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African Americans in Tennessee (Special Collections)

This guide highlights primary sources and research materials in Special Collections related to the African American experience in East Tennessee from the late 18th century to present day.

Manuscript and Archive Collections

Photograph of Dr. C.S. Boyd in his dental office.
Dr. C. S. Boyd inside his dental office.
Photograph from Dr. C.S. Boyd Photograph
Collection (MS.2129) or Volunteer Voices
Digital Collection

James Agee's "The Quiet One" Reel-to-Reel Audiotape, undated (MS.3142)
This collection houses a reel-to-reel audiotape of James Agee's "The Quiet One."

Oliver Campbell Wallace Family Papers, 1870s-1987 (MS.3299)
This collection houses notebooks, photographs, clippings, certificates, and biographical information documenting Oliver Campbell Wallace and his immediate family.

Dr. C. S. Boyd Photograph Collection, 1900-1910 (MS.2129)
64 photographs of African-Americans in the Knoxville area during the early 20th century. Many are of Dr. Charles S. Boyd, his dental office, and his family.

M. McKay Bonner Papers, 1922-1970 (MS.1642)
This collection includes correspondence, theater programs, circulars, scripts, musical compositions, reviews, minutes of club meetings, newspaper clippings, and personal photographs documenting the life and work of Malcolm McKay Bonner who lived in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1920s.

Helen Mae Lennon Hospital Record Book, 1923-1928 (MS.3509)
This 248-page ledger book appears to be a nurse's patient record for the Helen Mae Lennon Hospital. Each entry includes the date, the patient's name, treatment instructions or progress, and a doctor's signature. Doctors' signatures include E. F. Lennon, M. L. Boyd, and S. M. Clark.

East Tennessee Farmers' Convention Programs and Minutes, Negro Farmers' Institute, 1937-1964 (AR.0504)
Minutes and programs documenting the yearly meetings of the East Tennessee Farmers' Convention held at the University of Tennessee. Included are programs of the meetings of the Negro Farmers' Institute from 1937 through 1964.

African American Photograph Albums, 1941-1969 (MS.2881)
A collection of photographs of African Americans in or around Knoxville from 1941-1969. These photographs come from three photo albums, the first being a "Historical and Pictoral Review of Fort Bragg, North Carolina," a yearbook for the year 1941. It includes all of the soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg in 1941 and the different activities inside of the base. The second album is made up of images of a family that lived in or around Knoxville. The photos include group and individual portraits. The family name is unknown. The third photo album is from a tour of duty in German and Sweden. The album consists of pictures of what the soldiers did in their free time. No specific dates are given but are circa World War II era.

LaTain Smith McGhee WWII Memoir, 2001 (MS.2628)
The LaTain Smith McGhee WWII Memoir contains a personal account of McGhee's service in the United States Navy during World War II. Also included are several photographs as well as transfer orders, awards, and discharge papers.

Rare Books and Facsimiles

The Negro and East Tennessee. 1913 (E185.93.T3 N4 1913) 

A Social Study of the Colored Population of Knoxville, Tennessee. 1926 (F444 .K7 D38 1926)

Three Generations; The Story of a Colored Family of Eastern Tennessee. 1939 (E185.97 C256)

The Truth About Columbia, Tennessee Cases. 1946 (E185.65 .S67)

Anatomy of Four Race Riots; Racial Conflict in Knoxville, Elaine (Arkansas), Tulsa, and Chicago, 1919-1921. 1972 (E185.61 .W736)

Black Tennesseans, 1900-1930. 1977 (E185.93.T3 L35)

Knoxville's African American Community, 1860-1920. 1989 (F444.K7 J66 1989)

Double V on the Homefront: African American Women Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee During World War II. 1995 (Thesis95. T34)

A Dark Night: The Knoxville Race Riot of 1919. 2000 (F444 .K7 L35 2000)

Appalachians and Race: The Mountain South from Slavery to Segregation. 2001 (E185.912 .A67 2001)