April 25 Inservice on Sequoyah and (separate subject) Abolitionism in Tennessee


TN History for Kids will produce an after-school Zoom inservice on Thursday, April 25.

Charlie Rhodarmer at a TN History for Kids event in 2020

Thursday, April 25: Sequoyah and (unrelated topic) the Harsh Truth About Abolitionism in Tennessee.

Charlie Rhodarmer of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum will go first. His presentation will focus on Sequoyah — what we know about the man, and what we don’t know for sure about him. It turns out that much of what we “know” about Sequoyah is a combination of oral history and conjecture. However, Sequoyah’s significance in American and Tennessee history has never been questioned — nor is it today.

News of Richard Dillingham’s arrest was reported as far away as London (Lloyd’s Weekly, Sept. 15, 1849)

History Bill Carey will then highlight three events in Tennessee in the early 1800s (which he recently discovered) that put the state’s abolitionist history in some context.

Those three stories involve: The failed attempt by Peter Fisher of Sumner County to have his slaves set free in his will (1831); The arrest and trial of bookseller Alanson Billings in Maury County in 1846; And the imprisonment and death of Richard Dillingham in Nashville in 1849.

These events prove that slavery interfered with the First Amendment and that there were people in Tennessee who died wrongfully thinking they had freed their slaves. They also prove that there would have been more free African-Americans in Tennessee by the eve of the Civil War had not state law been so stacked against abolitionists.

Click here to register for the April 25 event.