Home > News & Advice > News Obituaries > Dr. Thomas Freeman (1919–2020), legendary debate coach
Dr. Thomas Freeman

Dr. Thomas Freeman (1919–2020), legendary debate coach

by Kirk Fox

Dr. Thomas Freeman was a renowned debate coach at Texas Southern University who taught Martin Luther King Jr. during a 70-year career.  

  • Died: Saturday, June 6, 2020. (Who else died on June 6?) 
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 100. 
  • We invite you to share condolences for Dr. Thomas Freeman in our Guest Book.  

Influential Debate Coach 

Dr. Freeman started teaching debate at Texas Southern University in 1949 and was still teaching at the age of 100. During his long-esteemed career, he taught Martin Luther King Jr., and representatives Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland. Denzel Washington chose Dr. Freeman to work with the actors in the 2007 film “The Great Debaters,” a true story of a black debate team in the 1930s that defeats an all-white team.  

Dr. Freeman on Racism 

“Unless something is done to stem the tide, we’re going to be suffering for a long time.” – interview with ABC News 


What they said about him

Full Obituary: ABC News

More Stories