Gift to Schools Explores Legacy of Tennessee Presidents (280)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Civics and history teachers throughout the state have a new tool to help students learn about the contributions of Tennessee’s three U.S. presidents to the development of the federal government.

The teaching aid is a video describing the presidencies of Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson, based on the Presidential Papers Projects at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Dr. Wayne Cutler, research professor and director of the Tennessee Presidents Trust at UT-Knoxville, said approximately 2,000 copies of the video, “Voices for Union,” have been distributed to libraries of all Tennessee secondary schools (public and private), colleges and universities, and other libraries in the state.

“First Tennessee Bank — as its contribution to the state’s bicentennial last year — made a grant to produce and distribute the video and a study guide for teachers,” Cutler said. “We are grateful for First Tennessee’s generous support.”

In the video, the Tennessee presidents tell the story of their terms in the White House.

“The script writers tried to let each of the three presidents tell the story of his presidency in his own words and from his own perspective as recorded in his presidential writings and speeches,” Cutler said.

Tennessee Presidents Trust, a service organization of UT-Knoxville, supports a documentary editing center dedicated to the publication of the papers of Tennessee’s American presidents.

Cutler said the trust four years ago began a tradition of celebrating in February “Tennessee Presidents Month” to coincide with the national Presidents’ Day holiday.

“Voices for Union” may be purchased throughout the state in the gift shops of historic sites and museums, Cutler said. The UT Center for Telecommunications and Video produced and edited the video.

Contact: Dr. Wayne Cutler (423-974-2071)