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Celebrate Black History at your Tennessee State Museum

by Cass Teague
Learn about Lizzie Douglas at the Tennessee State Museum.

Your Tennessee State Museum (TSM) always has items and exhibitions of interest to the African American heritages of the state. Two special programs this Black History Month that you should be aware of are on Thursday, February 8th — Lunch and Learn with Tranae Chatman, and Saturday, February 17th — the Evolution of Black Music.

Thursday, February 8 at 12:00 p.m., Lunch & Learn: Boogie and Blues: Black Women and The Tennessee Playlist will be presented by Tranae Chatman, TSM Curator of Social History.

Blues music is one-way Black Tennesseans expressed their new autonomy after Emancipation. Through their lives and their music, women like Bessie Smith, Laura Dukes, Lizzie Douglas, and Memphis Minnie challenged ideas of what was socially acceptable for women and created public discourse specific to the experiences of working-class Black Women. Predating the feminist movement of the 60’s and 70’s, these women provided early examples of advocacy for women and female independence.

After the program, visitors are invited to explore more music history with a self-guided tour of the exhibition, “The Tennessee Playlist: The People, Places, and Roots of Our Music.”

This Lunch and Learn event is in-person in the Museum’s Digital Learning Center at 12:00 p.m. No RSVPs are required to attend this free event. 

This program will also be live-streamed on the Museum’s website at TNMuseum.org/videos. If you have any questions please email Public.Programs@tn.gov.

Boxed lunches made by Apple Spice Nashville are available for purchase for $12.24 to enjoy during the event. The lunches will include a sandwich, chips, and a cookie. Lunch orders must be placed by noon on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Please order your boxed lunch on the ticket registration page: https://tnmuseum.org/calendar-of-events.

Saturday, February 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. w / Special Music Performance to follow at 12:15 p.m.

Rhythm Revolution: The Evolution of Black Music will be moderated by Tranae Chatman, Tennessee State Museum Curator of Social History

Drawing upon the Tennessee Playlist, this discussion will cover some of the most popular Black music genres and the historical implications they have for Black culture. Featured panelists are representatives from the National Museum of African American Music, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and the Jefferson Street Sound Museum.

After the panel, there will be an entertainment hour featuring musical performances by Black artists.

And, this month, closing on February 25, is the phenomenal exhibition, “Building a Bright Future: Black Communities and Rosenwald Schools in Tennessee,” presented in partnership with Fisk University’s John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library. This community-focused exhibition highlights the work of alumni, descendants, and organizations to preserve the legacies of Rosenwald Schools across the state.

Admission to TSM is free. Parking is available in the parking lot which is located between the Museum and the Nashville Farmers Market. There is also free two-hour parking available along 6th and 7th Avenues. The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. and closed Monday.

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