A penetrating examination of post-Civil War African American society in Tennessee will come to life in a free public lecture by an MTSU alumna.
Leigh Ann Gardner, former interpretive specialist with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, will deliver a presentation on the subject at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, 225 W. College St. This event is free and open to the public.
Gardner’s extensive years-long research has resulted in “To Care for the Sick and Bury the Dead: African American Lodges and Cemeteries in Tennessee,” a book that chronicles African Americans’ attempts to provide for their own between 1865 and 1930.
“Lodges and mutual aid societies created a safety net for their members at a time when African Americans could not always gain access to insurance,” said Laura Holder, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation’s federal liaison for the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.
“These organizations provided opportunities to acquire sick benefits, burial insurance and other financial support, as well as the chance for members to socialize and support their local communities and churches.”’
Gardner earned her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi University for Women and her master’s degree from MTSU. Her master’s thesis was “The African American Presence at the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site, 1784-1900.”
The Heritage Center is a joint venture between the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Main Street Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Inc., the city of Murfreesboro, and the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University.
For more information, contact Holder at 615-217-8013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)