TN judge credited with desegregating Nashville schools dies
The 71-year-old held several roles over the years, from serving on the court of appeals to being a chancellor in Davidson County.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Many across Middle Tennessee are mourning the death of a former judge who was instrumental in the desegregation of Nashville schools.
Judge Richard Dinkins died this week, according to Tennessee State Courts.
The 71-year-old held several roles over the years, from serving on the court of appeals to being a chancellor in Davidson County. Before taking on those responsibilities, he spent over 20 years working with prominent civil rights state senator Avon Williams, Jr.
At one point, Dinkins began practicing law and took on desegregation cases involving Nashville schools.
A few years ago, Dinkins was inducted into the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Hall of Fame after decades of fighting for equality in education.
“There’s a handful Nashvillians that you can look to and say, ‘Wow, the city is a remarkably better place to live and be a part of because this person was alive,’” Katie Cour said. “Judge Dinkins is one of those people,”
Not only did the former judge leave his mark in the classroom, but he also inspired those who worked alongside him, like Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell.
“He advised me and so many others on matters of rights,” O’Connell tweeted. “Judge Dinkins left Nashville a better place than he found it, and for that he has my eternal gratitude.”
Throughout his career, Dinkins made an effort to reach the younger generation.
Karen Johnson was among those inspired by the former judge and had him swear her in once she joined the school board. His support continued after she became the first black woman to lead the Nashville Davidson County Register of Deeds.
“We’re a number of firsts that came behind him, and so he paved the way for us,” Johnson said. “It’s a good feeling knowing that his work will continue to be carried on.”
The funeral service for Dinkins will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21 at First Baptist Church Capitol Hill. There will be visitation, which is expected to start at 10 a.m., followed by service, which will start at 11 a.m.
Copyright 2023 WSMV. All rights reserved.