Brenda Lewis Peel has passed away. She was 80 years old.
The East Knoxville native paved the way for generations of Black students in the state, walking across the graduation stage at the University of Tennessee only three years after the school allowed admission to Black undergraduate students.
She became the first Black undergraduate student to graduate from the university, breaking barriers at the height of the civil rights movement in the American South.
In November 2021, the university dedicated the central galleria of Hodges Library in honor of Peel.
Read more about the life and accomplishments of Peel here.