Knoxville's 1919 Race Riot: An Eyewitness Account A Brown Bag Lecture with Marilyn Mascaro

PROGRAM: Knoxville's 1919 Race Riot: An Eyewitness Account

DATE: 12:00 p.m., Thursday, March 12, 2020

LOCATION: East Tennessee History Center601 South Gay Street Knoxville, TN 37902



Marilyn Mascaro(Knoxville, TN) In a Brown Bag lecture at noon on Thursday, March 12, author Marilyn Mascaro will share and discuss the recorded testimony of her grandfather who was an eyewitness to the Race Riot of 1919 in Knoxville.

On August 30, 1919, a sense of foreboding hung over the city as word spread of an unruly mob forming with the intent of taking Maurice Mays from prison, threatening to “string up the prisoner”–little did they know, that he had been moved to Chattanooga for safe keeping. The young, black man was in jail pending trial for the murder of a young white woman.

Earl LaymanEighteen-year-old Earl Layman witnessed these events and years later recounted them in a recording, now held by the family. And now, Earl's granddaughter, Marilyn Layman Mascaro, will share excerpts from the recording and from her research into the subject.

Marilyn Layman Mascaro holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from the University of Tennessee and is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College. She has lectured throughout the region, is a published poet, and is currently writing a non-fiction book about Knoxville in the early twentieth century.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will begin at noon at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville. Guests are invited to bring a "Brown Bag" lunch and enjoy the lecture. Soft drinks will be available. For more information on the lecture, exhibitions, or museum hours, call 865-215-8824 or visit the website at