The History of Tennessee State University

LovettBookBobby L. Lovett who served on the faculty of the history department at Tennessee State University in Nashville from 1973 to 2011, has written a masterful account of the university’s history. Published by Mercer University Press, Dr. Lovett’s A Touch of Greatness: A History of Tennessee State University takes the reader from its founding as the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State Normal School in 1909 to the present day.

The school opened in 1912 with 250 students and three buildings. It granted its first college-level degrees in 1924. The graduate school was founded in 1942.

One of the more interesting chapter involves student involvement in the civil rights movement in Nashville and throughout the South. Tennessee State students engaged in lunchcounter sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, and many on-campus protests.

Professor Lovett earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arkansas. He has written a very valuable contribution to the history of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities.


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