KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Oak Ridge is the home of Fred Brown, the first Black educator in Tennessee to teach in an integrated school back in 1955.
Also a part of Black history, 10 roads in the Scarboro Community named after Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Retired history teacher and former Scarboro resident, Cassandra Osborne, knows each of them.
“Fisk Avenue, Tuskegee Drive, which leads into Scarboro,” Osborne said.
Research by Lorena B. Whipple of UT shows the street names were used to identify whether someone was Black or non-Black.
“I look at it in terms of the larger picture of what was going on with segregation, in general, of not being able to go to different eating establishments, barbershops, laundry mats. All of those areas had to be integrated,” Osborne said.
Osborne said she used this history to create an opportunity for her students. They toured some of those HCUS’S, encouraging attendance and graduations.
“It was important to me for students to know their own history in terms of where they were coming from, because if you know where you’re coming from you at least have a base in terms of being grounded,” Osborne said.
Residents like Tamara Jones said the community has their own way of shining light.
“Scarboro is really a family community. Everybody is related in some kind of way.” said Jones. “I love it, and during Christmas – and before the pandemic happened- we would always have the parade, so we would have the fire trucks come through. every summer Scarboro has a reunion and so you have people come from all over.”
That’s how the East Tennessee community celebrates Black History any day out the year.
“Once you get to know the individual, you get to see the worth of the individual and I think that’s where we’ve finally gotten to the point of looking at the worth of the individual,” Osborne said.
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