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The blacksouthcumberland.org alliance comprises a constellation of communities that grew up around schools for African American children in the South Cumberland Plateau region of Tennessee. The website focuses on these “school communities” and highlights the educators and the educational resources they started and sustained: eleven in Franklin County and one in Grundy County. These schools were place-making pillars that encouraged and supported networks of kin, vocation, and neighborly ties that linked and bound residents in their own neighborhoods and with those in surrounding “school communities.”

Many African American people with roots in this region have not forgotten this history and have worked for years to preserve and tell it. With few resources beyond “sweat equity,” they have organized to preserve the places and histories of African American enterprise and community life that gave opportunity, meaning, and joy to generations of people in this region.

The blacksouthcumberland.org alliance and website, sponsored by the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South, salutes these community projects. It also provides them with a stable and durable online foundation for collecting, preserving, and making public the African American history of the region.