Flashback TSU honors expelled Freedom Riders with degrees

By Travis Loller, Associated Press Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ā€” Forty-seven years ago, 14 black students from Tennessee State University were beaten and arrested during the Freedom Rides that helped integrate the South.

For their courage, they were expelled from school, and informed of that decision by letter while still jailed in Mississippi.

On Thursday, the historically black university made amends by presenting the former students with honorary degrees, three of them posthumously.

“It’s been such an honor. Higher than any expectation I had,” said Sandra Mitchell, 60, who accepted the Doctor of Human Letters degree on behalf of her late husband, William B. Mitchell Jr.

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