Julian Blackshear, Jr. Scholarship Gala

Each year the College of Law honors alumnus Julian Blackshear, Jr. with this signature event.

When Blackshear completed his law degree in 1970, he became one of the first African American graduates of the College of Law. By honoring this distinguished alumnus, the college also celebrates its strong and enduring commitment to diversity and inclusion.


Julian Blackshear, Jr.completed his bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College, where he was a student of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and enrolled in law school in 1963. His legal education was preempted from 1965 until 1969 by his service in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. Upon returning to Knoxville in 1969, he continued his education at UT and completed his third year of law school. Following graduation, he was a civil rights attorney for five years (under the auspices of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund) as an associate of the Law Firm of Avon Williams. From there, he had a long and successful career as a founder and managing partner of a 15-person law firm and outside general counsel of Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority, Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. After retiring, he continued to share his knowledge and wisdom as an adjunct professor of political science at Tennessee State University. He maintains strong ties with the civic organizations today, including the Napier-Looby Bar Association as a Living Legend. In addition to these accolades, Blackshear is an accomplished trumpeter and played in various jazz and R&B bands. 

As a member of the African American and legal communities, Blackshear’s ambition in life has been to help those around him bring their own goals to fruition. 



Dr. Harold A. Middlebrook, Sr. received his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in 1963. He was ordained as a minister in 1966 and attended LeMoyne-Owen College and Memphis Theological Seminary in the 1970s.

His work as a civil rights activist began while at Morehouse where he first met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middlebrook participated in several Atlanta sit ins where he was jailed with King, resulting in a life-long relationship with King and his family. Middlebrook served as youth minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where King and his father were pastors.

Middlebrook would go on to direct the Selma, Alabama boycotts and organize voter registration campaigns. He also participated in the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike alongside King. Middlebrook witnessed his friend and mentor’s tragic death, when King was killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Middlebrook and others were in Memphis to meet with King and plan the next mass march in support of the strike.

Middlebrook moved to Knoxville in 1977 to pastor at Mount Calvary Baptist Church. In 1980, he founded the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, which he led until his retirement in 2013. In addition to ministering to his congregants, he has continued his life of service in East Tennessee. Two notable examples include the founding in 1986 of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Commission of Greater Knoxville, which he chaired until 2000, and his service as a director of the Knoxville Area Urban League.



As Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at The Home Depot, Teresa Wynn Roseborough is responsible for the company’s legal functions, government relations and external communications. She also serves as a liaison between the board of directors and the company and is responsible for all corporate governance matters.

Prior to her role at The Home Depot, Roseborough practiced law as a partner at the Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan firm (now Eversheds Sutherland). Her professional journey also includes an impressive record of government service. She served as deputy assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice and worked with the U.S. Department of Defense in the Federal Republic of Germany. She also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and Judge James Dickson Phillips of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Roseborough earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in education from Boston University, and a juris doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Law Review.



Julian Blackshear, Jr. Outstanding Student Award


R.B.J. Campbelle, Jr. Leadership Award


Frank Ennix Award for Excellence

A look back at the 2024 Julian Blackshear, Jr. Scholarship Gala

View the gallery




Brock Shipe Klenk PLC


Paine, Bickers, Elder, King & Williams, LLP
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Professor Michelle Kwon
Knoxville Area Urban League
Elaine Eberhart & Rev. Linda Miner
Lewis Thomason, PC
Reaves Law Firm, PLLC
University of Tennessee College of Law Legal Clinic
Richard Rose
Col. and Mrs. Wayne E. Dillingham
Lamont Belk and Brooklyn Sawyers Belk
University of Tennessee Division of Access and Engagement
City of Knoxville
Polsinelli PC
Bass Berry & Sims PLC
Beth Ford & Mike Driskill
Prof. Birana Rosenbaum, in Honor of Robert E. Williams
Husch Blackwell LLP
Lonnie T. Brown, Jr. and Kim Brown
Donald & Deborah Bradley/PlanNet Marketing Inc.
Maynard Nexsen PC

Each year we gather for this signature event to honor our distinguished alumnus, Julian Blackshear, Jr., one of our first African American graduates, and in doing so we also celebrate the College of Law’s strong and enduring commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

The event will take place at:

Knoxville Convention Center
701 Henley Street | Knoxville, Tennessee

Enjoy cocktails at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and the ceremony at 6 p.m

Besides being an important commemoration of Julian Blackshear’s legacy and that of other trailblazing African American graduates, the gala also serves as a vehicle for raising critical scholarship dollars for the Julian Blackshear Scholarship Fund, which enables us to recruit and attract an increasingly talented and diverse student body.

We hope you will join the University of Tennessee College of Law and UT Law’s Black Law Students Association for this year’s gala featuring special guests

Home Depot Executive Vice President,
General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

Honoring RBJ Campbelle, Jr. Award recipient
Renowned Civil Rights Leader