The History of the Southfield Alumni Chapter....
The late sixties and early seventies saw a tremendous network formed from the bond between many brothers who had been initiated at Delta Nu (Eastern Michigan), Alpha Beta (Wayne State), Delta Pi (Michigan State), Gamma Beta (Western Michigan), Sigma (University of Michigan), and other chapters. In that most brothers had never joined the Detroit, Pontiac or Ann Arbor Alumni Chapters, we would gather together for a Loving Cup celebration, then at Brother Rick Byas’ Health Club on West Eight Mile Road each year during the Christmas holiday. During those years, Brother Gerald Cardwell had moved to Buffalo and then to Miami because of his employment with General Motors, but always came home to Detroit for the Christmas holiday.
Brother Cardwell was transferred back to Detroit and joined the Detroit Alumni Chapter during the 1984 Christmas season. He came with a passion to somehow reclaim the now hundreds that would attend the Loving Cup celebration that upcoming year. As a mixer for the cup, on Christmas 1985, he placed the cup in the middle of the floor and spoke to the need to be role models and agents of change for the youth in our community. Brother Cardwell knew that we needed to give back a portion of what we had achieved. Now, with a Who’s Who list of brothers in the bond, he passed out a survey and information sheet to compile a list of names, as those in attendance had agreed to meet during the upcoming Super Bowl.
Twenty brothers attended our first organizational meeting, which we initially agreed would either lead us to joining the Detroit Alumni Chapter en masse, or form an alumni association to be located in Southfield, where now some fifty percent of the residents were African Americans. There was clearly a need to have a Kappa presence there and a means for accessing the financial resources that had left Detroit. By February of 1986, our numbers had increased to forty. We invited then Province Polemarch Charles C. Smith and Detroit Alumni Polemarch Eugene Polk to attend and debate whether or not to join their chapter. After much discussion, and with a concern of disrupting its chapter’s operations with so many new members, we decided to form the Southfield Alumni Chapter.
On July 19, 1986 at the Southfield Civic Center, the chapter charter was presented by then Immediate Past Grand Polemarch Robert Gordon. Seventy brothers were the chartering members of Southfield Alumni Chapter, which we can still boast of being the largest alumni chapter ever founded in the fraternity’s history. Brother Gordon’s charge to us that day was that “We not lean on the shield of Kappa Alpha Psi, but be the best chapter that we can be and a model for the fraternity.” We set out to do just that with a detailed infrastructure that included a balance of leadership from each school represented, with Gerald Cardwell from Delta Nu, as Polemarch; Wesley Smith from Alpha Beta, as Vice Polemarch; Mike Washington from Gamma Beta, as Keeper of Records; and David Branch from Delta Pi, as Keeper of Exchequer. Likewise, we organized with a multitude of committees formed to involve as many members as possible in the workings of the chapter, setting out to first get our name identified as a catalyst for change.
Over the years, we have made a difference in the lives of our members and the community at large, both civically and socially. The many successful programs of scholarship, now averaging $25,000 per year; a Guide Right program, with a strong Kappa League of high school males; and senior citizen and at-risk youth assistance programs have spoken well to our reputation as being the “corporate chapter” and model for alumni chapters within our fraternity. Numerous awards have been received including be named by the Northern Province as Alumni Chapter of the Year, Guide Right Chapter of the Year, and select Alumni Brother of the Year on several occasions. Also, Brothers Cardwell and Harry Franklin have served as Province Senior Vice-Polemarchs, and Brother Franklin currently serves as our Province Polemarch. We are proud of the chapter and what it has done. Our meetings are timely, and run in the true sense of business and still mixed with fun. Our friendships and fellowships are the essence of our fidelity toward one another. May God continue to bless the Southfield Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi.
The charter members of the Southfield Alumni Chapter are as follows:
Elwood Cook III
Waymon Dunn, Jr.
Andrew Hardy, Jr.
H. Freman Hendrix
Percy Hentrel, Jr.
Ralph Jefferson, Jr.
J. Calvin McCray
Arnold W. Miller
Leonard Pickett, Jr.
G. Wesley Smith
Mark C. Smith
John Williams, Jr.