The Knox County Public Library is partnering with Knoxville Walking Tours to provide three downtown excursions exploring East Tennessee’s literary and artistic heritage on select Saturdays over the summer. Storyteller Laura Still will guide these library-tailored tours through the stomping grounds of some of Knoxville’s most creative citizens.
Each tour will start at 10 a.m. in front of Lawson McGhee Library at 500 W. Church Ave and last 90 minutes. Come light rain or come shine, the tour will go on. The tours are free and available to library cardholders only. Advanced registration is required here.
The planned schedule is:
Saturday, June 26: Knoxville’s Black Writers and Artists: Stroll the streets that inspired Knoxville’s Black artists, musicians, and writers including Howard Armstrong (Louie Bluie), Brownie and Stick McGhee, Leola Manning, Beauford and Joseph Delaney, and author Nikki Giovanni.
Saturday, July 17: Literary Heritage: From George Washington Harris and Frances Hodgson Burnett to Cormac McCarthy and Nikki Giovanni, Knoxville has been home to writers who helped create and expand American Literature. On this tour we’ll visit the scenes that inspired them and walk in the footsteps of their characters. Discussion will include other Knoxville writers, as well as a few visitors whose writing was inspired by their time in Knoxville.
Saturday, August 21: Reading, Writing and the Struggle for the Vote: Knoxville women have a proud heritage of misbehaving in the cause of justice. In the early 20th century, they formed their own literary societies to debate ideas, wrote books that are still read across the world, started schools for girls and taught them how to read, write and speak for themselves, and ran libraries that admitted everyone whatever their race, color or creed. Plus, they were leaders in the 70-year struggle to gain women’s right to vote. This is not a tour for the faint of heart.
Go here for more details on the tours.
Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library