Places, Perspectives

African American Community-building in Tennessee, 1860-1920

"Upon freedom, African Americans of the 1860s quickly sought to create new physical spaces that belonged to them and reflected their values. Besides homes for their families, they rushed to create three institutions in particular: churches, cemeteries, and schools. African Americans typically clustered these institutions close together, with the church invariably as the focal point (indeed, it often doubled as the school building) surrounded by their homes and businesses." - Tennessee State Historian Dr. Carroll Van West, Director, Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University

Explore this history in interactive story maps. Click on the highlighted counties in the map below or here (Fayette / Hardeman, Maury, and Greene). The Places, Perspectives Digital Collection includes additional primary sources in support of this project.

Places, Perspectives: African American Community-building in Tennessee, 1860-1920 is a collaborative partnership initiative funded through a matching grant from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area to Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Geosciences and James E. Walker Library in partnership with the Center for Historic Preservation.