Local History of the Cleveland Alumi Chapter.
- The 1920's
- The 1930's
- The 1940's
- The 1950's
- The 1960's
- The 1970's
- The 1980's
- The 1990's
- Present Day
In October 1920 the Petition of four Kappa Brothers, Dr. Herbert Wallace, Dr. John Finley, Harold Tyler and Raymond Gee, was accepted by Grand Chapter. The effective date was established as October 15, 1920 thus Cleveland Alumni Chapter was born.
In December 1920 the newly formed chapter was called upon to entertain the 11th Grand Chapter meeting in December 1921.The first officers were Polemarch, Dr. Herbert Wallace, Keeper of Records, Harold Tyler and Keeper of Exchequer, Dr. John Finley. The 1920's ended with increased growth in membership of the chapter.
In 1935, Brother Lawrence J. Powell was delegated to organize the first undergraduate chapter with the aide of Brothers William Cooper, William J. Hamilton and Dewey Trigg. The Alpha Omega Chapter Charter was granted at the 25th Grand Chapter meeting in St. Louis, Missouri in December 1935.
In December 1937, Cleveland Alumni Chapter entertained the 27th Grand Chapter meeting. It was a significant Grand Chapter meeting because the social programs were held jointly with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity meeting in Cleveland at that time.
Brother Oliver A Taylor was elected Senior Vice Grand Polemarch and Brother Augustus Parker was elected to the Grand Board of Directors.
World War II slowed some of the progress of Cleveland Alumni Chapter and many
other Chapters of Kappa Alpha Psi. However, at the 35th Grand Chapter meeting in
Columbus, Ohio in December 1945 Brother Augustus Parker was elected Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. His term of office ended in December 1947.
The end of World War II saw an influx of young Kappa men returning from World War
II and affiliating with Cleveland Alumni Chapter. The mantle of leadership was passed
for the first time to Girardeau A. Spann, as ex-serviceman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Guide Right was fostered as a community program at various schools culminating with a public program at Lane Metropolitan CME Church. Brother Attorney Leon A. Ransom was the guest speaker.
In September 1947 Cleveland Alumni Chapter presented its first music concert featuring Brother Howard Roberts, tenor and Brother Samuel McCurry, Baritone, both of Alpha Omega Chapter.
Roberts and McCurry were then students at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The concert was held at the Little Theater of Public Auditorium and was overwhelmingly attended.
In October 1947 Cleveland Alumni Chapter established its Housing Fund to prepare for a permanent place to hold meetings and activities. Brother Daniel Grady was the Fund's first Chairman.
In 1948 Brother Lawrence J. Powell was appointed Province Polemarch of the East Central Province.
Brother Louis Stokes was elected Grand Strategus at the 41st
Grand Chapter meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In December 1952, Cleveland Alumni Chapter was the host chapter for
the 42nd Grand Chapter meeting. Brother Lawrence J. Powell was the
General Chairman for the meeting. 1952 was also the first time that
six Black Sororities and Fraternities met simultaneously in the same city.
The participating organizations were Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta,
Sigma Gamma Rho, and Zeta Phi Beta Sororities and Alpha Phi Alpha and
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternities. The meetings were held in conjunction with
the American Council on Human Rights.
Brother John W. Kellogg of Cleveland was elected Senior Vice
Grand Polemarch during the convention. Brother Eugene L. Combs
was the Associate Editor of the Kappa Alpha Psi Journal for the 1952
Grand Chapter meeting.
In 1952 under the direction of Brother Lee B. Jett, Jr. Cleveland Alumni
Chapter awarded two $500.00 Scholarships to high school seniors determined
to be best equipped academically and emotionally fit for college training.
In 1954 Cleveland Alumni Chapter purchased the Sirosis Club, located at 2040
East 100th Street. The Housing Committee under the guidance of Brother Richard L.Gunn made the purchase. Brother Cullen B. McKissick was the Polemarch. Kappa House opened as a showcase in the winter of 1954. It became the center of activity for wedding receptions, parties and small dances in the Black Community of Cleveland.
In 1957 Cleveland Alumni Chapter re-established Kappa Karnival which
was held in the Ballroom of Kappa House. This activity supplemented
the ongoing Scholarship Fund.
Also in 1957 the East Central Province meeting was held at Kappa House
marking the first time the Province could conduct all of its meetings
and activities in a Kappa Owned facility in Ohio.
Brother Girardeau A. Spann was appointed by Grand Polemarch C. Roger Wilson
to head the Laurel Wreath Commission of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in 1957.
In 1959 Brother Girardeau A. Spann was appointed Province Polemarch
of the East Central Province by Grand Polemarch C. Roger Wilson.
The 1960's was a decline in memberships among most fraternities and Sororities.
