Bessie Smith Cultural Center Partnership

Thanks to a Centennial and Beyond grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation, NPP is facilitating a two-year community partnership between the National Park Service and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. We kicked things off with a community visioning session to learn from the underserved neighborhoods surrounding our National Park about what the Park means to them. We also sought to understand how programming could address the lesser-known stories of African-American experiences before, during, and after the Civil War.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, Park Rangers brought those stories to life through in-depth discussions open to the community (see the Park calendar for events at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center). The National Park Service created a Reconstruction Era exhibit at BSCC in the fall of 2017, and an exhibit on the Civil Rights Amendments (13-14-15) to the Constitution is scheduled to open in October of 2018.

NPP is joining with the Ed Johnson Memorial Project to launch a walking tour map of African-American historic sites around downtown Chattanooga. Please visit back for more details as we will host a community event for the launch of the new map in August.

Jessica Blankenship