Indiana, in 1981 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. Because of a disastrous fire in the Fraternity house in which he was employed, he never finished his sophomore year. Brother Caine went into the catering business in his home town, later attending Columbia University, set up a catering business in Gary, Indiana, and published a book on catering which was copyrighted in 1919 by the Hurst Publishing Company. Brother Caine was instrumental in setting up the Gamma, Delta, and Zeta chapters. He later went into business in Peoria, Illinois and was fatally burned during an explosion of gaseous materials in his business in 1922.

GEORGE WESLEY EDMONDS
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1890-1962

    Edmonds, was born in Vandenburgh County, Knight Township, Indiana on August 13, 1890. He attended 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, which has subsequently expanded to include almost 70,000 members with active chapters in 45 states throughout America and 4 foreign countries.
    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 oldest 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
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1890-1973

    Levis Grant, born in New Albany, Indiana, attended public schools in that city and was graduated from Scribner High School in 1909, and later entered Indiana University. While there he majored in chemistry, graduating with the AB Degree in 1915. In 1920 he received the DDS degree from Indiana Dental School, then a part of the University of Indiana; and practiced dentistry in Indianapolis.

    In 1929 he was married to 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 membership in several civic, professional and business organizations. He was a member of Second Baptist church in Indianapolis.

EDWARD GILES IRVIN
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1893-1983

    Edward Giles Irvin, born in Spencer, Indiana August 13 1893, was graduated from the Kokomo, Indiana High School in 1910 and entered the University of Indiana 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 in Chicago, 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
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1890-1958

       John Milton Lee, born at Danville, Indiana, September 7, 1890, was graduated from the Danville High School in 1910 and entered the University of Indiana 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 Artillery men 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 Golf Club, the first Negro Golf Club in Pennsylvania. In 1931 he was married to 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 of Philadelphia. He was also a member of the Board of Managers of the Columbia Community Branch of the YMCA.


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