TSU athletes helped integrate Nashville

Photo from TSUtigers.com

Written by
Dwight Lewis

Tennessean.com

They’re calling it an educational tour, but you might add that it’s a history lesson, as well. And it’s one in which you will have a chance to listen and touch some of the people who helped bring about a change in Nashville and American society.

“Education is important in terms of people understanding where they have come from and the possibilities for a brighter future,” Dick Barnett, who is spearheading this particular tour that deals with race, economics and social behavior, told me recently.

Barnett, now in his 70s, is Tennessee State University’s all-time leading basketball scorer and played on the school’s teams that won a record three NAIA championships from 1957 to 1959. He also played for 15 years in the NBA — one of those with the 1971 world champion New York Knicks.

With this being homecoming week at TSU — and a celebration of the school being open for 100 years — Barnett and a few teammates are coming back to Nashville to let the public know through newspaper articles, photographs and testimonies not only the greatness of their teams but what it was like to help integrate this city.

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