Latest News

Seventeen Men: A Fort Negley Exhibit

This year, AAHGS Nashville will be holding our chapter meetings & workshops at Fort Negley, a fortification constructed in Nashville during the Civil War and the largest inland fort built in the United States. Fort Negley was constructed using the labor of more than 2700 black laborers and soldiers.  To prepare for our meetings, our chapter president and I visited the meeting space and I was particularly taken with the current exhibit.

Seventeen Men exhibit at Ft. Negley

In the space is a stunning exhibit of 17 life-sized color pencil drawings by artist, illustrator, and genealogist, Shayne Davidson. Shayne learned about a tiny (2 inches tall) photo album that had been owned by William A. Prickitt, who had been captain of Company G of the 25th United States Colored Troop regiment.

Cover of William A. Prickett’s album

There were 113 men in the unit and Prickett’s album had pictures of 17 of them.  The book is now in the collections of the National Museum of African American History & Culture. Shayne wanted to know more so researched each man in the book to create biographical profiles of them and then created these stunning drawings.

Of the 17 men, 3 had connections to Tennessee; Corporal Solomon Frister settled here in Nashville, Private John Walls settled near Memphis, and Private James Tall was born in Murfreesboro.

Shayne Davidson’s drawing of Corporal Solomon Frister

Frister is buried in Mt. Ararat Cemetery and our AAHGS Nashville friend, Kathy Lauder, featured him in one of the biographical profiles from her Greenwood Cemetery project, a project to document those interred at Nashville’s historic African-American cemetery.

Kathy Lauder bio of Corporal Solomon Frister

The lives of these seventeen men are certainly worth knowing more about.

We hope that you can join us for our March 2nd meeting (ft. the Fort Negley Descendants Project) and not only learn about the work being done to tell the stories of those that worked at Ft. Negley, but also to see this exhibit.

Shayne’s book is available at Amazon, and you can also visit her Facebook page to learn more.

 

SAVE THIS POST ON PINTEREST

Juneteenth Commemoration at The Hermitage: June 23

boab-tree-merlene-pozziAAHGS Nashville invites you to join us June 232018, from 1- 4 pm at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage to learn strategies and tips for researching your family history.  This session will be conducted in partnership with The Hermitage’s Juneteenth Commemoration.

New to family history research? Come out and learn how to get jump-started! Well-seasoned in genealogy? Come and bring friends along who may not know the ins-and-outs!

After a 1-hour presentation, we will have one-on-one consultation sessions to provide individualized advice.

The event is free and open to the public. We look forward to seeing you there!

Image: Boab Tree Art Print by Merlene Pozzi

Learn How to Research African-American Family History

AAHGS Nashville invites you to join us February 32018, from 1- 4 pm at the Nashville Public Library to learn strategies and tips for researching your family history. New to family history research? Come out and learn how to get jump-started! Well-seasoned in genealogy? Come and bring friends along who may not know the ins-and-outs!

After a 1-hour presentation, we will have one-on-one consultation sessions to provide individualized advice.

The afternoon is sponsored by Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage as part of their Black History Month outreach events.

The event is free and open to the public – tickets can be obtained by registering below.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Dr. Mattie E. Coleman Wreath Laying Ceremony

Dr. Mattie Elizabeth Howard Coleman was a prominent figure in Nashville’s African American history. A 1906 graduate of Meharry Medical College’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Coleman was a medical, religious, and community service pioneer.

This weekend, Saturday, October 14th, Capers Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church will honor Dr. Coleman with a wreath laying at her internment site in Greenwood Cemetery. The church is celebrating the Centennial Celebration of the Women’s Missionary Council and invites members of the public to attend.  More details are available here.

Meeting Recap: Cemetery Community of Rutherford County

This past weekend, we held our October monthly meeting and learned about the freedmen community, called “Cemetery,” in Rutherford County.  Established soon after the Civil War by former enslaved African Americans, the story of the Cemetery community is being actively preserved, shared, and disseminated through the efforts of descendants, historians, genealogists, and community members.

Our guest speaker was Dr. George C. Smith. Dr. Smith has been thoroughly engaged in these efforts and it was truly educational to here his discussion of the community’s significance.  There are only a few remaining freedmen-established communities in the state of Tennessee so it is important for their stories to indeed be told.

“Cemetery Notes” column in the Nashville Globe newspaper (May 24, 1907).

An archive of materials related to Cemetery is available online via Middle Tennessee State’s Public History Program; visit the site to learn more. The African American Heritage Society of Rutherford County is very heavily engaged in helping to capture the story of the Cemetery community to follow them on Facebook or visit their website to stay abreast of project updates.  You can also hear a presentation by community member Leonora Washington.

Greenwood Cemetery Biographies

For more than 120 years, Greenwood Cemetery has served as the final resting place for many of Nashville’s African-American community members. AAHGS Nashville friend, Kathy Lauder, continuously works to showcase the lives of the individuals buried in the cemetery through short biographies she writes each week to complement her work for the Greenwood Project.

The Greenwood Project, started in 2014, seeks to create an as comprehensive list as possible of individuals buried in the historic African American Greenwood Cemetery here in Nashville (including Mt. Ararat & Greenwood Cemetery West). Burial records are culled from a variety of sources, including personal family knowledge, newspaper obituaries, death certificates, extant burial listings, and more.

We are now pleased to have a page on our AAHGS Nashville site to list the biographies and help raise awareness of the life stories of Nashville community members who are no longer with us. There are currently more than 100 biographies! Visit our new page to learn more about their phenomenal lives.