The Houston Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was chartered March 31, 1928. The charter members were men who wanted to continue a formal association with the fraternity at a time when they were no longer undergraduates. So, they petitioned the Grand Chapter and the Houston Alumni Chapter became the 2 nd Alumni Chapter chartered in Texas. These men were professionals and leaders in the community. What is most impressive about them is that they were living in the South in 1928 only 63 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, yet they had all graduated from or attended college. The Charter members of Houston Alumni Chapter were Dr. Charles W. Pemberton, Leland Ewing, Cornelius A. Ladner, ”Watty Watkins”, Dr. Leon J. Peacock, W.L.D. Johnson, Sr., J.C. McDade, R.C. Chatman, Dr. Birch, Obie Williams, T.B. Allen, Albert Bateman, and J.D. Collins, Jr. Is has been noted that Allen, Bateman, and Collins came to Houston after pledging at undergraduate chapters in the Midwest and the Southeast.
Dr. Charles W. Pemberton was the 1st Polemarch of the Houston Alumni Chapter. The first two iniates of Houston Alumni Chapter were F.L. Howard and D.P. Young in 1929.
The Houston Alumni Chapter has produced seven Southwestern Province Polemarchs(Regional Presidents): Dr. Charles W. Pemberton (1934-1936), W.L.D. Johnson, Sr., (1944-1946) Cornelius Ladner (1947-1951), T.B. Allen (1971-1973), Attorney William “Randy” Bates (1998-2003), Ronald V. Julun (2007-2011), Timothy Albert (2011- Present). These represent approximately 25% of all the Polemarchs in the history of the Southwestern Province.
Two Grand (National) Chapter Officers have come from the Houston Alumni Chapter. C.B. Davis was on the Grand Board of Directors from 1973-1976. The current Grand Polemarch, William “Randy” Bates served as an elected at-large member of the Grand Board of Directors from 2003-2007 and as Senior Grand Vice Polemarch 2007-2011 before being elected to the office of Grand Polemarch.
Houston Alumni has two Laurel Wreath Awardees (which is the highest Award in Kappa Alpha Psi), Astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. 51st awardee and Dr. Bobby L. Wilson 58th awardee.
There are also two Elder Watson Diggs Awardees (the second highest Award in Kappa Alpha Psi): Attorney Carl Walker, Jr. and Willie High Coleman, Jr. Esq.
Houston Alumni Chapter was the host of the 2 nd Southwest Provincial Meeting held April 17-19, 1936.
Houston Alumni Chapter was the host of the 57 th Grand Chapter meeting, held December 26-30, 1971. And, it will serve again to host the 81st Grand Chaper Meeting (Conclave) in 2013.
Houston Alumni Chapter hosted the 62nd Southwestern Province Council Meeting on March 12-15, 1998. This was the largest Province meeting in the history of the Fraternity.
Houston Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was the first Greek Letter organization to bring the Ebony Fashion Fair to Houston beginning in the 1960’s and continuing for a period of 5-6 years making the Chapter one of the first sponsors of the Ebony Fashion Fair in the nation.
The Chapter has historically held various social entertainment activities for members and the community, including the Kappa Kostume Carnival and Kappa Kasino Night. For the last 20 plus years, the Chapter hosts an annual dance/gala around Valentine’s Day. In recent years it is referred to as either the Sweetheart Dance or Red & White Ball. Its predecessor was called the Fireball. Typically in June, the Annual Black & White Ball is held. This stylish affair is the Chapter’s marquee social event, and annually attracts 500-700 guests. Scholarship award recipients and their parents are recognized during the Ball. Other events include the Annual Christmas Party, Local Founders Day, and Chapter Picnic.
Three Houston Alumni Chapter Polemarchs have served four consecutive terms: Ollie Harris (1966-70), Manassus McGowan (1986-90), Willie H. Coleman, Jr. (1996-99) and the current chapter Polemarch Clayton Whitaker is currently serving his fourth term. At 27 years of age Willie Earlie is the youngest person to have served as Houston Alumni Chapter Polemarch. Brother Prince Barrett is the oldest initiate in the history of the Chapter and possibly in the history of the fraternity. He began his process in 1948 and became a member in 1997. Brother Barrett continued to participate in most of our activities until his health failed and his subsequent death. Brother Stan Weakley first pledged Kappa in 1968 and became a member in 1998.
Great effort, time, and expense have been expended to grow Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and to bring Houston Alumni Chapter to its current status. A very select few, pledged as undergraduates or graduate members, have maintained unbroken financial status at the local and/or national level. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. is not a club. Sustained and lifetime commitment are crucial elements to fulfillment of the goals of this Great Fraternity. Those unwilling to make such a commitment should look elsewhere.
The history of the Fraternity, and Houston Alumni Chapter specifically, is forever evolving. Capable men dedicated to service and high achievement will always be remembered in its story.