Virginia State University Renames Four Buildings After Black Women

Virginia State University has taken a momentous step to honor the achievements of Black women.

The school has decided to rename four of its buildings on campus after women who have made noteworthy contributions to the college.

On its website, the school announced that the renaming had been approved by the VSU Visitors Board. The college also unveiled who the honorees would be and briefly explained their significance.

The renaming committee was made up of faculty, staff, and the university historian Lucious Edwards.

The building formerly known as Vawter Hall is now named Lula Johnson Hall for the first Black woman to graduate from Virginia State University.

The former Eggleston Hall is now Lucretia Campbell Hall. Campbell was the first Black woman faculty member at VSU.

Photo VSU
Photo VSU – Lucretia Campbell Hall

Trinkle Hall is now Johnella Jackson Hall. Jackson, who was a musician and civil rights activist, wrote the music for the VSU alma mater.

Photo VSU - Johnella Jackson Hall
Photo VSU – Johnella Jackson Hall

Lastly, Byrd Hall is now Otelia Howard Hall. Otelia Howard was a professor, advisor and chartered two organizations at Virginia State University. She was at the school for over two decades.

Otelia Howard Hall
Photo VSU – Otelia Howard Hall

“As a historically Black university, VSU has always set the tone of celebrating those who came before us to create the legacy that we have today,” said VSU President, Makola M. Abdullah.

The decision to rename the buildings coincides with an announcement back in March that the buildings were named after individuals whose beliefs were inconsistent with the core philosophies and legacy of VSU.

For example, Byrd Hall was named after former Governor of Virginia Harry Floyd Byrd, Sr. Byrd, who was also a Conservative senator, was known for blocking most of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s liberal-leaning legislation. He was notably against racial desegregation and led a campaign against the Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

The unveiling took place on August 6.