Teacher’s Guide to Don’t Keep Them in Doubt


Welcome to the teacher’s guide to the 11th grade Tennessee History for Kids booklet called Don’t Keep Them In Doubt.

Rather than buying a single classroom set, please consider buying one for every student. We sell these booklets for only $2.50 and print them on non-glossy paper because we want students to write in their booklets and treasure them. We believe students are more likely to value something when they are allowed to keep it.

Please do NOT copy the booklets. That is a violation of our copyright and makes it difficult for us to continue to exist. The reason we sell them for only $2 is so teachers will not be tempted to copy the booklets.

If you would like the answers to the quiz questions in the booklet, please email me at bill@tnhistoryforkids.org and tell me your name and the school at which you teach.


Kansas Historical Society image

Chapter One


THFK photo

Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas is devoted to the story of the Exodusters. We drove up there and did this virtual tour of the place.

The circular on page 4 is shown on the left. Click on the image to see a larger version of it.

A part of Topeka, Kansas, is called Tennessee Town because it was originally settled by Exodusters from Tennessee. Click here to learn more about this.


Chapter Two


Click on the image on the right to read one of the newspaper articles referred to on page 11. This article was cut and pasted from the Wilkes-Barr [Pennsylvania] Times, but the editorial originally ran in the Brooklyn [New York] Citizen.

Barry Thacker (in hat) at a Tennessee History for Kids tent revival event in 2017 THFK photo

No one has done as much to keep alive the story of Coal Creek, the Coal Creek Wars and the Coal Creek and Briceville tragedies than Barry Thacker and Carol Moore, who run the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation. This organization has helped save and restore buildings and cemeteries in Rocky Top and Briceville. It conducts free tours and field trips of the historic sites in the area. It even helps finance scholarships for local students.


Sidebar: “Raise the Children the Best You Can”


Click on the image on the right to see the letter on page 13

I don’t know if there is a more remarkable primary source in Tennessee history than this letter, hand written by Jacob Vowell in a dark mine, trapped, and surrounded by other doomed men like himself.

You might ask one of your students to read it aloud. When I read it out loud, I’ve never been able to get through the whole thing.


Chapter Three


You won’t have trouble finding out more about Lewis Wickes Hine; click here for a website about him that is associated with the International Center of Photography.

In spite of Hine’s remarkable contribution to American history and to the welfare of children, he was not honored in his lifetime, and he died poor.  I also find it very interesting that, after his death, the Museum of Modern Art did not accept his photo collection, but the George Eastman Museum did.

Lewis Wickes Hine photo

If you start digging on the history of some of the people and buildings which appear in some of Lewis Hines’ photographs, you really can find some very interesting stuff. For instance, the photograph on page 15 shows some young boys working in the Elk Cotton Mills. The Elk Cotton Mills building is still standing. Click here to read more about it.


Chapter Four


Thanks to the Tennessee State Library and Archives TEVA website, you can see the famous article that made Alvin York famous. Click here to see it.

The story about Kaiser Wilhelm’s ashtray has made its way into many national articles. Click here for a story on CBS Sportsline about it.

In addition to the content in this chapter, I once wrote a column about World War I’s impact on Tennessee. Click here to read it.


Nashville Tennessean; June 22, 1917

Chapter Five


Nashville Tennessean; Feb. 20, 1919

Click on the images on the right and one the left to read two of the newspaper articles referred to in this chapter.

I don’t believe I can say enough good things about Elaine Weiss’ book The Woman’s Hour. If you have any interest whatsoever about this topic, I highly recommend that you read it.

Finally, I need to point out that there are differences of opinion about exactly who is shown in the photograph on page 29. The folks at the Belmont-Paul Woman’s Equality National Monument weren’t 100 percent sure about the identity of the man shown on the far left, nor am I. However, I’m inclined to think it is Banks Turner of Gibson County.


Memphis Special Collections photo

Chapter Six


Turn up the speakers and clear a space in the classroom for students to move their feet if they like! Here are some links to some of the music referred to in this chapter:

Country Music Foundation photo

* W.C. Handy “Memphis Blues

* W.C. Handy, “St. Louis Blues

* Humphrey Bate and his Possum Hunters, “How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?

* Uncle Jimmy Thompson, “Lynchburg

* DeFord Bailey, “Davidson County Blues


Tennessean, Oct. 14, 1924

Chapter Seven


Nashville Tennessean, Oct. 3, 1924

I wince whenever I see textbooks talk about the so-called Progressive Era without mentioning the era’s racial side. That, and the many newspaper articles and ads I’ve found over the years, is why I produced chapter 7.

On page 37, I explain the state’s use of “a large” voting districts to dilute the African-American vote. Please let me know (I can be reached at bill@tnhistoryforkids.org) if you can come up with a better way to explain this.

There are two articles referred to in the right column of page 40. Click on the articles to the left and right to read them.

Click here for a virtual tour “In Search of Ida B. Wells.”


