From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Diggs, Elder Watson

(born: 1883  -  died: 1947) 

Born in Hopkinsville, KY, Elder W. Diggs graduated from Indiana's Normal [now Indiana State University], where he was one of the founding members of Kappa Alpha Psi, established on January 5, 1911. Diggs served as the Grand Polemarch (president) of the fraternity during the first six years and was awarded the organization's first Laurel Wreath in 1924. The fraternity sought "to raise the sights of Negro youth and stimulate them to accomplishments higher than might otherwise be realized or even imagined." Diggs was the first African American graduate from the IU's School of Education, and he went on to become a school principal in Indianapolis, leaving that job to serve in World War I. After the war Diggs was instrumental in having the Indiana constitution amended to permit Negro enlistment in the Indiana National Guard. Diggs returned to his job as principal and earned his master's degree in education from Howard University in 1944. After his death on Nov. 8, 1947, the Indianapolis school where he had served as principal for 26 years was named the Elder W. Diggs School #42. For more see Founder: Elder Watson Diggs, by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; and a pencil drawing of Elder W. Diggs by Vertine Young available in the Indiana Historical Society's Great Black Hoosier Americans collection.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Diggs, Elder Watson,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 30, 2020,

Last modified: 2017-09-14 17:44:38