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Expelled Tennessee State U, Freedom Riders Denied Honorary Degrees


Tennessee State University’s governing board has voted not to grant honorary degrees to students expelled for participating in Freedom Rides during the 1960s.

The Tennessee Board of Regents denied a waiver Friday that would have granted 13 of the 14 Black students expelled from the university in 1961 degrees. The board voted 7-5 with one member abstained.

The Freedom Rides were organized and often integrated bus journeys designed to challenge segregation in areas of the deep South unwilling to accept a Supreme Court order calling for the integration of interstate travel facilities.

Since the 1990s, at least six Southern schools including Vanderbilt and Fisk universities in Nashville have denounced their decisions to expel students for participating in the rides.

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