Maxine Smith given honorary doctorate by University of Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - When Maxine Smith, once a warrior for civil rights, tried to enroll in a Memphis college, she was turned away.

Saturday, Smith received an honorary doctorate from the University of Memphis.

In 1957, when the university was still Memphis State University, Smith was unable to enroll because of her race.  She now holds the highest degree the university has to offer.

"Of particular significance to me is that it is coming from the University of Memphis," Smith said, "because of my previous experience, and I think it's a clear indication that society has moved.  That Memphis has moved."

Smith said that while she did not earn her doctorate, she hoped she lived it.

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