Scarritt Bennett Center building renamed for historic trailblazing attendants

Johnson Robinson House at Scarritt Bennett Center
Posted at 2:01 PM, Apr 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-03 15:01:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two trailblazers were honored Saturday at the Scarritt Bennett Center in midtown for helping to integrate the former college 70 years ago.

Delaris Johnson Risher and the late Lelia Robinson Dabbs were the first Black women to attend Scarritt College for Christian Workers.
A building on the property has now been named after the two of them.

Risher and Dabbs both graduated in 1954. They studied at the school while trying to stay under the radar.

Delaris Johnson Risher and Lelia Robinson Dabbs
Delaris Johnson Risher (left) and Lelia Robinson Dabbs (right)

"They entered at a time at which was unimaginable for most. 'Quietly,' as Miss Delaris calls it. They were the best kept secret of Scarritt, for you see when they entered, no one knew they were here," Rev. Sondrea Tolbert said at the ceremony.

The Johnson Robinson House is the first building on the Scarritt Bennett campus named after African American women.

Risher was in attendance for the ceremony.

Delaris Johnson Risher at Scarritt Bennett naming ceremony
Delaris Johnson Risher watches the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly christened Johnson Robinson House at midtown's Scarritt Bennett Center.