NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Dr. Bobby Lee Lovett, award-winning author, Emeritus Professor of History and former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Tennessee State University, former member of the R.H. Boyd Board of Directors, and current member of the R.H. Boyd Family Endowment Committee.
Dr. Lovett was born in Memphis, Tennessee where he completed his public-school education at Booker T. Washington High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science at Arkansas AM&N State College (now known as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). He continued to earn his Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in American History at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
A passionate educator, Dr. Lovett began his work teaching history in the Memphis Public School System (1969-1970) and at Eureka College (1970-1973). He joined Tennessee State University in 1973 as a senior professor, where he continued to teach history and African American history for 30 years until his retirement in 2010. He proudly served thousands of students as the Dean of the TSU College of Arts and Sciences for more than 10 of those years. His commitment to inspiring the next generation of leaders through knowledge was one of his many great accomplishments.
Dr. Lovett’s historical expertise led him to author over eight books on American and African American History. His most recent books A Touch of Greatness: A History of Tennessee State University, The African American History of Nashville, 1780-1930: Elites and Dilemmas and How It Came to Be: The Boyd Family’s Contribution to African American Publishing from the 19th to the 21st Century have been nationally recognized by historical institutions and universities across the country. His 2005 book, The Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee: A Narrative History, won the “Tennessee History Book Award” by the Tennessee Library Association and Tennessee Historical Commission. His research and articles have appeared in numerous documentaries, history books, encyclopedias, and scholarly journals.
Dr. Lovett was not only a pillar in the Tennessee historical community. He was also a civically engaged leader in the Nashville community throughout his life. He proudly served on the Board of Directors for many organizations including Citizens Bank, R.H. Boyd Publishing Company, the Tennessee Historical Society, the Nashville Historical Society, the Editorial Board of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, and the Advisory Board for the Tennessee Civil War Heritage Area. Dr. Lovett was a founding member of the Planning Committee for the Nashville Conference on African American History and Culture. He also served two terms on the Editorial Board of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly.
Dr. Lovett was a faithful member to the historic First Baptist Church Capitol Hill for more than 35 years, where he served on the Board of Trustees. He was also a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and a former member of Nashville’s Chi Boulé chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. After his retirement in 2010, he enjoyed gardening, traveling across the country lecturing, and writing history books.
Dr. Lovett held many titles and roles during his accomplished life, but his favorite role was being a father and husband. Dr. Lovett was married for over 38 years to Mrs. Lueatrice Green Lovett, a former educator in Nashville Public Schools. He was the proud father of five children: Todd, Bridget, Kenyatta, Catherine, and Leigh. His children blessed him with five beautiful grandchildren: Omari, William, Kiersten, Kyle, and Kennedy. He is also survived by his younger brother, Julian Lovett, his aunts, Annie Hill and Josephine Ivory, his uncle, George Cotton, and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The homegoing service for Dr. Bobby L. Lovett will be held at First Baptist Church Capitol Hill on Friday, December 30, 2022, at 12:00 pm CT. There will be visitation at the same location beginning at 11:00 am CT. The family requests guests to wear black or dark attire. Masks are required for the visitation and homegoing service.