Brief History of Eta Chapter
The ETA Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity was incorporated on March 12, 1916 at the University of Nebraska. Although it was incorporated in 1916 by the National Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, it wasn’t recognized as a fraternity at the University of Nebraska until 1927. Eta Chapter was an outgrowth of seven black men who petitioned the National Organization of Kappa Alpha Psi for a charter. The petitioning group at the time was R.K. Jewell Sr., C.C Mays A.W Reason, C.T Ross, V.B. Young, A.L. Kerford and Arthur B. Moss.
In 1927 when Eta Chapter was finally recognized as a fraternity by the University of Nebraska, there were about 40 Undergraduate and 35 Alumni Chapters that were chartered by The National Headquarters of Kappa Alpha Psi. Eta Chapter at the time it was recognized by University of Nebraska had the largest black membership on campus. There were about 30 active and pledging members. The members on campus at that time were nicknamed The Polecats by white fraternities and sororities which was very derogatory in those days.
Although the existence of Kappa Alpha Psi was practically unknown the members had a very active organization. The members of Eta Chapter would meet every Friday night at 8:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Urban League Building, Negro Community Center, which was located on 12th & U Street. Since the members of Kappa Alpha Psi and Alpha Phi Alpha weren’t recognized by the University of Nebraska as active fraternities, they weren’t allowed to participate in organized fraternity activities on campus.
The Kappas and Alphas being the only black fraternities on campus created a keen rivalry between the two fraternities. One of the chief outlets of this rivalry was an annual basketball game that the two fraternities played every year. It’s not known actually when this competition started or ended, but it was held in Omaha.
One of the most prominent members of Eta Chapter was John Adams Jr. of Omaha. He was the only black member of Nebraska first Unicameral Legislature.
Today Eta Chapter has not only become a prominent fraternity across the country, it is also highly recognized by the University of Nebraska. Since its incorporation in 1916 Eta Chapter has initiated more than 300 hundred members.