Fraternity honors traditions with celebration
On a campus full of student organizations, it might become difficult to distinguish one group from another, particularly when it comes to Greek organizations.
African-American Greeks stand proud with a rich history and continue with their founding ideal: service to the community.
At the beginning of the 20th century, African-Americans faced intense discrimination. In response to the denial of membership into existing Greek organizations’ because of’ the ‘separate but equal’ segregation policies in place at the time, African-Americans were forced to create their own.
‘Black Greeks were basically created to create a bond between African-Americans,’ Kappa Alpha Psi member Sam Fanta, a biochemistry junior, said.
Between 1906 and 1963, four sororities (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho), and five fraternities (Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Iota Phi Theta) were created by African-American students, primarily on the campus of Howard University, an iconic, historically black university.
Their purpose was to provide havens of support for young black Americans struggling to get an education in a segregated society, while promoting civil and community service.
Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King Jr. were members of Alpha Phi Alpha. The first sorority to participate in the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. was Delta Sigma Theta.
Today, their founding traditions have endured, and in the vein of inclusiveness, they do not discriminate against anyone seeking membership.
‘While they are not a large majority, we do have Kappas of all races. The reason we’re accepting is because we know how it feels to be discriminated against. No need to continued that trend,’ Fanta said.
UH houses eight of the nine historically African-American Greek organizations, and all participate in a multitude of service-related events on campus.
This week’ has been’ no exception.
Each organization conducts an annual weeklong celebration, and Kappa Alpha Psi (the Kappas) has taken advantage of their week coinciding with Halloween to present a unique and exciting set of events.
‘The purpose of Kappa Week is to make our presence known. A lot of events we do (are) about giving back to the community and indirectly recruiting people, because nine times out of 10, people who want to be Kappas will attend our events,’ Kappa member and chemical engineering senior Obi Anaele said.
The Kappas jump-started their week with an open invitation to church Sunday.
They formally kicked off their week Monday with games and music at the University Center Arbor, followed by ‘State of the Union,’ a joint effort with the Student Government Association (SGA President Kenneth Fomunung is a Kappa), to discuss problems on campus.
Tuesday, the group held a campus-wide blood drive to benefit the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, followed by a game night with sorority Delta Sigma Theta.
The Kappas presented a poetry and jazz night Wednesday in Calhoun Lofts, and held a seminar about the importance of learning how to conduct oneself in the business world and in one’s social life Thursday.
Today marks the end of Kappa Week, and in honor of Halloween, the Kappas have organized an on-campus party. ‘Return of the Thriller,’ an homage to Michael Jackson, will be held at the UC Houston Room at 9:11 p.m. The fraternity was founded in 1911. An admission discount will be given to those in costume who arrive before 11 p.m.
‘Kappa week is meant to encourage the students in many facets. From informing them via our ‘State of the Union’ event, stimulating their minds with a poetry night, to the party,’ Fanta said. ‘Yes, a party. We are in college after all.’