Preservation, Public History, and the Rural African American Church: Emery Methodist Church, Rutherford County, Tennessee, 1869 – Present

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Matrone, Alexis Anne
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Middle Tennessee State University
For so long Historic Preservation has widely centered its efforts around large and beautiful architecture, homes of well-known individuals within American history, and historic districts. This project aims to widen the boundaries of preservation efforts while simultaneously highlighting the rich African American history within Rutherford County, Tennessee, during the Reconstruction era and beyond. Reconstruction was a vital time for the development of African American communities. At the center was the church, but unfortunately, many of these church buildings, and eventually histories, are lost to the times of suburban sprawl and gentrification. This project works to provide the history of Emery United Methodist Church, its congregants, and the surrounding community and work towards protecting the church building and historic documents. This study provides to the overall history of Rutherford County during the years of Reconstruction and provides an understanding of the importance of African American communities and the role that Public Historians and Historic Preservationists can play in working towards their protection and survival.
African American, Church, Emery United Methodist Church, Historic Preservation, Public History, Rutherford County Tennessee, History