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African American library exhibit
29 Fleming descendants have said they're coming.
"We get together once a year and celebrate, learn about history and honor people who made contributions."
Both are incessant collectors of photos, census records, documents and letters. For both historians, it's a love of reuniting people and keeping stories alive, as their relatives did for them.
With the theme A Struggle for Freedom, the event strives to tell the role Michael Kors Jet Set Patent Leather Tote
Thelma Battle holds a photo of the Hattie Mae Fleming Douglas and Henry Douglas families.
"This is an exciting night," said Alma McLemore with the African American Heritage Society. "Hundreds come out to show support. Some who haven't seen each other in years. It's like a family reunion.
Three sets of the Flemings will be honored as the Pioneer Family, meaning their roots in Williamson County can be traced to 1850. Another set of Flemings will be honored as the Freedom Family for its many contributions to the community.
After months of research, Battle sent letters to descendants of the Flemings, telling them of a heritage they may not know Michael Kors Ava Black about and inviting them to the Black Tie Affair to be honored. About Choose Michael Kors Backpack
Friday night's Black Tie Affair comes at the beginning of Black History Month and the beginning of a year that will see thousands of people come through Franklin to tour Civil War sites for 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.
Affair in Franklin celebrates cultural history
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Battle and Warwick bring the history alive as walking encyclopedias of memories. Poring over photos, one tells a story about a mother or father, and the other will chime in about a nephew, where he lived and what he did for a living.
This year's event will honor four separate groups in the Fleming family. All were slaves at Sunnyside Plantation along Columbia Pike.
of African Americans during and after the war. It also serves as a fundraiser for the McLemore House Museum, a home built around 1880 by former slave Harvey McLemore at the corner of 11th Avenue North and Glass Street in Franklin.
"I always respected older people, listening to their stories, they can carry you back so far," Battle said. "It's a soothing feeling."
"If she hadn't started when she did, identities would be impossible," said Warwick of Battle, who began her history quest decades ago as a hobby. "It's a partnership, no doubt about that," said Warwick, historian with the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County.
Throughout February, the Williamson County Public Library will show an exhibit, Local African Americans in the Civil War. Compiled by Thelma Battle, the collection of photos and documents is in the library's Special Collections department. A booklet explaining the photos and documents will be available there.
Money raised will go toward getting more period furniture in the front room and for other improvements.
The Black Tie Affair, now in its 13th year, honors African American ancestry and achievements in education, ministry and business.
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