For most of its history, the University of Tennessee had an all-white student body. And just like other parts of the South, the university resisted desegregation. But it was a grassroots movement led by black Southerners that finally broke down the barrier. Read more about integration at UT in an article by History Senior Lecturer Bob Hutton.
East Tennessee University becomes a federally funded land-grant school.
Tennessee's state constitution mandates racial separation of publicly funded education.
UT denies admission to six black applicants who are represented by the NAACP.
Gene Gray enrolls at the University of Tennessee as a graduate student.
Theotis Robinson Jr., Charles Edgar Blair, and Willie Mae Gillespie register at UT and attend classes beginning in January.
Brenda Peel becomes the first African American student to receive an undergraduate degree at UT.
Robert Kirk and Sammye Wynn become UT’s first African American faculty members.
Lester McClain becomes UT’s first African American football player.
Jimmy Baxter is elected the first African American president of UT student government.
Wilbert Cherry and Larry Robinson become UT’s first African American basketball players.
The Commission for Blacks is founded to assess the status of black people on campus.
Wade Houston is hired as the first African American head basketball coach.