Cleveland Alumni Chapter under the administration of Brother Marvin Fisk initiated
Reclamation Sessions at Kappa House complete with food and programs. With the 1960's
Civil Rights Agenda rampart throughout the country reclamation was minimal. Our beloved
founder Brother Herbert L. Wallace passed on to Chapter Invisible on March 31, 1964.
Brother W.B. Hatcher, Fred D. Jefferson and Louis R. Bragg served one year terms from
1963 through 1965. The revival of Cleveland Alumni Chapter started again in 1966 with
the succession of Brother Moses H. Thompson to the Polemarch's office. Brother Thompson
called for the incorporation of Kappa House. The House was incorporated in the summer
of 1966 as a non-profit Corporation called Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity House of Cleveland, Ohio.
Brother Lawrence O. Scott was elected Polemarch in June 1968. During this same period
Brother Louis Stokes was elected as the first Black Congressman from Ohio. The significant
feature of Brother Scott's administration was the appreciation Banquet in honor of Brother
Congressman Louis Stokes. The affair was held at the Cleveland Sheraton Hotel with Grand
Polemarch Ernest Davenport and Grand Historian William Crump in attendance. Also in
attendance were the various civic, labor and community leaders from throughout the
Cleveland area.Approximately fourteen hundred persons were in attendance.
Brother Vernon A. Bell succeeded Brother Lawrence O. Scott in June 1970 and
carried the chapter's Guide Right and Social programs forward. During Guide
Right the chapter provided live models of professions with Brothers and other
community persons providing mentor training to junior and senior high
school students in workshops held in Kappa House.
Cleveland Alumni Chapter with the assistance of Province Polemarch
Fred A. Clement effected the transfer of Alpha Omega Chapter from
Western Reserve Univ. to Cleveland State Univ. in April 1971.
In June 1972, the mantle of leadership passed from Brother Bell to
Brother Michael Shinn, a young executive at General Electric Corporation.
Brother Shinn promised an energetic program and while in the process of
implementation he was suddenly transferred to Memphis, Tennessee.
Brother Paul Williams the Vice Polemarch took over the reins.
About the same time in 1972 Cleveland Alumni was advised that all the
properties on 100th Street were being sold to the Cleveland Clinic.
The Board of Trustees was empowered to seek and equitable price for the
sale of Kappa House. The Cleveland Alumni Chapter vacated Kappa House on
100th Street on November 30, 1972.
From December 1972 through June 1975 monthly meetings were held
at Boyds Funeral Home in East Cleveland, Ohio.
The late 1970's saw a slight decline in memberships after our move
from Boyd's Funeral Home, however, all of the programs and activities were well attended.
In September 1975 the meeting moved to the Somerset Inn, Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Brother James A. Floyd, Ernest Whiteside and John R. Rich served
as Polemarch through the period 1976 to 1980.
In January 1979, Cleveland Alumni Chapter was successful in
Chartering Iota Nu Chapter at Baldwin Wallace University. Brother Lester Stephens,
Chairman of the Pledge Commission was very active in this endeavor.
The 1980's opened with a slight increase in membership. Alpha Omega Chapter
was returned to full Strength with Brother William H. Smith as advisor.
Cleveland Alumni Chapter purchased its second Life Membership with the NAACP,
and dedicated it to Brother James E. Levy Memorial Fund. Brother Levy was a
local and state president of the NAACP.
Brother Edward Young announced his campaign for the Cleveland School Board
in 1982 and he won in Brother Everett Chandler (The Judge) served as
Polemarch from 1980 through 1983.
Brother Sylvester Bennett replaced Brother William G. Norwood as coordinator
of the Community Action Directorate.
Brother Jonathan Hicks joined the chapter. Brother Hicks was hired by the
Plain Dealer Newspaper as a business editor. He was appointed Chapter Advisor
for IOTA Nu Chapter at Baldwin Wallace University. In 1985 he was appointed
the Editor of The national Kappa Alpha Psi Journal.
Brother William H Smith after serving the chapter as Pledge Commission
Chairman, Member of Board of Directors became Polemarch in 1983.
In December 1983 a reconstituted Kappa Alpha Psi House of Cleveland,Ohio
Inc. was reorganized to seek a building through HUD instead of saving
for a new Fraternity House.
Plans were presented in 1984 complete with architectual drawings.
Brother Arthur Fitch was the new President of the corporation,
Linwood Smith, Vice-President, William H. Smith, Secretary and Gradmon Boling, Treasurer.
In 1985 Cleveland Alumni Chapter was selected by the National Kappa Alpha Psi
Achievement Commission for the Paul W. Caine Alumni Chapter of the Year Award.
Our Polemarch Brother William H. Smith received the plaque at the
66th. Grand Chapter meeting in Washington, D.C.
