Campus Plaza Honors 1st Lt. Richard W. Collins III
Plaque, Unity Mural Represent ‘Only the Beginning’
By Liam Farrell
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle
The University of Maryland has constructed a plaza to honor the life and legacy of a former Bowie State University student killed on the College Park campus in 2017.
Located near Montgomery and Annapolis halls, Lt. Richard W. Collins III Plaza overlooks the bus stop where Collins, a Black man, was murdered by a white UMD student. The tragedy sparked years of dialogue over racial strife and a renewed commitment to justice at UMD.
“It stands now as a permanent reminder of the mission we must all pursue in creating a more just and equitable world,” President Darryll J. Pines said at the May dedication ceremony that drew hundreds of social justice activists, community leaders, government officials, and family and friends of Collins. “Each of us has an obligation to redouble our efforts to build an antiracist, inclusive culture at our university and in our entire society.”
The plaza features an engraved granite plaque honoring Collins with a fountain at the base, as well as the Unity Mural created by UMD and Bowie State students, faculty and staff and debuted at The Clarice’s 2017 NextNOW Fest.
“His young life exemplified all that is good and hopeful in a world that too often dismisses the sanctity of human life itself,” Collins’ father, Richard Collins, said at the ceremony. “It is my desire that we all take with us the spirit of adding daily to the stock of our moral courage.” Dawn Collins spoke directly to her son, adding, “I promised you that I would ensure that the world will know your name. This is only the beginning.”
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