Changing Interpretations: The Homes of Tennessee's Presidents and the Issue of Slavery

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Baud, Lauren
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Middle Tennessee State University
Historic sites in the Southeast region of the United States have long struggled with slavery, a topic that is often ignored or marginalized in site interpretation. At a time when more and more sites are looking toward long-term sustainability and building audiences, this issue is pertinent. This thesis discusses how Tennessee's three presidential sites handled the issue of slavery in the past, how they handle it currently, and how it could be improved. All three either have at one point struggled or continue to struggle with the issue of slavery, like so many other historic house museums in the Southeast. It also details the importance of the inclusion of this story in site interpretation at the three homes in question as evidenced by the opinions of visitors to the sites and the opinions of historians who have studied these three sites and other eighteenth and nineteenth century presidential sites.
Historic house, Interpretation, Plantation, President, Slavery, Tennessee