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Tennessee State Library and Archives Celebrates Black History Month
(Published: February 13, 2014)

In celebration of Black History Month, the Tennessee State Library and Archives has posted new and improved versions of three important black history collections.

The collections are: The Beautiful Jim Key collection; Fisk University Scrapbook: School Memories, William Henry Fort, Jr. (1911-1974); and Reconstruction and the African American Legacy in Tennessee.

The Beautiful Jim Key collection (http://www.tn.gov/tsla/TeVAsites/JimK/index.htm) documents the career of Dr. William Key, a former slave from Bedford County who worked as a veterinarian and horse trainer. Key used unorthodox training methods that helped one of his horses named Beautiful Jim Key learn an amazing assortment of tricks. Beautiful Jim Key demonstrated skills associated with reading, writing, spelling, telling time and doing simple arithmetic.

Dr. William Key's work contributed to a national movement to treat animals more humanely.

The Fisk University Scrapbook (http://www.tn.gov/tsla/TeVAsites/FiskScrapbook/index.htm) provides details about life at the Nashville university during the 1920s, less than a decade before Fisk became the first black institution to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The scrapbook includes photos of various campus buildings, students, faculty and visitors. These include photos of famed writer and activist Langston Hughes and Thomas E. Jones, who served as Fisk's fifth president.

The Reconstruction collection (http://www.tn.gov/tsla/TeVAsites/Reconstruction/index.htm) describes life for black people in Tennessee following the Civil War.

"The State Library and Archives is full of terrific resources for people who are doing research for Black History Month," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "In addition to these re-released collections, we have many more that are free and available to Tennesseans during the library's regular business hours or online, day or night."

To learn more about significant black history collections at the State Library and Archives, please visit http://www.tn.gov/tsla/history/bibliographies/aa3.htm.

The State Library and Archives is located at 403 7th Avenue North, directly west of the State Capitol building in downtown Nashville. The library is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Parking is available in front of, beside and behind the building.