UT Helps Document Civil Rights

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A University of Tennessee project will unite area youths and elderly residents to compile a local history of civil rights activism.

The Living Legacy project will train about a dozen youths ages 10-14 from Knoxville’s Walter P. Taylor neighborhood to interview local residents about the struggle for social justice.

It is co-directed by Alan Jones of the Knoxville Community Development Corporation and Attica Scott and Tony Hebert of UT-Knoxville’s Community Partnership Center.

“This is a great community outreach project for the university,” Scott said. “It will help young people develop better relationships with the elder generation and restore some of the respect that may have been forgotten.

“This effort seeks to document the work of some of the people who were deeply involved in activism work in Knoxville, but whose efforts have not been recognized.”

Hebert said UT is working with Knoxville’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church to identify youths and community residents for the project.

UT staff, students and community volunteers will begin this winter teaching young people to use interview methods, computers, photography, and video and audio equipment to collect oral histories, he said. Interviewing is expected to begin in January.

Hebert said most of those to be interviewed would be longtime East Knoxville residents. They will be asked to recount personal anecdotes and experiences relating to racial equality and civil rights.

The oral histories will be used for civil rights archives and historical exhibits around the region, he said.

The Living Legacy project is part of the Knoxville Empowerment Zone funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hebert said student and community volunteers are needed and can call him at 974-4562.