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.”

Use the map below or the following links to begin exploring the history of community-building in representative counties: Fayette, Hardeman, Maury, and Greene. The Places, Perspectives Digital Collection includes additional primary sources in support of this project.

Shelby Tipton Lauderdale Haywood Fayette Hardeman McNairy Chester Madison Crockett Gibson Dyer Lake Obion Weakley Carroll Henderson Decatur Blount Monroe Polk Sevier Cocke Greene Washington Unicoi Carter Johnson Sullivan Hawkins Hancock Hamblen Jefferson Knox Claiborne Grainger Union Campbell Scott Fentress Morgan Anderson Loudon McMinn Bradley Hamilton Roane Rhea Meigs Pickett Clay Overton Cumberland Bledsoe Putnam White Jackson Van Buren Sequatchie Marion Grundy Warren Dekalb Macon Smith Franklin Coffee Cannon Moore Bedford Rutherford Wilson Trousdale Sumner Davidson Robertson Cheatham Williamson Maury Marshall Giles Lincoln Lawrence Lewis Hickman Dickson Montgomery Stewart Henry Hardin Wayne Houston Humphreys Benton Perry

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.