Oral History Interview with Thomas Gibb

Interview by Karen H. Williams on Jan. 2, 2010

Oral history interview with Thomas Gibbs III, ’51 and Dean of Cathedral Church on All Saints on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Interview conducted by Karen Hastie Williams, retired lawyer and member of Gibbs' congregation.


Thomas Gibbs, class of 1951, made national headlines when the AC chapter of Phi Kappa Psi planned to initiate him; he would have been the first African-American in the national fraternity. After the Amherst chapter refused to bow to pressure from national fraternity leaders and depledge Gibbs, Phi Kappa Psi revoked Amherst's charter and the local chapter became an independent fraternity, Phi Alpha Psi. Gibbs went on to study theology and served in positions of increasing responsibility in the Episcopal Church, becoming dean of Cathedral Church on All Saints on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, from 1966 until his retirement.

Karen Hastie Williams is a graduate of Bates College and the Catholic University School of Law. She was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Spottswood W. Robinson II of the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. She also served as chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget and as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget. She is currently a retired partner in the law firm of Crowell & Moring LP where she specializes in seeking compensation for victims of terrorism.

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