Brown v. Board of Ed to the Manhattan Project: FREE weekly virtual inservices


Tennessee History for Kids will have free virtual inservices in October and November.

All events will occur on Zoom and begin at 3:45 and end at 5:45 (Central Time). Teachers who attend will receive a certificate showing 2 hours of professional development credit.

The lineup features a wide range of topics in Tennessee and U.S. history and some wonderful guest presenters:

Wednesday, October 20: 1917-1925: Suffrage, World War I, Influenza and Scopes

David Ewing

Part One: Guest presenter David Ewing gives the inside story of how it was that the Suffrage Amendment came down to one vote at the Tennessee State Capitol in August 1920. He also explains in detail the different personalities involved: from Anne Dallas Dudley to Sue Shelton White to Frankie Pierce to Josephine Pearson. And what role did race play in the debate? You may be surprised.

Part Two: The passage of the suffrage amendment is something we like to think back on, and because of that we often forget to talk about all the other incredible things that happened in Tennessee between 1917 and 1925. Let’s see… World War I. The rise of Luke Lea. The second rise of the Ku Klux Klan. The influenza epidemic. The creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Scopes Trial. “History” Bill Carey presents.

Click here to register for Oct. 20.

Wednesday, October 27: Tennessee During World War II

Part One: Maneuvers, Shoe Factories and POW Camps: Tennessee during World War II – a power point by “History” Bill Carey that describes in detail what life in Tennessee was like during World War II. He’ll talk about important people (such as Cordell Hull); he’ll talk about important companies (such as Alcoa) and he’ll explain why everyone was skinny and had to stay home (they were rationing sugar AND gasoline!)

Oak Ridge historian Ray Smith

Part Two: Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project (guest presenter Ray Smith). During World War II, a mostly rural chunk of Anderson and Roane counties was purchased by the government and converted into a massive military base where key parts of the atomic bomb were manufactured. This project would eventually succeed with the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945. But how did the government keep it secret? And what was it like to live and work in Oak Ridge at that time?

Click here to register for Oct. 27.

Wednesday, November 3: Brown v. Board and Clinton High School

Preston Webb

Part One: Brown v. Board: The Inside Story. To the rest of America, Brown v. Board of Education is an answer to countless test questions. It is, obviously, one of the most important legal cases in American history — the trial that would eventually force every school system in America that hadn’t already integrated to integrate. Preston Webb, a park ranger at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, joins us the “back story” of this immensely powerful case. Who was Brown? Why did this hugely important matter decided in Topeka, Kansas, of all places? And is it true that many of the important people involved in this case were from the part of Topeka known as “Tennessee Town”?


African American students walk to Clinton High School in the fall of 1957 (Library of Congress photo)

Part Two: The Integration of Clinton High School. A power point presentation in which “History Bill” retells the long saga of what happened at Clinton High School in 1956-57, using dozens of newspaper articles that haven’t been referenced by historical sources in the past. Forced to integrate by the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Clinton became the South’s first high-profile public school to integrate in August 1956. Any chance of it happening peacefully went away when John Kasper, an Ivy League educated desegregationist, descended on Clinton and began organizing demonstrations. The protests became increasingly ugly and violent in the fall of 1957, but in the end, the school integrated, paving the way for many other public high schools in other parts of the South. The series of events put Tennessee in the national spotlight and put 12 African-American students, now known as the “Clinton 12,” in the crosshairs.

Click here to register for November 3.