Blacks in Tennessee, 1791-1970

Tennessee Three Star Series

  • Author(s): Lamon, Lester C.
  • Series: Tennessee Three Star Series
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 1981-10-02
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $19.95 | Buy Now

While black men and women have played important roles in Tennessee’s growth and history; slavery, caste, and segregation have forced them to live apart and to create a separate history. In this historical analysis, Lester Lamon offers an understanding of the history of black Tennesseans, recognizing that they have been both a part of and apart from the developments affecting the dominant white population of the state. The different economic priorities, political loyalties, and racial populations evident in the three “Grand Divisions” of the state have created superficial differences in the historical experiences of blacks in the three regions. Intrastate competition has reinforced these sectional differences, but a common factor found in the black experience has been a racial “givenness”—the idea that blacks should not expect equality or free association with whites. Tennessee’s black history is not one of a surrender to racial pressure, but, instead, is a story of courage, sacrifice, frustration, and dreams of freedom, equality, and respect for human dignity.

Blacks in Tennessee provides a necessary and culturally enriching addition to the traditional history of the state.