Suffrage to WW2 to Civil Rights: 6 FREE Fall Virtual Inservices

Ray Smith speaks to teachers at the July 2021 event at the American Museum of Science and Energy.


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

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:

Tuesday, September 28: Tennessee Constitutions and the Coal Creek Wars

Part One: There have been three Tennessee Constitutions, and teachers are tasked to explain what was in them. However, there isn’t a lot of curriculum that covers it! No problem. In this power point, “History” Bill will wow you with stories about all three (1796, 1834 and 1870). He’ll also explain that the state constitution is a living document; it changes all the time and has been altered about a dozen times in the last half century!

Carol Moore with Barry Thacker

Part Two: The Coal Creek Wars, with guest presenter Barry Thacker. Coal Creek miners fueled the Industrial Revolution in Tennessee, abolished convict leasing in the South, preserved Welsh literature for posterity, and made working conditions safer for miners worldwide. Yet, hundreds of them died in one of Tennessee’s most dramatic tragedies. Four of those sites in Anderson County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, while others are haunted by ghosts of Coal Creek miners. Learn their stories as told by living-historian David R. Thomas who will time-travel from Coal Creek’s past to bring that history to life.

Click here to register for the Sept. 28 event.

Wednesday, October 6: The Mississippi River and the Sultana

Part One: The Mississippi River had a massive influence on Tennessee history and culture even before statehood. In this power point presentation, “History” Bill goes over the basic geography of the river and talks about its influence on the economics of Middle Tennessee, the events of the New Madrid Earthquake, its significance in the spread of slavery, the cotton trade, and its role in the rise of Memphis.

Jerry Potter

Part Two: The deadliest shipwreck in American history occurred on the Mississippi River, a few miles north of Memphis, on April 27, 1865. The Sultana explosion killed an estimated 1,800 men. What caused this senseless tragedy? And why has it been overlooked in American history. Jerry Potter, author of The Sultana Tragedy: America’s Greatest Military Disaster, is our guest presenter.

Click here to register for Oct. 6.

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!)

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.