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Hundreds gather for memorial service for respected TSU debate coach Dr. Thomas Freeman who died at 100

Dr. Thomas Freeman talks about his legacy as a debate professor on June 27, 2019, on his 100th birthday.
Dr. Thomas Freeman talks about his legacy as a debate professor on June 27, 2019, on his 100th birthday. (KPRC2)

HOUSTON – Texas Southern University and the Houston community gathered Tuesday to pay tribute and say their goodbyes to the educational icon, Dr. Thomas F. Freeman, who died on June 6. He was 100.

Hundreds gathered for the public visitation and memorial service held Tuesday morning at the Health and Physical Education Arena on the campus of TSU.

In Freeman’s honor, TSU created the Dr. Thomas F. Freeman Memorial Fund with the purpose of advancing the TSU Debate Team program. You can donate here.

Read more about Freeman’s life here

“Dr. Freeman was born in Richmond, VA. His long-time wife, Clarice Estell, will turn 100 later this year. Together, they raised three children – Thomas Franklin Jr., Carter Evan, and Dr. Carlotta Vanessa. They have several grandchildren and two great grandchildren,” TSU wrote on its website.

Freeman started his career at TSU in 1949, founding the school’s legendary debate team and its weekend college program.

He instructed several iconic figures in his life, including Rep. Barbara Jordan, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Denzel Washington for his 2007 movie, The Great Debaters.

Condolences for Freeman poured in following news of his demise over the weekend.


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