29 Days of Texas Black History: Day 1- Who is Dr. Thomas Freeman?

Kicking off 29 Days of Texas Black History, we explore Dr. Thomas Freeman, a trailblazer who made a lasting impact on education and civil rights. The journey of Freeman unfolded against racial segregation and inequality in Waco, Texas, where he was born on January 29, 1913.

A distinguished philosopher, Christian, and debate coach and lecturer, Freeman's influence reached national heights. Notably, he founded the Texas Southern University debate team in 1949, guiding it to national prominence for over six decades. His notable students were Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and actor Denzel Washington.

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Freeman's commitment to civil rights emerged early in his career. Returning to Waco in 1939 after graduating from the University of Southern California with a dentistry degree, he opened a practice that became a sanctuary for African Americans denied care elsewhere due to segregation. Recognized for his leadership, Freeman became a pivotal figure in the local NAACP chapter, collaborating with activists like Martin Luther King Jr.

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Beyond dentistry, Freeman ventured into politics, facing racial barriers as he sought public office. Undeterred, he continued advocating for justice and equality until his passing in 1994.

Dr. Thomas Freeman's legacy endures as a symbol of courage and activism in the pursuit of civil rights. As we embark on this month-long journey, we honor his contributions to Texas history and the fight he gave for equality.