In 1966, Ortner “Von” Murray immigrated to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago to pursue the American dream. He lived out his dream by becoming an entrepreneur and creating the iconic Von’s sneaker store in Queens, New York. Von’s son followed in his footsteps and created the School of Hard Knocks and Queen’s 7 T-shirt. Now, it’s time for Von’s grandson, 21-year-old senior at Howard University to continue on with the family legacy.
Tahir Murray, who’s on track to obtain his bachelor’s degree in marketing this spring, created LHP: Legacy History Pride the summer before his junior year. He chose the name “to honor his third-generation entrepreneurial roots and to pay homage to all of the work that his grandfather and family had done, especially in the HBCU community.”
The first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established in the 1800s, providing higher education opportunities for Black people. Admissions officers typically denied entry to Blacks who were seeking to attend traditional institutions due to segregation and discriminatory practices.
LHP: Legacy History Pride isn’t just a brand that’s about HBCUs, but is also inspired by the Divine 9, which is a group of nine Black Greek lettered organizations. Seven of the nine Divine 9 organizations were founded on the campus of Howard University including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. among other Black Greek letter organizations.
Through his brand LHP: Legacy History Pride, Murray hopes to re-energize a passion for HBCUs, and hopes to inspire younger students to look at HBCUs as they consider their college careers. “Before I started LHP, there wasn’t anyone else in the market shining this type of light on HBCU culture through something I grew up on, which is fashion,” Murray shared. Murray has already been able to secure multiple partnerships with HBCUs, helping him to gain more attention for his brand that is set to make positive change.
It’s been almost two years since Murray launched his brand, and it’s already caught the attention of Black professional athletes such as Chris Paul and NFL quarterback Cam Newton. Most notably, Paul was seen wearing a long-sleeved sweatshirt and gray shorts with the word “SPELLHOUSE” displayed on both items. “Spelhouse” is a common phrase used by students and alumni of Spelman and Morehouse colleges to describe the connection that the two HBCUs have.
Murray has also been fortunate enough to land in a Nike Campaign – which happens to be his favorite brand – which highlighted individuals who’ve studied at HBCUs. Murray and his family have a long history with Nike, as his grandfather, Ortner Murray, was the “first Black-owned business to have a Nike account in the United States.”
However, through it all, Tahir has stayed clear on his path for achieving his goals.
“Protecting the HBCU community and elevating the Black community has always been his No. 1 goal,” said Murray in an interview with Alex Williams for The Undefeated.
Murray is well on his way to keep going on his word as he works with the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance, “an organization that hosts fundraisers and events to bring the HBCU community together and raise money for scholarships and funds for schools.” Additionally, Murray has also created the “All It Takes is One Scholarship”, which will provide scholarships to current HBCU students.