Indiana Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2016

Publication Citation

91 Indiana Law Journal 1425 (2016)


The common narrative about African Americans’ quest for social justice and civil rights during the twentieth century consists, largely, of men and women working through organizations to bring about change. The typical list of organizations includes, inter alia, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Urban League, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. What are almost never included in this list are African American collegiate-based fraternities. However, at the turn of the twentieth century, a small group of organizations emerged founded on personal excellence, the development and sustainment of fictive-kinship ties, and racial uplift. These organizations immediately created highly functioning alumni chapters in cities across the United States. Members of these organizations, who were college graduates, could continue their work in actualizing their respective organizations’ ideals. One such organization, founded at Indiana University in 1911, was Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. This Article explores the history of this fraternity’s, and its members’, involvement in African Americans’ quest for social justice and racial equality in the United States.