Farragut’s Black History Month event goes virtual

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

The virus has taken away many, many events in Farragut, but one of the more painful losses is the Black History Month program presented by the Farragut Museum committee each February.

This year’s event may be canceled, but there is still an opportunity to celebrate the area’s Black community and learn a bit of history through a virtual Black History Month event here.

This special web page honors the history of two Black Medal of Honor recipients who served on the USS Hartford with Admiral David Farragut during the Battle of Mobile Bay. Their inspiring heroism makes for a good read.

The page also shares the link to an oral history video produced for the 2020 event that features oral histories of two long-time West Knox residents, Helen Trent and Hughie Moulden. The video will also play in the Farragut Museum through the month of February. The museum, located inside Town Hall at 11408 Municipal Center Drive, is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Last year’s event was one of the largest ever. Former state representative and local historian Bob Booker drew a standing-room-only crowd, and visitors flocked to the museum to enjoy the exhibits and watch the oral history video. It’s always a happy and festive occasion that feels like a family reunion. A slideshow on the web page features photos of last year’s and other previous events.

“The Farragut Museum has a long history of honoring Black History Month,” says historic resources coordinator Julia Barham. “When I was hired in 2008, the museum had been hosting local community members and speakers for many years. I was excited to carry on this yearly tradition and am happy to say that we have continued to do something special to honor the event each February since.”

One of the things that’s missing from a virtual event is the involvement of the community. In addition to the Museum Committee members, the Black History Month event typically relies upon the talents of a variety of performers, educators and local historians. Barham gives credit to those who started the event and those who have participated each year.

“There are many people who have been instrumental in celebrating Black History Month through the years and no one more so than Doris Owens. Doris was the volunteer director through the 1990s and early 2000s until she retired in 2008. She was responsible for beginning the tradition of hosting community members and local speakers to celebrate.

“When I started in June of that year, Museum Committee members Loretta Bradley and Barbara Beeler were instrumental in continuing the tradition. They, as well as many other museum committee and community members through the years, have donated their time and expertise for this annual event.

What began with hosting the Concord Community reunion group grew through the years to include local speakers and educational lectures, exhibitions focused on Black History in the community and museum tours and refreshments.”

We look forward to hosting an in-person event again in 2022. In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy our virtual nod to Black History Month.

Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.

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