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.


Songwriter Thomas Mosie Lister Dies

Songwriter Thomas Mosie Lister died last week on Feb. 12.  He was 93. Earl Freudenberg said of Mr. Lister, "We became good friends by telephone.  He told me h e drove a small car, but when Elvis recorded 'His Hand in Mine' and it sold several millions he got him a big car."  He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving during World War II. Rev. Lister ... (click for more)

Tipton Family Association Seeking Members

The Tipton Family Association of America plans to hold its 2015 meeting on the 10th of October in the Chattanooga area.  The meeting is a one day event open to all Tiptons, Tipton descendants and persons interested in Tipton family history and genealogy.  Meeting registration begins at 8:30am with the programs beginning at 9am.  The meeting usually concludes in mid-afternoon ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

88-Year-Old Woman In Bradley County Severely Burned After Going Back In Burning House For Pets

Two people were injured in a house fire in Bradley County on Friday.   Shortly before noon, Bradley County EMS responded to a reported house fire on Hancock Road.   Two ambulances and a shift commander responded. Initial reports were that there were two people injured. When EMS crews arrived, Bradley County firefighters were performing resuscitative ... (click for more)

We Ought To Pay Our Own Way

The government is too big. It has never been bigger - by any measure. It spends more money than any other single actor in our society. From Blue Rhinos to providing telecommunications services, our government knows no bounds. We’ve gone from a free enterprise system to a public enterprise system.  I'm not an artist. I'm not terribly tech savvy. The part of government that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Secret Train Ride

It was during Christmas of 2003 when Bennett Levin and his wife found themselves talking and worrying about the wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda, Md., and at the nearby Bethesda Naval Hospital. Their wish was that they could do something meaningful, something really grand, for the soldiers who had lost limbs, their eyesight, and far worse. As ... (click for more)