The Role Binghamton University Played in Shaping House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries
In November of 2022, Hakeem Jeffries was elected, unopposed, as House Democratic Leader for the 188th Congress. More than 30 years before, Jefferies served in a different leadership capacity - at Binghamton University.
According to Time Magazine, when Jeffries was a sophomore at Binghamton University, he was elected as president of the historically Black fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. At the time Jefferies was elected president, he had only been part of the fraternity for a year but big things would come from his time there.
Kappa Alpha Psi was founded in the midst of an environment of heavy racism on January 5, 1911, at Indiana University Bloomington, and today, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities can be found on major campuses all throughout the United States.
While Kappa Alpha Psi never has restricted membership on the basis of color, creed, or national origin, membership is generally dominated by those who are Black. Young men like Hakeem Jeffries.
The mantra of Kappa Alpha Psi is "training for leadership" and many say the fraternity couldn't have picked a better individual to mold into a leader than Jeffries who would go on to become the very first Black lawmaker to lead either party in Congress.
Joseph Cordero was a senior at Binghamton University and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi when Jeffries was elected as president and he reminisced with Time Magazine, fondly remembering Jeffries as a "force to be reckoned with."
That force is now the head of the United States House Minority and those who knew Jefferies when he attended Binghamton University say that his time there really did help to shape him into the leader he would go on to become.
David Cingranelli, a political science professor at Binghamton University told Time Magazine that Jeffries was never afraid to let others know how he felt about things.
After graduating from Binghamton University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Jeffries earned a law degree from New York University and then practiced law for several years before winning a seat in Congress in 2012.