University of Virginia

While others tear down monuments, some universities are building new ones

While others tear down monuments, some universities are building new ones

When Shae Omonijo started as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, she ate most of her meals surrounded by large portraits of white men, famous founders and illustrious alumni of the college. Compared with back home in Baltimore, where many black leaders and activists are honored in public spaces, it seemed strange.

Her friend Asya Akca had been struck by the lack of statues honoring women at home in Louisville. Over the years, through friendship, research and sheer doggedness, the two found a way to help make the center of student life at Chicago better reflect the campus.

Last month, a sculpture of the first black woman to earn a doctorate at the prestigious...

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