MTSU’s 1st black students revisit integration days...

MTSU’s 1st black students revisit integration days

Some of MTSU’s first black students will discuss their groundbreaking experiences at The Pioneer Summit, an MTSU Black History Month event, at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Among the pioneers scheduled to attend:

  • Leonora Washington, a transfer student from Fisk University who was part of the first wave of black MTSU students and who has taught in the Rutherford County School System for 30 years;
  • Michael McDonald, the first black president of the University’s Student Government Association, who later became Nashville’s youngest election commissioner;
  • Jimmy Powell, a star basketball player for MTSU in the early 1970s and a charter member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity;
  • Mary “Beanie” Secrest, the first black member of the Lady Raider basketball team as well as an MTSU volleyball player who now is the manager of Call Center/QA Training in the Office of Information Technology at Emory University in Atlanta;
  • Dr. Phyllis Hickerson-Washington, a charter member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and later MTSU director of minority affairs who now serves as secondary-school coordinator for the Rutherford County School System;
  • Dean Hayes, the track and field coach who recruited MTSU’s first black scholarship student and was a key contributor to the University’s integration; and
  • Tommy Haynes, an All-American in the triple jump and long jump at MTSU and a charter member of Kappa Alpha Psi, the first black fraternity on campus.

This event, which is sponsored by the MTSU Black History Month Committee and the Centennial Celebration Committee, is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Vincent Windrow, director of MTSU’s Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center, at 615-898-2238.

— Gina K. Logue (