Civic and religious leader, journalist and entrepreneur, Edward Giles Irvin, was born on August 13, 1893 in Spencer, Indiana and was the seventh of nine children and son of an AME Minister.
Irvin graduated fro Kokomo Indiana High School in 1910 and entered Indiana University the same year. After leaving school, he pursued a Journalistic career in various cities throughout the country until the onset of World War I.
Irvin served n the United States Army during World War I and was cited for bravery while performing his duties as a combat medic with the Expeditionary Forces in France. He served on the Selective Service Board during World War II and the Korean War. Irvin received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the U.S. Army, awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. He also received Distinguished Service Awards from President Harry S. Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, respectively.
Following his honorable discharge from the Army, he moved to Indianapolis where he worked on the staff of the Indianapolis Freeman, the first illustrated black newspaper in the United States. In 1922, he established the Indiana Shining Star, a weekly newspaper in Anderson, Indiana. The success of this venture brought a bid for Irvin’s services from the Gary Sun newspaper, where he worked as an editor but later resigned to become the sports editor of the Chicago Daily Bulletin newspaper.
Aside from his success as a journalist, Irvin was a pioneer in promoting basketball and track athletics in the small town schools across Indiana. Deeply rooted in the community, he was an active member of the Methodist Church of Chicago and a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges. He also organized and operated the Afro-American Manufacturing Company in Chicago, which produced novelties, candies and specialties.
On January 5, 1911, while attending Indiana University, Irvin, at age 17, was the youngest of ten Black students who founded Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. Irvin served on the fraternity’s Incorporation Committee. As students who endured acts of racial hatred and hostility, Irvin and the other Founders organized this fraternity on the principle of achievement, in order to alleviate social isolation and raise the sights of Black undergraduates.
Kappa Alpha Psi has since grown to comprise over 125,000 members with 700 Undergraduate and Alumni chapters in every state of the United States, and international chapters in Nigeria, South Africa, The West Indies, The United Kingdom, Germany, Korea and Japan. It is the second oldest existing historically Black Greek Letter collegiate fraternity.
Irvin was awarded the Laurel Wreath, the highest award available to a member of Kappa Alpha Psi for meritorious achievement. The Fraternity also named the Undergraduate Chapter of the Year Award in his honor.
Irvin was a long-time member of the Chicago Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. In honor of Irvin’s ideals, dedication to community and altruistic efforts, the Chicago Alumni Chapter established the Edward G. Irvin Foundation, as its not-for-profit philanthropic arm in 2001.
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Achievement in the intellectual, spiritual, physical and social phases of life…through group action, rather than individual.
~ Edward G. Irvin
August 13, 1893 ~ November 4, 1982