Beck Cultural Exchange Center
Knoxville’s foremost African-American historical and cultural center is the Beck Cultural Exchange Center (1927 Dandridge Ave., 865/524-8461, www.beckcenter.net, Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., free). Founded in 1975, Beck is a museum, education center, archive, and community gathering place. In addition to putting on a variety of programs throughout the year, Beck welcomes visitors who want to learn more about Knoxville’s African-American history.
Among Beck’s permanent exhibits is the William H. Hastie Room, dedicated to preserving the memory of the Knoxville native who became the first black governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1946 and the first African-American federal judge in the United States four years later.
Beck also features a gallery with photographs and biographies of prominent African Americans from Knoxville. The center also preserves the history of the struggle to desegregate Knoxville’s public schools, the University of Tennessee, and Maryville College.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition