This video, produced by TAMI, is composed of excerpts from an informal interview with Dr. Freeman voiced over a home movie from his film collection. As scenes play of Dr. Freeman on the Rice campus for his first day of teaching, Freeman recounts how he came to teach at Rice and how he felt when he became one of the first African-American professors at the school. The interview was conducted by TAMI's Madeline Fendley on September 10, 2012 at Dr. Freeman's office at TSU. Also heard in the interview is filmmaker Marc Newsome.
Dr. Thomas F. Freeman was born in 1919 in Richmond, Virginia, where he also spent his childhood and attended college. Freeman left Virginia temporarily to serve a nine month contract at Houston's Texas Southern University in 1949. Many decades later, Dr. Freeman is still a professor and debate coach at TSU, on campus six days a week, and has helped multiple generations of young Texan African-American students find their voice and rise to new heights of scholarly achievement. A pillar of the Houston community, Dr. Freeman also has ministered at Mt. Horem Baptist Church for more than 65 years, still delivering sermons every Sunday; taught Religious Studies at Rice University for 20 years; helped found Houston's Model Cities program; founded and served as Dean of TSU's Weekend College; was the Founding Dean of TSU's Honors College; and over the course of his teaching career, taught and influenced many prominent African-Americans leaders, including Otis King, Barbara Jordan, and Martin Luther King, Jr.