Charleston, SC (WCSC) – Seventy years later, a former Lokentri woman merges with a college in Tennessee, where her former school honors her. In the 1950s, Delaris Johnson and another woman were the first black students to attend the Script College for Christian Workers in Nashville.
Delaris Johnson, 91, is best known as the beloved widow of a beloved high school teacher and the widow of longtime Burke High School coach Modi Risher.
But before coming to Charleston, this powerful, young woman was making her own legendary moves.
“I went to Scarrit in 1952. I graduated in 1954,” said Johnson Risher.
Delaris Johnson of Orangeburg and Lelia Robinson, another black woman from Texas, made history. They became students at the then Scarrit College, a Methodist school in Nashville. Johnson said they were the first black students to be integrated into a college in the state of Tennessee.
“I knew when I had to find my place, I lived a happy life when I didn’t need to,” Johnson Risher said.
Separation was the law of the land in the 1950s, but the Methodist Church sought to challenge racist rule. The Methodist Church offered full scholarships to Johnson and Robinson to coordinate Scarrit.
“They accepted me, some did not, but they made no difference. We ate together and I was on the student council.
The former college is now the Skrit Bennett Center, a religious resort located in Midtown Music Roy, Nashville. The center, which opens in April, will name a house in honor of the women.
The house in Scarrett, named after two women, is a very special place. Once on campus, it is home to some of the finest people in the world.
The former college is humbled to honor Johnson Risher.
“I am just happy to be free. I ask my kids, wake me up, is this real?
Johnson’s Robinson House will be dedicated tomorrow afternoon in Nashville. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be led by Delaris Johnson Risher. Lelia Robinson Dubs is no longer alive, but family members will attend.
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