Bertram K. Orum
10th Southern Province Polemarch
The Southern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi was created by the last Grand Chapter at which the late illustrious J. Ernest Wilkins, Sr. presided. As a result of extensive study, the Grand Board of Directors, meeting in Kansas City, MO in 1950, recommended that the Southern Province, then the most extensive province in Kappadom, comprising, as it did, the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, be partitioned.
At the same session of the Grand Chapter in Kansas City, a proposal to partition the Southwestern Province was defeated. After much debate and compromise was made whereby the Southwestern Province remained intact, comprising the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisana, and Mississippi.
The new elected Grand Polemarch, Frank M. Summers, proceeded immediately to effect the reorganization of the states, following the directive of the Grand Chapter. Upon the recommendation of Province Polemarch W. Dickerson Donnelly, the Grand Polemarch asked the Keeper of Records and Exchequer of the Southeastern Province, Toussaint L. Hale, to assume the office of Provincial Polemarch of the newly created Southern Province. Hale of the Birmingham Alumni Chapter accepted the appointment and proceeded to formulate a joint meeting of the two provinces to be held in the city of Jacksonville, Florida, October 18-21, 1951, as the guest of the Jacksonville Alumni Chapter.
Prior to the October 1951 meeting in Jacksonville, there had been very little fraternity activity in the Southeastern Province. At the time W. Dickerson Donnelly was appointed Province Polemarch, no council meetings had been held since before World War II. The Tallahassee Alumni and Alpha Xi chapters hosted the post World War II revival of the Province with a meeting the weekend o f November 15, 1946. Polemarch Donnelly presided, and Grand Polemarch Augustus G. Parker (1945-47) was the principal speaker. Thereafter, the Southeastern Province met in Birmingham in 1947; in Columbia, SC, in 1948, in Atlanta, host by the Alumni and Pi chapters, in 1949; and in Spartanburg, Sc, in 1950. During these years Toussaint Hale of Birmingham was continuously elected Keeper of Records. With the revision of Consitution in Spartanburg, the duties of Keeper of Exchequer were combined with those of the Keeper of Records.
In his notes, Claude Hilliard of Jacksonville pointed out the nearly impossible task of supervising such an extended territory as the Southeastern Province. This matter had been the subject of lengthy discussion at two previous Grand Chapter meetings. A proposed division was discussed at the 38th Grand Chapter meeting in Detroit in 1948, and at the 39th Grand Chapter meeting in Nashville in 1949. However, it was not until the 40th Grand Chapter meeting in Kansas City in December, 1950, the division of the Province was authorized.
The states South Carolina and Georgia kept the original name and became know as the Southeastern Province. The state of Alabama and Florida were designated as the Gulf Province. However, before the first meeting of the new province occurred in October, the name was changed to Southern. Everharding Pruitt suggested that the change was made to conform with the compass directions as used in naming the provinces in the fraternity.
The official action of renaming the Province was taken two months later at the 41st Grand Chapter in Indianapolis, December 26-29, 1951.
W. Dickerson Donnelly, Polemarch of the Southeastern Province of the Southeastern Province, and Toussaint Hale, appointed Polemarch of the Gulf Province at the close of the 40th Grand Chapter, presided jointly at the first annual meeting.
The first annual meeting of the two provinces was to be a joint meeting, which would make it relatively simple to divide the assets of the old organization and elect separate officers to function for the Southern and Southeastern provinces respectively.
The Southern Province is now comprised of Alabama, Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands, Republic of Panama, and Grand Bahamas. It has 44 Alumni and 34 Undergraduate Chapters.
The Province is home to over 7,000 alumni members and over 3,000 undergraduate members. Bertram Orum has served as the 10th Province Polemarch since 2015.