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About this collection

The focus of Places, Perspectives: African American Community-building in Tennessee, 1860-1920, will be what Tennessee State Historian Dr. Carroll Van West has identified as the recurring nexus of church, cemetery, school (and sometimes fraternal lodge) in post-Civil War Tennessee African American communities, both in cities and in rural areas. Photographs and documentation of many still extant buildings can be found in the Southern Places digital collection, which functis as a digital archive of 30+ years of fieldwork by MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation.  While a small percentage of these documented churches and schools are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and some of them are included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s documentation of Rosenwald Schools in the southern United States, there are many, especially isolated rural African American churches, for which no other public digital record exists.  Filling out the historical record with additional research and contextual material and examining the locations of these institutional clusters through a variety of lenses, from military geography to transportation networks to economic imperatives, promises to yield promising results.

 

 

 

 
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