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University of Tennessee leaders unveil statues honoring Volunteer racial progress trailblazers

The four athletes led the way in racial equality in the Southeastern Conference.
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 1:38 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 4:44 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Leaders at the University of Tennessee unveiled four bronze statues honoring Volunteer trailblazers in racial progress Thursday morning. The statues honor Lester McClain, Jackie Walker, Condredge Holloway and Tee Martin.

The four athletes led the way in racial equality in the Southeastern Conference gridiron.

McClain became the football program’s first Black player and made history as the first Black SEC player to score a touchdown during UT’s win against Georgia Tech in 1968.

Walker made history as the SEC’s first Black All-American football player before passing away in 2002. He led Tennessee’s defense as a junior linebacker.

Holloway was the first Black person to be a starting quarterback on an SEC team when he opened against Georgia Tech in 1972.

Martin earned a place in history by becoming the first Black quarterback to lead an SEC team to a National Championship in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.

The statues got a dedication ceremony where UT leadership spoke on the players’ accomplishments.

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