Men Who Broke Race Barrier Return To Vanderbilt

Posted at 5:40 PM, Oct 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-02 18:40:07-04

Two men who helped integrate college basketball came back to Vanderbilt University this week to talk about race.

Perry Wallace and Godfrey Dillard shared provocative views on the pace of change, took up matters they rarely dared to address as students, and described racism they encountered on their journey - indignities they once endured in silence.

They returned as part of a candid conversation unfolding this year on the Southern campus, the latest milestone in Vanderbilt's long, sometimes painful journey to become more diverse.

Today, as campuses nationwide see a resurgence of activism and try to come to terms with institutional racism, Vanderbilt isn't a hotbed of protest. But it has more black faculty members and students, who say they're sometimes the only faces of color in class but have more people with whom to discuss their experiences.