George Barrett ’57 and Waverly Crenshaw ’81 honored by Tennessee Human Rights Commission

Barrett and Crenshaw were among 10 Nashvillians honored for advocacy of human rights.

George Barrett ’57, a founding partner of Barrett Johnston, and Waverly Crenshaw ’81 (BA’78), a partner with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, were among 10 Nashville civil rights advocates honored by the Tennessee Human Rights Commission on February 28.

Barrett was honored for his ongoing role as an advocate for civil rights. Barrett began his career during the late 1950s and early 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its height in Nashville. He built a busy law practice representing unions and many civil rights, discrimination and class-action plaintiffs. He was the original counsel in Geier, v. Ellington, the first case to challenge the public higher education system in a state, which became a model for desegregation in public education. During his first decade in practice, Barrett served on the Governor’s Commission on Human Relations (1964-66), as president of the Tennessee Council on Human Relations (1960-61), and as secretary of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1960-66). He is currently representing plaintiffs in a case appealing the constitutionality of Tennessee’s voter ID law.

Crenshaw was honored for making human rights education a priority throughout his legal career. He was cited for his dedication to diversity and non-discrimination education, which he demonstrated by supporting the Tennessee Human Right Commission’s Employment Law Seminar for more than 10 years and by serving on the board of the Middle Tennessee Workforce Development Center, on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Equal and Fair Employment Opportunity. Crenshaw has also served as legal counsel for 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee and on the Nashville Bar Association’s Pro Bono Board.