Perry E. Wallace, 1st African-American to Play Varsity in Southeastern Conference, Honored by Vanderbilt University

Perry E. Wallace (photo via
Perry E. Wallace (photo via

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, is establishing the Perry E. Wallace Scholarship to honor the first African American to play a varsity sport in the Southeastern Conference. The scholarship will be awarded to a student in the School of Engineering, where Wallace earned his bachelor’s degree in 1970. Wallace is now a professor in the College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C.

StrongInsideAfter graduating from Vanderbilt, Wallace went on to earn a law degree at Columbia University. He then worked for the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. Before joining the faculty at American University in 1993, Professor Wallace taught at Howard University and the University of Baltimore.

The saga of Wallace’s integration of varsity athletics in the Southeastern Conference is told in the biography Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South (Vanderbilt University Press, 2014)

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