TSLA Commemorates Black History Month with Updated Online Exhibit

Thursday, February 14, 2013
In celebration of Black History Month, the Tennessee State Library and Archives is introducing a greatly expanded version of one of its most popular online exhibits: “This Honorable Body: African American Legislators in 19th Century Tennessee.” Available at http://tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/blackhistory/index.htm, the revised exhibit offers many intriguing new features.

The original site was created in 2006 at the request of the Tennessee Legislative Black Caucus. Dedicated to the 14 African-Americans elected to the Tennessee General Assembly between 1873 and 1887, it provided a considerable body of historical material that had never before been assembled in one place.

Since that time, however, information gleaned from descendants, historical newspapers, and other sources has produced even greater insight into the lives and works of those early black legislators. The updated exhibit, which is part of the Secretary of State’s web site, will feature more detailed biographies of each of the legislators, most of whom were born as slaves, and the texts of the bills they sponsored while serving in the General Assembly.

The exhibit also includes transcriptions of other documents relevant to the study of black history, from an early draft of the Declaration of Independence to the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as timelines of significant events in African-American history and civil rights, with special emphasis on Tennessee.

A section dedicated to the Jim Crow era examines voting rights, miscegenation laws, “grandfather clauses,” and Tennessee’s first Jim Crow law. Visitors to the site can examine some of the actual registration forms and tests used to discourage African-American voters during the period.

A new section for educators offers quizzes, scavenger hunts, and PowerPoint programs to help introduce students to important but little-known aspects of post-Reconstruction history.

The site includes dozens of new photographs as well as an article about the 2010 dedication of a statue honoring Sampson Keeble, Tennessee’s first black state representative, and his fellow legislators. The Keeble bust, which now stands near the House Chamber in the Tennessee Capitol, has been featured in national television programs, web sites, and publications.



Chester Martin: When The Hercules Came To Tennessee

PLEASE BE ADVISED that I was putting the finishing touches on this story when the recent fatal C-130 accident occurred at Savannah, Ga. That tragic event, however, does not in any way diminish my high opinion of the Hercules, as its reputation has long been established - and is likely to be sustained long into the future. My story, therefore, appears here "as written". Yes, I ... (click for more)

Browns Were Pioneers Of Waldens Ridge, Red Bank Sections

John Brown Sr. was "one of the original 765 white settlers of Hamilton County,'' acquiring large tracts on Walden's Ridge and building his homeplace near Soddy. Another pioneer was James Berry Brown, who occupied a beautiful hilly section north of the present Red Bank. Two of Berry Brown's descendants - G. Russell Brown and J.B. Brown - were educational standouts. George Willis ... (click for more)

City Stormwater Board Approves Water Quality And Development Fee Increases

The city Stormwater Regulations Board on Monday recommended that the city approve water quality and land development increases sought by the Berke administration, though board members said there had not been enough time for the board and the public to study the fee hikes. Bill Payne, city engineer, said the water quality fee increase would amount to an average $11 per year per ... (click for more)

Blakemore Gets 23-Year Prison Term For Selling Heroin That Caused Death Of Red Bank Man

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday sentenced Darius Jermaine Blakemore to 23 years in federal prison for selling heroin to a Red Bank man who overdosed and died.   Blakemore, 29, had gone to trial on the case, but it was announced in the middle of the trial that both sides had agreed to the 23-year term. Blakemore had faced 30 years to life.   Blakemore ... (click for more)

Liberal Conspiracy Afoot

According to Roy Exum’s Sunday column, there are now upwards of six or seven Democrats in Hamilton County, and all of them have secretly maneuvered their way onto the boards of a couple of dozen local organizations. Unlike Republicans, some of them serve on multiple boards and some of them serve with one another on the same boards. This is outrageous. We all know that boards and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Is This Civil War II?

Jack Minzey, by all accounts, was a beloved professor at Eastern Michigan and, as the head of the university’s School of Education, wrote many books and papers. Some were on the Civil War – he was an avid student of our nation’s worst moment – and his beliefs how to better public education will be quoted for years. Dr. Minzey died at age 89 last month and just last week, the ... (click for more)