Fifty-one years after Darryl Hill graduated from the University of Maryland, students are advocating for a statue to be built in his name after the National Network for the Liberation of College Athletes sent a letter to this university on Sept. 6 requesting consideration for the statue’s construction on the campus.
In 1963, Hill made history as the first African-American to play on this university’s football team, according to a September Diamondback article. In 2012, the ACC honored him for creating a path for future generations on the 50th anniversary of his first Maryland football game, the article read.
Some students, like junior Jacob Veitch, president of this university’s College Republicans chapter, said this project is a “no brainer,” as Veitch is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“If you look at the story of Darryl Hill, it’s an incredible story,” the government and politics and international business major said. “Despite all odds at a time where everyone was against him, he stood with honor and with dignity, and stood for what was right and just. This is something that our club proudly relates to and supports.”
An Oct.7 Facebook post from the College Republicans said the group hopes to see further consideration from university President Wallace Loh and the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
The group’s statement read:
“The University of Maryland College Republicans is proud to join in support of the ongoing effort to enshrine Darryl Hill, former Terrapins wide receiver, in the form of a statue at Maryland Stadium.
“During a time of great distress in our country’s history, Mr. Hill became the first African American student at any major academic institution in the South to receive an athletic scholarship and compete on the gridiron. Mr. Hill faced great challenges, but consistently overcame, setting multiple collegiate football records and, more importantly, boldly standing for his rights in the face of unacceptable racism and hatred.
“His story is one of breaking records while on the field and barriers when off of it. Simply put, Darryl Hill is an example that all students can and should look up to. As fearless leaders with bold ideas, it is our moral responsibility to defend justice, and we hope that Darryl Hill’s story will continue to inspire students, faculty, and the College Park community for years to come.”
This university’s Graduate Student Government also voiced their support in a Sept. 20 statement.
A portion of the statement read:
“To formally acknowledge Mr. Hill is to acknowledge a troubling time in University of Maryland’s history and show our gratitude for his sacrifice.
“Graduate students teach, research and mentor across this campus, and we would be remiss if we were not facilitating dialogue and making our own views clear. We wholeheartedly encourage a dialogue about how we can honor Darryl Hill in the most appropriate way. …If we are to create a campus climate that recognizes and nurtures all of us, we must work to honor a more nuanced history of this institution. We believe that celebrating Darryl Hill is certainly a step in that direction.”
Katie Brown, GSG’s vice president for public relations, said this statue will help show how far this university has come.
“When you put a statue up, you are immortalizing that,” said Brown, a fourth year doctoral candidate in the communication department. “You’re not just immortalizing the man, you’re immortalizing that troubling history.”
Senior staff writer Lexie Schapitl contributed to this report.