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Friday, August 8, 2008

School Book Fair; and "From Slavery to Bravery: A Chronicle of African-Americans in Eastern Hawkins County

Greetings everyone..

Just a quick note, to be sure and drop by the first Douglass School Book Fair, this coming Saturday, August 9th in the Douglass Ballfield (in case of rain, we'll be in the V.O. Dobbins Senior Center gym).

From 12 Noon to 4 PM, we will be selling the old Douglass schoolbooks recently discovered after years of storage in the school lockers on the second floor of Douglass High School. No book is priced over $1.00, and the proceeds go toward programs of the Douglass Alumni Association.

Names of former schoolmates who used the books are inscribed inside many of them, and those names are published in the "Dusting Party" article below. Many names in other books will be announced soon. This is the first of many book fairs, and everybody is invited. These books are still helpful, because, even after 42 years, "2 + 2 still equals 4," and there's still only way to form a sentence. The books we all learned from, can still help the students of today.


Also this weekend, one of East Tennessee's oldest African-American churches will celebrate a reunion. The Lyons Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church of New Canton will welcome home its huge family with special events. Please join them in that endeavor.

And in one of the most comprehensive compilations of information since the Eastman Explosion articles of last year, we will publish, in conjunction with the Lyons Chapel Reunion, a series of articles and pictures on African-Americans in eastern Hawkins County. Prior to the Civil War, that part of Hawkins County was "slave country," with plantations from the Netherland Inn, through Rotherwood, to Canton Mills (New Canton), to Zion Hill, to Guntown, to Petersburg at Rogersville. We will chronicle slavery on the plantations, through information that has been passed down from generation to generation. You will see names that are familiar, and families from Riverview, whose roots are in those slave encampments in Hawkins County.

Included in those names is probably the best known of all: Diana Ross.
Indeed, the "Queen of Motown" and one of the world's most famous singers, both with the Supremes and by herself, has her roots firmly planted in Rogersville, Tennessee and the true story of her ancestrial ties to Rotherwood Mansion at Kingsport will finally be told.

Hear about a cave that slaves used at New Canton, to go between Hord's Mill and Canton Hall, to go unnoticed by the white slavemaster to the Holston River.. THE CAVE IS STILL THERE and we have pictures of it! Revisit Swift Memorial College, one of America's finest African-American educational institutions.. plans for the old New Canton School, that resemble the renovation work planned for the old Douglass High School building in Kingsport.. revisit the Hord family, the Price family, and others. It's history that's worth remembering.

We'll also look on the paranormal side of slavery along the plantations in eastern Hawkins County, even the Rotherwood Mansion. Many spirits and ghosts inhabit the homes, hills, caves and hollows of the area, and after gathering it all, I can personally guarantee that you won't look at certain places in the same way ever again.

Every day all week long, I'll be publishing those articles and personal glimpses back at African-American life from Rotherwood to Rogersville. Please watch for them!