Wright State unveils campus plaza to celebrate Black fraternities and sororities

NPHC members and university administration stand as an innovation is read on Saturday to introduce the National Pan-Hellenic Council Memorial Plots to campus. Eileen McClory / Staff
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NPHC members and university administration stand as an innovation is read on Saturday to introduce the National Pan-Hellenic Council Memorial Plots to campus. Eileen McClory / Staff

Wright State University unveiled a new plaza on their campus honoring the nine historically Black sororities and fraternities Saturday afternoon.

Wright State is calling the plaza the “National Pan-Hellenic Council Memorial Plots,” but the design is a concrete circle with the names of each of the NPHC sororities and fraternities around the circle. The plaza is designed to underscore Wright State’s commitment to inclusion and present an educational and cultural opportunity for students, faculty and staff, the university said.

ExploreWright State breaks ground on campus plaza to celebrate Black fraternities and sororities

Adrian Williams, the former Wright State student body president and member of Kappa Alpha Psi who worked to establish the memorial on campus, said it had sometimes been difficult being a Black man at a predominately white educational institution. This plaza established a space for Black students, he said.

“Having this space means more to us than any of you may ever know,” he said. “And I look forward to bringing my kids one back to campus one day, many years, down, down the line and showing them this project, I had a role in building and showing them my legacy.”

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NPHC members walk into the National Pan-Hellenic Council Memorial Plots for the first time after the ribbon cutting on Saturday. Eileen McClory / Staff

NPHC members walk into the National Pan-Hellenic Council Memorial Plots for the first time after the ribbon cutting on Saturday. Eileen McClory / Staff
Caption
NPHC members walk into the National Pan-Hellenic Council Memorial Plots for the first time after the ribbon cutting on Saturday. Eileen McClory / Staff

The nine historically Black sororities and fraternities that make up the NPHC were founded during a time when Black men and women were being denied essential privileges and rights. Many of them were fighting for civil rights at the same time they were completing their studies.

The plaza will be in a circle set with gold medallions, Wright State said. It will be outside of University Hall, near the “Turning Points” sculpture.

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President Sue Edwards applauded the students who had worked on the plaza and said the students’ involvement made it special. Students worked hard with the university’s team to make the plots happen, even at other universities that have similar memorials, she said.

Wright State alumni also attended the event. Onome Scott-Emuakpor, a member of Iota Phi Theta at Wright State, said predominately white institutions like Wright State still have a long way to go to show they understand, appreciate and respect the NPHC.

“I am truly appreciative of what’s going on here in the ceremony, this plot, but let us not be distracted by shiny objects, guys,” Scott-Emuakpor said.

He added, “We all need to understand, or we all need to help these institutions, understand the difference between being treated equally and being treated fairly.”

The project was funded through donations. Wright-Patt Credit Union, the Wright State Alumni Association and the Wright State African American Alumni Society donated a total of about $20,500, according to Wright State.

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