The Rho Epsilon chapter of the Sigma Lambda International Fraternity created a petition to rename the resident hall buildings of Brown, Lowndes and Patterson, which was submitted to VSU administration on April 19.
Michael Tidwell, the president of Sigma Lambda International Fraternity, and the rest of the fraternity decided to prepare this petition as an attempt to break away from the racist backgrounds behind the names of the halls.
“We decided to advocate for this because of our national mission which, in part, includes to nurture and further a dynamic, values-based environment,” he said. “The Rho Epsilon chapter feels that continuing to memorialize and honor people who, in their lifetime, advocated for the systemic oppression of people and have no to little connection to the university is not consistent with the inclusive environment that VSU is working to foster.”
The Fraternity is Latino based and consists of members from all walks of life: Black, White, Asian and Hispanic. This gives more reason why the buildings should be renamed and to chip away at VSU’s racial history behind those names.
Patterson Hall was named after Patterson Street. The street was named after James Patterson, a local Confederate captain who owned 14 slaves in 1860 who ranged from ages one to 50.
Lowndes Hall was named after Lowndes County, which is named after William Jones Lowndes, a nationally recognized educator and statesman who owned slaves. William Lowndes opposed the end of the slave trade and thought that enslavement of Africans to be in the slaves ‘best interest.’
Finally, Brown Hall was named after Joseph M. Brown, a former Georgia Governor who served two terms between the years 1909-1913. According to the Georgia Encyclopedia, he was a stout anti-Semite who wrote opinion pieces about the Leo Frank case—a case about a Jewish man in Atlanta who was placed on trial and convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl.
Written by Torian Gordon. Photo courtesy of VSU.