Kane History

Why Kappas Have Canes

The use of walking sticks and canes may very well date back to centuries B.C. to the times when shepherds would tend to their flocks.  This ties into the early roots of Christianity and leads to the candy canes of today being striped the way they are (3 thin stripes and 1 solid stripe) to remind us of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and the blood of Christ.  The shape was believed to be chosen because the cane, if pointed upward, resembles the letter “J” for Jesus.  The history of the cane also ties in with the African Rights of Passage, and was a symbol of manhood that had to be carried by initiates wishing to become adult members of their respective tribe.

Dealing more directly with the evolution of the cane and how it relates to the Fraternity, canes started off as assistive devices, and later turned into social status symbols for society.  In the 1700′s and 1800′s, canes were a fashion embellishment. One “wore” a cane. These old canes were decorative, objects to be admired and be proud of. They became collector’s items and represented the true sign of a Gentleman.

Members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity have always worn or carried canes since the beginning of the Fraternity in 1911.  Although unintentional in its inception, this occurrence soon became an unofficial tradition of Kappa men, as Kappa’s have always strived to be noble and productive members of the community.  Members of the Fraternity then proudly adorned the cane, being the symbol of a Gentleman who exhibits such characteristics.

Read more about Kappas and Kanes here.

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