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.



Researching African-American Family History & Genealogy Workshop


AAHGS Nashville invites you to join us February 11th, 2017 from 1-4pm at the Nashville Public Library to learn strategies and tips for researching your family history. 

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!

Come & Share Your Family Story

For our December Monthly Meeting, AAHGS Nashville is pleased to have YOU as our guest speaker!

That’s right – this meeting is a chance for you to present, show, and tell us all something interesting you’ve learned in your family history and genealogy research. We all have diverse backgrounds and family pasts so this will be an opportunity for us to learn more about you.

You can present on any aspect of your family history that you choose – have a family heirloom and want to tell it’s story? Made a connection and want to explain what led you there? Have you used DNA analysis to uncover family mysteries? We want to know!

We will meet Saturday, December 3rd at 9:30 am in the Civil Rights Room at the downtown Nashville Public Library. Our meetings are free and open to the public. 

Konnetta Alexander will facilitate the meeting and share one of her own personal stories – “How a Spinning Wheel Lead to documenting My South Carolina Family Slave”. Konnetta has more than 20 years experience doing genealogy research with most of her effort dedicated to three projects – researching family, transcribing and making public excerpts of an Antebellum slave account/record book, and performing interpretative presentations about the lives of free persons of color and slaves. Konnetta is an annual participant of MAAGI (Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute) and member of several historical societies. The focus of hergenealogy research is locating, documenting and personalizing the lives of slaves, whether family or not.

We look forward to seeing you there and hearing about your own family history!

After the meeting, we welcome you to spend time working on your own family history research; books will be available to aid you. If you are able to join us, please register to let us know you’re coming. The meeting is open to the public and we look forward to seeing you there!

African American Resources at the Tennessee State Library

For our November Monthly Meeting AAHGS Nashville is pleased to have Trent Hanner of the Tennessee State Library and Archives as our guest speaker!  Please RSVP if you can join us! We will meet Saturday, November 5th at 9:30 am in the Civil Rights Room at the downtown Nashville Public Library.

Trent will share with us details about the resources at the Tennessee State Library that can aid in researching individuals of African American ancestry. Now is your chance to learn more about the many great resources our State Library provides.

Trent Hanner is the senior reference librarian at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, where he has worked for ten years. After receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee, Trent stuck around Knoxville for two more years to earn a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. He loves telling folks about the many treasures and services offered by their State Library and Archives. When he isn’t in the stacks pulling books, you can usually find him at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre or on one of Music City’s beautiful greenways.

After the meeting, we welcome you to spend time working on your own family history research; books will be available to aid you. If you are able to join us, please register to let us know you’re coming. The meeting is open to the public and we look forward to seeing you there!

Find-A-Grave Community Days at Historic Greenwood Cemetery



The weekend of October 7-9th, Find-A-Grave is hosting their 3rd annual Community Days! All around the world volunteers will visit cemeteries to take pictures and try and fulfill open photo requests.

AAHGS Nashville is organizing a meetup at Nashville’s historic African American Greenwood Cemetery.  Join us there from 9am-12pm on Saturday, October 8th to participate in the event!

If you plan to come, let us know by filling out this short form.  Let’s see how many photos we can take – hope to see you there!