(TSU News Room) – The 34th annual Nashville Conference of African American History and Culture will take place Friday, Feb. 13, at the Tennessee State University Avon Williams campus.
Co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, and the Metropolitan Historical Commission, the conference will focus on the educational and musical legacies of Nashville’s African Amer-ican community. For more than 30 years, the award-winning conference has brought together historians, students, educators, community leaders and others interested in African American history and culture.
The 2015 conference continues the long-standing tradition of focusing on unsung heroes in Tennessee’s cultural history from slavery through the 20th century. Those highlighted at this year’s conference include John McCline, a former slave at Cloverbottom Plantation in Donelson, who escaped from bondage, worked for the Union Army in the Civil War, and eventually found a new life in the American West. Also highlighted during the daylong conference is journalist, author and educator Samuel Yette, an English graduate from Tennessee State University, who became an influential and sometimes incendiary voice on civil rights, and was the first African American Washington correspondent for Newsweek.
Along with McCline and Yette, the life and work of King Daniel Ganaway will also be explored. Ganaway, an African American from a Rutherford County family, was an award-winning photographer, working in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Chicago. His portraits were exhibited during the 1920s and 1930s in Los Angeles, Chicago, and as part of the Harmon Foundation’s traveling exhibit of African American artists.
This year’s speakers include Belmont University professor and noted author, Dr. Sybril Bennett, who will speak on the lessons of the Underground Railroad and how its innovative network can be adapted for networking in the 21st century, and Tennessee State University historian, Dr. Carroll Van West, who will present ‘Where giants walked: American Baptist College and Selma’s voting rights movement.’
Building on the conference’s long-standing commitment to honoring the contributions of African Americans to city’s cultural scene, the Nashville Public Library’s Wishing Chair Productions will stage Anasazi the Spider in honor of the rich story-telling traditions of the African American community.
Conference participants will also have the opportunity to view the winning student video documentaries from the 2014 Tennessee History Day competition. Honored for the best projects in African American history, middle- and high-school students and their teachers will show their documentaries shorts from the 2014 Nashville Conference Committee competition.
The conference takes place Friday, Feb. 13, beginning at 9 am at the Avon Williams Campus of Tennessee State University. Registration is $20, and includes admission to all speakers and performances, additions to the Profiles of African Americans in Tennessee series, and other publications. Lunch and parking are also included. To register visit <www.nashville.gov/mhc>, or call 615-862-7970.