For Tennessee’s heritage tourism visitors and residents alike, there is a booklet to almost 100 properties that tell how the decade after the Civil War – what is called the Reconstruction era – changed Tennessee and Tennesseans. Tennessee’s Reconstruction Past: A Driving Tour highlights historic churches, schools, cemeteries and communities. Prepared by the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, the guide encourages everyone to visit the sites across the state and explore our Reconstruction legacies.
The Reconstruction era is one of the most compelling periods in Tennessee history. African Americans became legal citizens and African American men gained the right to vote. A new state constitution, still in effect today, was ratified in 1870. Nine new counties were created between 1870 and 1871. Across the state, new communities, new churches and new schools opened their doors, creating challenges and opportunities for all citizens. “We cannot understand Tennessee today without understanding how the years after the Civil War charted new directions in Tennessee education, religion and politics as they also created a new definition of citizenship for all Tennesseans,” says Dr. Carroll Van West, Tennessee State Historian and Director of MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation.
To obtain a print copy of the driving tour, visit The Heritage Center, located at 225 West College Street, Murfreesboro, or contact the Center at 615-217-8013.