South Central Province History
(provided by Samuel Bell)

View our complete Province History (click the image)

Written by Bro. Samuel Bell

The South Central Province (SCP) of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. has administrative responsibility for chapters in Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, birthplace of our late Revered Founder Elder Watson Diggs. The Fraternity's national philanthropic partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, located in Memphis, TN, was conceived and initiated in the SCP. The Fraternity's Junior Grand Vice Polemarch, Jeremy Williams, is a member of the Nu Rho Chapter in the SCP. The South Central Province honors its legacy of excellence, applauds its able leadership, and advances ever upward and onward toward the ideal of ACHIEVEMENT.

The South Central Province

The South Central Province was originally encompassed within the Southern Province.

Between 1926 and 1950, Provinces were not fixed entities. At the 40th Grand Chapter meeting [1950], the Provinces underwent a major transformation that included the merging of Provinces, establishing unique boundaries, and renaming of Provinces. The delegates, at subsequent Grand Chapter meetings, continued to fine-tune the management responsibilities of the Province Polemarchs.  One of the most significant changes was the adoption of legislation requiring a Province Polemarch to affiliate with an alumni chapter within the geographic area that he supervises.  The first documented mention of the South Central Province is in the March 1935 Kappa Alpha Psi Journal. H. C. Russell of the Louisville Alumni Chapter is listed as Province Polemarch.

Based on this information, it can be intimated, the South Central Province was established December 30th, 1934 at the 24th Grand Chapter Meeting. The 24th Grand Chapter was held in New York from December 26 through the 30th.  Dr. Jesse Jerome Peters, the eighth Grand Polemarch, would have made the appointment of Brother Harvey C. Russell, Sr as Province Polemarch.

In 1951 Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Mississippi were realigned and titled the South Central Province while most of Arkansas, and Mississippi along with all of Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas became the Southwestern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi.  The first Province Polemarch for the original Southern Province was Nelson Willis who was a member of Louisville (KY) Alumni during his time as a Province Polemarch.

The Sunday of Hope mural at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

The Sunday of Hope mural at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Kappa Alpha Psi donated over $1 million dollars to St. Jude in 2010. The St. Jude partnership was conceived in the South Central Province.

When the South Central Province was established there were 5 Undergraduate chapters and 4 Alumni chapters:

Kappa - Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn.
Alpha Delta - Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn.
Alpha Theta - Tennessee State College, Nashville, Tenn.
Alpha Omicron - Louisville Municipal College, Louisville, Ky.
Alpha Upsilon - Kentucky State Industrial College, Frankfort, Ky.

Louisville Alumni Chapter, Louisville. Ky.
Lexington/Frankfort Alumni Chapter, (currently the Lexington Alumni Chapter) Lexington/Frankfort. Ky.
Memphis Alumni Chapter, Memphis. Tenn.
Nashville Alumni Chapter, Nashville. Tenn.

South Central Province
Polemarch Lineage

i.      Nelson M. Willis 1925-1929 (Southern Province Polemarch)
ii.     Fred A. Clement 1930-1931 (Southern Province Polemarch)
iii.    Nelson M. Willis 1931-1932 (Southern Province Polemarch)
iv.   Harvey C. Russell 1932-1933 (Southern Province Polemarch)
v.    Henry H. Walker 1933-1934 (Southern Province Polemarch)
1.    Harvey C. Russell 1934-1936
2.     Rufus E. Clement 1936-1397
3.    Rufus Stout 1937-1944
4.    Theodore Rowan 1944-1945
5.    Henry S. Wilson 1945-1947
6.    William J. Gupton 1947-1949
7.    William F. Butler 1949-1952
8.    W. Dickerson Donnelly 1953-1954
9.    Jack O. LeFlore 1954-1957
10.  Maceo Walker 1957-1959
11.  Hubert B. Crouch 1959-1962
12.  Louis P. McHenry 1962-1965
13.  R. L. Wynn 1965-1968
14.  Melvin N. Conley 1968-1972
15.  Shannon D. Little 1972-1978
16.  Louis N. Willis 1978-1986
17.  Ocie Pleasant 1986-1990
18.  Mark A. Scott 1990-1991
19.  Robert W. Scales 1991-1994
20.  John P. Russell Jr 1994-2002
21.  Prentice J. Siegel 2002-2007
22.  Willie F. Brooks Jr 2007-2011
23.  Byron D. White 2011-2015
24. Leonard E. Clemons 2016-present

The Development of Provinces: 1921-1926

The approval of the District proposal by Grand Keeper of Exchequer David at the 10th Grand Chapter meeting provided the mechanism for a Grand Polemarch to appoint men to head areas. Some opine that the election of David as the third Grand Polemarch was a natural since it would facilitate the transformation of an idea to reality.

The First District Directors
Past Grand Polemarch Irven Armstrong, whose home was closest to chapters located in Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee; 

Harrison Duke [a Beta alumnus] whose home was closest to chapters located in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas; 

Harold Tyler [a Zeta charter member] whose home was closest to chapters located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC
(There is no verifiable information about the specific responsibilities of a District Director or any information on reports presented by directors at Grand Chapter meetings.)

The First Regional Directors

At the 13th Grand Chapter meeting [1923], it appears the nomenclature changed from District to Region, and the number of areas increased to seven. Grand Polemarch W. Ellis Stewart appointed the following Regional Directors -
·     Region 1: Allen C. Bean;
·     Region 2: I. J. K. Wells;
·     Region 3: C. O. Pearson;
·     Region 4: R. L. Bailey;
·     Region 5: B. F. Tinsley;
·     Region 6: Joseph Snowden; and
·     Region 7: Harrison W. Hollie

There is no verifiable data to suggest the region(s) which confined the modern day South Central Province.

The Provinces
At the 15th Grand Chapter meeting [1925], the delegates adopted new nomenclature; regions became Provinces and region directors became Province Polemarchs. The first Provinces were -

·     Great Lakes Province, which included areas now designated as the Northern Province;
·     Eastern Province, which included areas encompassing the modern day North Eastern, Eastern, and Middle Eastern Provinces;
·     Middle Eastern Province, which covered much of the area now designated as the East Central Province;
·     Southern Province, which included area now part of the modern day South Central and Southwestern Provinces;
·     Central Province, which included area now part of the North Central Province;
·     Northwestern Province, which also included area now part of the North Central Province; and
·     Western Province, which included are now part of the modern day Middle Western and Western Provinces

In 1926, the Fraternity added an eighth Province – South Eastern Province. It included areas now part of the modern day Middle Eastern, Eastern Central, and Southern [originally known as the Gulf Coast Province].

Greetings Brothers,

I personally want to thank you for allowing me to serve you as your Province Historian.  It is my sincere desire to continue analyzing our past so that we can gain insights into our future.  To my brothers who are charged with maintaining their chapter histories; I ask that you please take the time to review the historical forms prepared by Grand Historian Kevin Scott and help in our collective efforts to research, recover, and retain the priceless history of Kappa Alpha Psi. Brothers also I ask that you continue reinterpreting the past, asking new questions, searching new sources and finding new meanings in old documents in order to bring the perspective of new knowledge and experience to bear on the task of understanding our past. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions and thank you for your commitment to our history.

Samuel Bell, South Central Province Historian