Thomas L. Tedford was born on October 8, 1930 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He earned a BA in English from Ouachita College in 1951 and a MA in speech in 1953 and a PhD in general speech in 1958 from Louisiana State University. From 1955-1957 he served as an assistant professor of debate at Georgetown University. From 1957-1958 he served as director of speech training at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1958-’60 he served as chairman of the Department of Speech at Ouachita College. From 1960-1963 he served as associate professor of debate at Delta State College. And from 1963-1967 he served as associate professor and chairman of the Department of Speech at Appalachian State Teachers College.
In 1967 Tedford was appointed as associate professor in the Department of Drama and Speech at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 1972 he was named a professor in the department. He was active in the Speech Communication Association, and was named the chairman of the association’s Commission on Freedom of Speech in 1973. Tedford was active in free speech and censorship debates. He is the author of numerous texts, including Freedom of Speech in the United States. He retired from UNCG in June 1995 after twenty-eight years of employment. He was married to Ann Tedford and had two children, David and Tina Sue.