I won’t feel so bad in the future when I can’t remember one of my eighteen hundred or so former students comes up to me and I can’t remember his or her name (though I always remember the face):
Dr. Thomas Freeman remembers that moment more than four decades ago in Atlanta when he pointed out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to his Texas Southern University, or TSU, debate team students:
Flanked by bodyguards, as he often was during the civil rights movement, King was dining at the same restaurant as Freeman and his wide-eyed young charges. But when King caught sight of Freeman, he surprised the Houston contingent by coming to the table, offering Freeman a handshake and showering praise on a religion course he had taught in 1947 as a Morehouse College visiting professor.
“If not for that encounter, I might never have realized Martin was in my class in 1947,” Freeman says with a chuckle. “Imagine how taken aback I was.”
A TSU professor of philosophy since 1949 and an educator for 66 years, Freeman has taught and influenced generation after generation of college students.