Kappa Alpha Psi (KAΨ) is a collegiate Greek-letter fraternity with a predominantly African-American membership. Since the fraternity's founding on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington the fraternity has never limited membership based on color, creed or national origin. The fraternity has over 150,000 members with 700 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state of the United States, and numerous international chapters.
The president of the national fraternity is known as the Grand Polemarch, who assigns a Province Polemarch for each of the twelve provinces (districts/regions) of the nation. The fraternity has many notable members recognized as leaders in the arts, athletics, business, civil rights education, government, and science sectors at the local, national and international level. The Kappa Alpha Psi Journal is the official magazine of the fraternity since 1914. The Journal is published four times a year in February, April, October and December. Frank M. Summers was the magazine's first editor and later on became the Fourteenth Grand Polemarch. The current editor of the magazine is Dr. Keflyn X. Reed.
Kappa Alpha Psi is a major contributor in the fields of political, social, cultural and scholastic achievement. The fraternity sponsors programs providing community service, social welfare and academic scholarship through the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation and is a supporter of the United Negro College Fund and Habitat for Humanity. Kappa Alpha Psi is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the North-American Interfraternity Council (NIC). The fraternity is the first predominantly African American Greek-letter society founded west of the Appalachian Mountains still in existence, and is known for its "cane stepping" in NPHC organized step shows.
The Kappa Kane
In the 1950s, as black Greek-letter organizations began the tradition of step shows the fraternity began using the "Kappa Kane" in what it termed "cane stepping." In the 1960s, the cane was decorated with the fraternity colors. In the 1970s, it was shortened so brothers could "twirl" and tap the cane in the choreography with high dexterity. The national organization did not condone the use of canes in step shows and contended that "the hours spent in step practices by chapters each week would be better devoted to academic or civic achievement." Senior Grand Vice Polemarch Ullysses McBride complained about the vulgar language and obscene gestures sometimes engaged in by cane-stepping participants.
Nonetheless, in 1986 the fraternity succumbed to the pressure of undergraduate chapters and added cane stepping as an official item on the Grand Chapter agenda.