In 1986 Cleveland Alumni Chapter was awarded funds by HUD to build
a seven story building housing ten (10) Handicap Suites and sixty (60) apartments.
Brother Gradmon Boling became the 35th Polemarch of Cleveland Alumni
Chapter and continued with the 1980's programs towards building the
membership of the Chapter.
Brother Anthony Peebles became Polemarch in 1989. This young brother
and son of Cleveland Alumni Chapter member Loomis Peebles brought
much energy and vitality to the chapter. Membership increased during
his second term.
During the second term of Brother Peebles Kappa House was dedicated
and for a second time in history Cleveland Alumni Chapter had a permanent home.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity House of Cleveland Ohio, Inc. a subsidiary
of Cleveland Alumni Chapter dedicated Kappa House Plaza at 12450
Shaker Boulevard on Saturday, October 19, 1990. This $3 million dollars
complex was built through the Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) Section 202 loan program. The sponsor of the Project was
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Cleveland Alumni Chapter. The developer
of the project was Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity House of Cleveland, Ohio Inc.
Members of the corporation at the time of dedication were" Arthur J. Fitch,
President; Linwood Smith, Vice-President; William H. Smith, Secretary;
Gradmon Boling, Treasurer; Members, William F. Boyd, Herschel Daniels,
Elvin R. Jones, William F. O'Neal, Jake D. Breland and Michael Shinn.
Grand Polemarch Ulysses McBride, Past Grand Polemarch H.H. Holloway
and Province Polemarch Calvin Heard were on hand to help the Chapter
celebrate the opening of this step forward in our history. This building
is the culmination of a Housing Fund that was initially started in 1947.
Brother Eugene Harris succeeded Brother Peebles as Poelmarch in 1991
as the Chapter was adjusting to its new environment at Kappa House.
Under Brother Elvin Jones' administration the Chapter was given a firm direction.
A few of the initiatives was to establish a sound scholarship program.
Through his leadership, within a four year period, The Cleveland Alumni
Chapter contributed over $30,000.00 to high school seniors, local
charities and United Negro College Fund.
During his tenure, the chapter was also able to secure the 2001
Grand Conclave. Since the adoption of Province rotation of the Conclave.
The Cleveland Alumni Chapter made a strong push to host the first Conclave
in the East Central Province within 45 years. Through the efforts of Brother Jones,
The Cleveland Alumni Chapter and the City of Cleveland, Ohio hosted the entire Kappa Kommunity in 2001.
Under the Fraternity umbrella "Training for Leadership", in 1997,
William H. Fields, II, a young, brash, leader emerged to become the
39th Polemarch of The Cleveland Alumni Chapter. This former Vice-Polemarch
brought much energy and enthusiasm during his brief term as Polemarch as
he prepares the Chapter for the new millennium. Introducing the Chapter
to new technology such as voicemail, and the Internet. The voicemail "Nupe Hotline"
allows Brothers within Cleveland to call this phone number to get up to the minute
information regarding Chapter activities and other related material. Additionally,
our homepage on the World Wide Web conceived by Brother Fields will now allow Kappa
Men from around the world to see the dynamic things Kappa is doing in the Cleveland
community. Plus, with the awarding of the 2001 Grand Conclave, Brothers will be able
to get a first hand view of the progress in planning such a prestigious event.
In March of 1999 the Cleveland Alumni Chapter hosted the East Central Province
meeting. During the public meeting seven high students were awarded scholarships
from the Cleveland Alumni Chapter totaling over $13,000.
Attorney William H. Smith was appointed to chair the 2001 conclave along
with Vice-Chairmen Gradmon Boiling and Anthony Peebles. All were Past Polemarchs
of Cleveland Alumni Chapter and began immediately at the task at hand. Former
Congressman Louis Stokes was nominated for the Laurel Wreath Award, making him
the first brother from Cleveland Alumni to be nominated for the highest award
in the Fraternity. Cleveland Alumni also activated the Scholarship Foundation
and moved forward with seeking it's tax-exempt status. The Foundation was
formed by Cleveland Alumni to raise funds to offer larger scholarships to area students.
One of the primary goals was to have a scholarship luncheon the next year.
Rayshawn L. Lowe was elected the 40th Polemarch, his first duty was to
pin the Honorable Mayor of Cleveland, Michael R. White with his life
membership pin. On June 5, 1999 the Cleveland Alumni Chapter pinned the
mayor who stated he would help make the 2001 Conclave something every
brother would remember. Brother Lowe began immediately by setting
aggressive goals and working on restoring the chapter's archives,
reclamation, guide right, and the 2001 Conclave.
~ The Cleveland Alumni Chapter……DEDICATED TO ACHIEVEMENT! ~