Tennessee State University Will Honor 14 Students Whom It Expelled in 1961

In 1961, 14 black students were expelled from Tennessee State University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, for participating in the Freedom Rides. A 1960 law enacted in Tennessee required state-operated colleges and universities to take disciplinary action against any student who was arrested in a civil rights demonstration.

Now the university is hoping to award all 14 students honorary degrees. However, to do so would require a special waiver from the Tennessee Board of Regents because current rules limit any particular state university to two honorary degree awards per year.