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.


Five Tennessee Sites Added to the National Register of Historic Places

The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced five Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The ... (click for more)

Information on African-American Race Track of the 1940's

A reader asked if anyone had information on an African-American race track in the 1940's in Chattanooga.  http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/7/13/280255/Reader-Seeks-Information-on.aspx. Local racing historian Robert F. Richey responded with the following information.  If you would like to correspond with Mr. Richey about this or any other local racing topic, you may ... (click for more)

Boy, 16, To Face Murder Charges In Criminal Court On Triple Lookout Valley Slayings

A Lookout Valley youth who was 15 at the time of his alleged involvement in a massacre in the valley will stand trial as an adult. Jacob Allison, who is now 16, was taken by the sheriff's office to the Hamilton County Jail after a transfer hearing in Juvenile Court on Friday morning. Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw said under state law he has jurisdiction over rehabilitation ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House? - And Response

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)