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From the Grassroots Roundtable: Preserving Places and Stories in the East Tennessee Black Community

24 July 2024

Please join our esteemed panelists as they consider their contributions to the preservation of spaces and stories in their home communities, whether through ensuring the Black community’s history and family connections are shared and/or buildings themselves are saved and reused. They will also share their dreams of next steps and share insights on conducting community projects.

About the Speakers:

William Isom, Director, Black in Appalachia

William Isom II is an East Tennessee native & the director of Black in Appalachia. There, he coordinates research, community database development, documentary film and photography production, oral history collection and educational events in conjunction with local residents. William has worked in various media, cultural and social justice capacities throughout his 25 year career and is the proud father of two boys, Devin and Isa.

Adam Dickson, Community Leader and Supervisor, Langston Center in Johnson City

Adam Dickson is a community advocate and servant-leader. His professional experiences include local government, higher education, and the nonprofit sector. Adam currently works for the City of Johnson City, TN as Supervisor of the Langston Centre, a multicultural facility promoting community engagement through the arts, education, and leadership. He is Vice-Mayor on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for the Town of Jonesborough, and he is an Adjunct Instructor of Political Science at East TN State University.  Adam holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Carson-Newman University, and he received a Master of Public Administration degree from East TN State University.

Rita Lorraine Hubbard, Award Winning Educator and Children’s Author, Chattanooga

Award-winning author Rita Lorraine Hubbard is a retired special education teacher of 20 years who now champions unsung heroes whose stories need to be told with courage and heart. Her books, THE OLDEST STUDENT: HOW MARY WALKER LEARNED TO READ; HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM: THE WILLIAM LEWIS STORY; and AFRICAN AMERICANS OF CHATTANOOGA: A HISTORY OF UNSUNG HEROES, have garnered honors and awards including the 2023 Great Kids Can Read award, the East Tennessee Historical Preservation award, the 2022 Texas Bluebonnet award, the 2021 Crystal Kite award, the 2021 Comstock Children’s Read-aloud award, and the Lee and Low New Voices Award. Rita has an advanced degree in School Psychology and owns and manages The Black History Channel.

Julia Daniel, Tri County African American Culture Museum and Mayme Carmichael School Organization, Oliver Springs

A native of Roane County, Tennessee, Ms. Daniel proudly represents three generations of African American farmers and lives on the farm where her ancestor was enslaved in the 1800s. As president of the Mayme Carmichael School Organization, Inc. (MCSO), Daniel, along with fellow residents of Oliver Springs passionate about historical preservation, has been instrumental in developing Carmichael Park in Oliver Springs, TN. The park, now a historical landmark, showcases the one-room ‘Colored’ schoolhouse that served the African-American community in Roane and Anderson Counties until 1966. Julia was key in establishing the Tri-County African American Cultural Museum in the Tri-County Area (TCAACM), which opened in March 2024 and will represent Anderson, Morgan, and Roane Counties. Mrs. Daniel remains committed to embodying the African proverb, “Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Therefore, she urges you to tell your own history and not wait for others to write or tell your story.

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July 24
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


East Tennessee History Center
601 S Gay St
Knoxville, TN 37902 United States
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(865) 215-8830