Celebrating Mr. Henry Martin

Posted on Jan 29, 2012

On Wednesday January 25 I was deeply honored to have participated in two historic events at the University of Virginia. Both events explored and honored the life of Mr. Henry Martin, who served the UVA community for well over 50 years as a janitor and bellringer.

The first event, held Wednesday afternoon at the Special Collections Library, was an academic panel that discussed aspects of Martin’s life and the topic of enslaved labor at the University. Click here for a video of that discussion.

The video above, recorded on that same evening in the Dome Room of the UVA Rotunda,  includes Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia, and Dr. Marcus Martin, Vice President and Director of the UVA Office of Diversity and Equity, as well as Dede Smith, a member of the Charlottesville City Council. It was fitting that the evening, which honored Henry Martin, also included a hand bell choir. My comments begin at about five minutes.

Click here for a news account of the events.



Mr. Henry Martin (1826-1915), bell ringer at the University of Virginia. Mr. Martin rang the bell in the UVA Rotunda and later in the Chapel every hour on the hour from 4 am to 10pm for over 50 years.