KAT Permanent Exhibit Displays History of City's Urban Renewal

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KAT Permanent Exhibit Displays History of City's Urban Renewal

In December 2020, Knoxville City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for making amends for decades of urban renewal which displaced and harmed the City’s Black communities.

As described by the Knoxville News-Sentinel, “the city, largely through eminent domain, systematically tore down entire blocks of homes, churches and businesses in Black neighborhoods in the 1950s through 1970s for projects like the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and construction of new routes like James White Parkway and Interstate 40, among others.”

According to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, urban renewal displaced more than 2,500 families, more than 70% of whom were Black.

Knoxville Station Transit Center rests on land that experienced urban renewal.

In the Center's lobby, Knoxville Area Transit has a permanent exhibit on display that explores what the eastern end of downtown used to look like, prior to the ill-conceived urban renewal practices from the 1950s through the 1970s. KAT's display also features artifacts unearthed during the transit center construction.

1886 Map of Knoxville Station location

Display images are below. Click on the image to view a larger file in PDF format.

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