University of Virginia fraternity marches to pay respects to enslaved laborers

Members of the Lambda Zeta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi marched to the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers on Grounds.
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 5:24 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Members of the Lambda Zeta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi marched to the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers on Grounds.

The fraternity says this served as a symbol to pay respects to those who have come before them.

“When you look at the university’s history and the fact that Lambda is a chapter Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was the first Black Greek letter organization here on campus, I think it’s really important that we are the ones to being this and continue to make this go forward,” Omega Psi Phi member Charles Bowers Jr. said.

Gary Flowers is a 1985 alumnus from the University of Virginia.

“We’d like to make the correlation between the first enslaved Africans who built this majestic lawn and the first Black Greek organization on Grounds,” Flowers said.

He says the group specifically wanted to give tribute to Anna Gibbons, a woman who used to be enslaved at the Pavilion on Grounds.

With members old and young a part of the celebration, all who came left with a little more knowledge about UVA’s history.

“We want it to draw attention to the contributions of slave laborers to the development of the University of Virginia,” Bowers Jr. said.

This was the third year of the march, and the hope is that this tradition will be passed down for generations to come.

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