Edward Giles Irvin

Edward Giles Irvin

Founder

Founder Edward Giles Irvin was a civic and religious leader, journalist, and entrepreneur. He was born August 13, 1893, in Spencer, Indiana, and was the seventh of nine children of an African Methodist Episcopal minister. 

Following graduation from Kokomo Indiana High School in 1910, he enrolled at Indiana University the same year. At only 17 years of age, Irvin was the youngest of ten Black students who founded Kappa Alpha Psi® Fraternity.  Irvin served on the fraternity’s Incorporation Committee.  Irvin left the school following the spring term of 1911.

After leaving school, Irvin pursued a career in journalism until World War I. Irvin enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a combat medic with the Expeditionary Forces in France, where he was cited for bravery. Irvin served on the Selective Service Board during WWII and the Korean War. The United States bestowed the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest medal for valor. He also received two Distinguished Service Awards from Presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Achievements

Following his honorable discharge, he met Maywilla Wooten, who became his wife. He subsequently moved to Indianapolis and was on the staff of the Indianapolis Freeman. In 1922, he established The Shining Star, an Anderson, Indiana weekly newspaper. He subsequently moved to Gary, Indiana, and became the editor of the Gary Sun newspaper. Irvin moved to Chicago, Illinois, and in 1928, he worked as the sports editor for The Chicago Daily Bulletin newspaper. After it collapsed, he worked at the U.S. Post Office and became the owner and operator of the Afro-American Manufacturing Company, a distributor of candy, novelties, and specialty items. Irvin was a long-time member of the Chicago (IL) Alumni Chapter.

Deeply rooted in the community, he was also an active member of the Masonic Order, the Odd Fellows, and the St. James African Methodist Church. He was also a trustee of St. James A.M.E. Church in Chicago and founded and edited the lay newspaper, Voice of the A.M.E. Laymen.

Irvin was bestowed the 24th Laurel Wreath Award for meritorious achievement and the third Founder to receive this coveted fraternity award. The fraternity named the Edward Giles Irvin Award in his honor. It is bestowed upon the most outstanding Undergraduate Chapter.

The Fraternity’s last living Founder died on November 4, 1982, and was survived by his daughter, Dorothy Manyweather. He is buried at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.