Within the Third District, Omega Men have contributed mightily to the educational, economic, health and civic development of Richmond, Virginia and beyond. Many of their contributions have not been adequately exposed, therefore, the Third District History & Archives Committee will promote “our own”, toward a greater awareness of Omega’s iniquitousness.
Brother Oliver W. Hill, Sr. was an attorney, athlete, academic, activist, author, and at-large city councilor.
Brother Hill was a two-sport athlete (football, basketball) at Dunbar High School in the Washington, District of Columbia. He then enrolled in Howard University, where he was initiated into the Lampados Club in 1927. Brother Hill once proudly told me he persuaded the 1928 Lampados Club to erect a monument on Howard’s campus to Benjamin Banneker, which now stands as the storied Sun Dial (affectionately known by the initiated as “the Dial”). Later, Brother Hill would graduate in the first day class of the Howard University Law School (as co-class president beside Thurgood Marshall). In fact, Thurgood Marshall secured the votes from members of Alpha Phi Alpha and Brother Hill garnered votes from the Omegas.
Upon graduation from law school, and after a short legal practice in Roanoke, Virginia, Brother Hill returned to Richmond, Virginia where he opened a law practice with Brother Spottswood Robinson, and helped organize the Virginia Conference of the NAACP. Together with Brother Robinson, he won over 220 civil rights cases in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In one instance, faced with bigoted barristers not supporting his admission to circuit courts in rural Virginia, Brother Hill moved his own admittance to the court. The judge so moved by the courage of Brother Hill admitted him to practice before the court.
In 1948, Brother Hill won election to the Richmond City Council, becoming the first African American elected since Reconstruction. My Father (the late Stafford A. Flowers – Nu Psi, 1941) helped to mobilize voters with a mega phone atop his automobile.
In 1954, once again alongside Thurgood Marshall and Brother Spottswood Robinson, he litigated the Davis case, which was included in the legal victory of Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing the “separate, but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
In 1962, Brother Hill was appointed to the Kennedy Administration, working under Brother Robert Weaver in the Housing and Home Finance Agency.
Brother Oliver W. Hill, Sr. represents a golden example of the well roundedness of Omega Men. He was as comfortable in the pool hall as in the halls of Congress; as at ease in the Supreme Court as on the basketball court. He is the only Omega Man to have won the NAACP Spingarn Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom (Clinton), and served as Grand Sire of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (The Boule).
Thanks to Brother Gary Flowers for this “Walk through the Ward”. Brother Flowers recommends the following related readings:
“The Big Bang: Brown v. Board of Education and Beyond”, by Oliver Hill (https://www.amazon.com/Big-Bang-Education-Birthday-Autobiography/dp/1885066627/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+big+bang+oliver+hill&qid=1614041800&sr=8-1)
“We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team That Dismantled Jim Crow”, by Margaret Edds. (https://www.amazon.com/Face-Dawn-Spottswood-Dismantled-Institute/dp/0813942640/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1BLMW8IR627D2&dchild=1&keywords=we+face+the+dawn&qid=1614041933&sprefix=we+face+the+d%2Caps%2C146&sr=8-1)
Make it a great week Brothers. Be noble!
3rd District History and Archives Committee
The Monday Pearl is provided by the Third District History and Archives Committee and is a weekly sharing of fraternity content, commentary, and research of historical value we hope Brothers will enjoy and from which Brothers will draw inspiration. Previous “Pearls” can be found at https://3rddistrictques.org/about-us/overview/monday-pearl/. The Committee encourages your feedback. Should you have reactions, comments, information, anecdotes, documents, and the like, related to any of the content we share, we’d very much like to hear from you. Please send all communication to firstname.lastname@example.org.