Chapter Eight


The photo on page 42, which also appears on the cover of this booklet, has never been published in print prior to the publication of this booklet. Here is the story behind it:

THFK photo

The Chicago Tribune sent a photographer to Tennessee to take photos for the Scopes Trial. That photographer took and developed many photographs, but only a small number of them were actually printed in the Tribune during the weeks in which the Scopes Trial remained in the news. The one shown here (and also pages 44) are three of the many Scopes Trial photos which had been in the morgue of the Tribune for 90 years!

Click here to see A Civic Biology, the very textbook at the center of the 1925 controversy.

I can’t say enough about the Scopes Festival, which the city of Dayton and the folks at Bryan College put on every year. Click here to check it out, and I strongly recommend going to see the drama that they put on.

Click here to see a video that Tennessee History for Kids put together about the Scopes Trial.


TVA photo

Chapter Nine


More information about this topic on the Tennessee History for Kids website:

* Click here for a virtual tour of the Butler Museum in Johnson County.

* Click here for a virtual tour of Norris Dam and the area around it.

* Here for the Marion County history page.

Finally, I figure that about half of Anderson County has relatives who appear in the photograph on page 49. Click on it (to the right) to make it larger. Not to state the obvious, but there are no women in the photograph, and no African Americans. What does this tell you about the New Deal?


Library of Congress photo

Chapter 10


Click here for a column I once wrote about Tennessee’s World War II Medal of Honor recipients.

In the months after this column ran, I became aware that there was a ninth World War II Medal of Honor recipient from Tennessee and that his remains had been discovered and returned to Tennessee for burial.

Click here to read this amazing story.

Roddie Edmonds family photo

Click here to read another column I once wrote about Gerhard Hennes and Camp Crossville. I’ve been doing this column for 16 years, and this one has had more reaction, by far, than any other column I’ve ever written.

By the way, in the months after this column, Hennes’ memoirs sold out and are now being sold for large amounts of money on the Internet. I’ve tried to talk him into reprinting them, but he is in his mid-90s and tells me that he isn’t taking on new projects.

Finally, an Army Master Sergent from Knoxville named Roddie Edmonds was recently nominated for  the Congressional Gold Medal for something he did in an German prisoner of war camp during World War II.  Click here to read about this remarkable man’s deeds.


Ray Smith spoke at this Tennessee History for Kids inservice in Oak Ridge in July 2021
THFK photo

Chapter 11


Click here for a website associated with the USS Indianapolis survivors organization and here for the U.S. Naval Institute online archives of Alfred Sedivi’s photo collection.

U.S. government photo of Westcott

Click here for a virtual tour of the historical exhibits at the Museum of Science and Energy at Oak Ridge. I’d like to thank Oak Ridge historian Ray Smith for his help in putting this material together. Ray frequently speaks at our inservices (in-person and virtual). Stay tuned for more of this wonderful appearances!

Almost all of the photographs taken at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project era were taken by one man–photographer Ed Westcott. Click here to see some of his photos.

Mr. Westcott died on March 29, 2019.


U.S. government document

Chapter 12

Click here for a column I wrote about Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe.

Click here to see parts of the extremely important U.S. government document known as the “Yellow Book,” which would eventually determine where interstate corridors would go through Tennessee’s four major cities.


Chapter 13


Click here to taken to the website of the Sun Studio in Memphis and here to be taken to the website of the Stax Museum.

Ready to hear some young girls scream? Click here to see Elvis Presley performing the song “Hound Dog” on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956, and click here to read more about that appearance.

Ready to laugh? Click here to see B.B. King explain how he got his first big break, writing an advertising jingle for an over the counter medicine called Pepticon.

By the way, the Castle Recording Studio that operated in downtown Nashville in the late 1940s has nothing to do with another business that operates in Williamson County under that same name today.


Nashville Tennessean, Oct. 15, 1939

Chapter 14


Click on the image to the right to read the beginning of one of the articles about the Highlander Folk School that was published by the Nashville Tennessean in 1939.

Nashville Tennessean, Oct. 15, 1939

Click on the left to see a larger version of the image at the top of page 79.

Click here to be taken on a Tennessee History for Kids virtual tour “In Search of Highlander.”

This developing story: In April 2019, one of the buildings at the Highlander Education and Research Center burned in an apparent arson. A white power symbol was found on the site, raising the possibility that the fire was set by a terrorist organization. Click here to see a story about this.


Special Collections, University of Memphis Libraries

Chapter 15


The best way to learn more about the Tent City Movement is from the folks at the Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change. Click here to explore its website.

Most of the photos that exist of the Tent City Movement, and many of the photos of the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis and Northern Mississippi, were taken by Ernest C. Withers. Today there is a gallery of Withers’ photographs on Beale Street, and you can click here to see the organization’s website.


Chapter 16

THFK photo

Here, on the right, is a photograph that was taken of Bobby Cain after I interviewed him on stage at the Tennessee History Tent Revival event in July 2017.

Click here for a public radio story about that event in which Cain was interviewed.