The University of Virginia recently installed a plaque in front of the University Chapel which honors Henry Martin.
Martin was born a slave in 1826. He was a free man when hired by the university in 1847 as a janitor and to ring the bell in the university’s Rotunda. He rang the bell at dawn and every hour for the remainder of the day. After a fire in the Rotunda, the bell was moved to the University chapel. All told, Martin was the university’s bell ringer from 1847 to 1909, a period of 62 years.
The plaque was sponsored by the IDEA Fund, a group founded to promoted diversity on campus. IDEA stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access.