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Memorial for Dr. Robert J. Booker
The Middlebrook Legacy: We Celebrate Black History

Legacy Award honoree, civil rights activist, friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ordained minister, community leader and loving father—all titles rightfully attributed to the Reverend Harold Middlebrook. While Middlebrook has called Knoxville home since 1977, he was actually born in Memphis in 1942, he attended Morehouse College and Lemoyne-Owen College, and was ordained a minister in 1966. More than 10 years after his ordination, he moved to Knoxville to pastor at Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
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BLK History Month poem by Nikki Giovanni

If Black History Month is not

Nikki Giovanniviable then wind does not

carry the seeds and drop them

on fertile ground

rain does not

dampen the land

and encourage the seeds

to root

sun does not

warm the earth

and kiss the seedlings

and tell them plain:

You’re as Good as Anybody Else

You’ve Got a Place Here, Too

From Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, 2002

Beck Cultural Exchange Center to Hold Special Events for Eighth of August 2022

What is the Eighth of August? On August 8, 1863, Tennessee Military Governor Andrew Johnson freed enslaved people. Those formerly enslaved celebrated freedom every year on August 8. The Eighth of August is the day we celebrate freedom.
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Remembering Knoxville's Pioneering Black Baseball Players

Rev. Renee Kesler shares information about the Negro League in baseball and Knoxville's team called the Knoxville Giants. The Giants ballplayers of the 1920s and '30s were memorable. With a new multi-use stadium coming to "The Bottom," history lovers say it's a great opportunity to share their stories and the experiences of other Knoxville African-Americans.
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Knoxville History Project Art Wraps on Magnolia Avenue Celebrate Black Artists

As of a year ago, the four shiny metal utility boxes along Magnolia Avenue could best be described as "utilitarian." They were modern infrastructure upgrades, for sure, but no one probably would judge them to be aesthetically attractive. The large boxes were being used narrowly to house traffic-signal wiring and electronics - not as a means of merging art and interpretive local history of East Knoxville. The Knoxville History Project saw the potential for more.
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Box wrap art by Charles Griffin

Street Named for Elston Turner, Sr.

Friends, family and fans welcomed and celebrated Knoxville native, legendary Austin-East Roadrunner, NBA player and beloved coach Elston Turner at a joyful reception on Monday, February 21, 2022. A street in the new Austin Homes neighborhood will be named for him and officially revealed in May.
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Beck Cultural Exchange Center
Learn about the significance of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center from Rev. Renee Kesler.

History of Knoxville Urban Renewal with the Willow St. Project (The Bottom)

Video from the Beck Cultural Center describing Urban Renewal in Knoxville. The video focuses on the Willow Street Project (The Bottom) and the site of the newly proposed stadium for the Smokies baseball team.

 Click an image below to learn more
about Black History in Knoxville
Mayor, Vice Mayor, City Council and Politics
Daniel T Brown Gwen McKenzie Mark Brown Amelia Parker Politics in the Mid 1800s
Fire, Police and KAT Departments
Fire Department Luther Bradley Police Department Officer Henderson James Mason KATGeraldetta Dozier

2022 Black History Month Display at City County Building

The City celebrated  Black History Month on the 6th floor of the City County Building with a poster display of inspiring, influential, progressive and sometimes transgressive Black Americans. Black history is American history.

(Click each image below for a larger PDF file.)
Black History Month Display Black History Month Display Black History Month Display Black History Month Display Black History Month Display Black History Month Display
Noted Knoxvillians and Knoxville Connections
Rev. Harold Middlebrook Robert Booker Charles Cansler Beauford Delaney Nikki Giovanni Alex Haley Paul Hogue Cal Johnson W James Taylor Elston Turner
Beck Cultural Center African American Historical Series Knoxville History Project Visit Knoxville MLK Commission Odd Fellows Cemetery Green Book in Knoxville Civil Rights Act of 1964 Commemoration Voting Rights Act of 1965 Commemoration