Black in Appalachia works to highlight the history and contributions of African-Americans in the development of the Mountain South and its culture. We do that through research, local narratives, public engagement and exhibition. Black in Appalachia is a community service for Appalachian residents and families with roots in the region.
Many people may not know that President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to enslaved people in the state of Tennessee. Despite this, then-Military Governor, Andrew Johnson emancipated his own slaves on the 8th of August, 1863. This event set off a century and a half long tradition of freedom celebrations that continues today in East Tennessee.
The 8th of August
Tennessee's Celebration of Emancipation
Knoxville's Red Summer
The Riot of 1919
On the 100th anniversary, this film chronicles the unrest that occurred in Knoxville following the murder of Bertie Lindsey and the attempted lynching of the accused, Maurice Mays.
Thanks to a partnership with the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, Knoxville's Red Summer includes news reel footage of the city, post-riot, not seen by the public since 1919.
The Eastern Kentucky Social Club
The Eastern Kentucky Social Club was founded in 1969 by Appalachian families who migrated out of the coalfields to mostly northern cities. This organization, with chapters all over the country, was established to provide continued connection and reunion for families, friends, churches and schools within the Appalachian diaspora.
East Tennessee PBS in currently in production of a documentary of the Eastern Kentucky Social Club as it approaches it's 50th anniversary.