An MTSU alumna’s historical research into a little-discussed aspect of African American history in Tennessee was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Leigh Ann Gardner, former interpretive specialist with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, first aired April 12 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
You can listen to their conversation at the SoundCloud link above.
Gardner, an MTSU alumna, is the author of “To Care for the Sick and Bury the Dead: African American Lodges and Cemeteries in Tennessee.”
The book chronicles how African American lodges and mutual aid societies took care of the Black community from 1865 to 1930, a time when Jim Crow laws barred them from access to white medical care and funeral homes.
“These benevolent societies and fraternal lodges acted as a safety net for their members,” Gardner said. “They provided sickness benefits. They would bury you if you died. They would care for your widow or your children, and many of them also offered cemeteries to their members as places to be buried.”
Gardner earned her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi University for Women and her master’s degree from MTSU’s Public History Program. Her master’s thesis was “The African American Presence at the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site, 1784-1900.”
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.