Restoration of Fort Anderson on
Militia Hill by Coal Creek Scholars
and other volunteers

Saturday, 5 November 2016

"These leaves won't rake themselves."
That's what elementary-school student
Riley Mozingo said when she refused
to take a break from the work.

Saturday was a WONDERFUL morning for our Coal Creek Scholar workday at historic Fort Anderson on Militia Hill. We sanded and painted the cannon where vandals had carved into it, cut trees blocking the view from the overlook, picked up lots of broken glass, and trimmed weeds, shrubs, and small trees from the trenches.

BIG thanks to the parents who joined us as a great example to their children, and especially to Charles Cox and Greg Campbell for bringing their chainsaws to cut down more trees to enhance the view into the town of Coal Creek. Always thankful for the sentry of Militia Hill, Gary Tackett! Students earned credit towards our Coal Creek Scholarships! The police showed up to file reports on vandalism and attempted theft of the cannon. Cameras were installed for security—so SMILE!!

Why is this site important?  It’s because slavery did not end in Tennessee with the Civil War, it ended with the Coal Creek War.  The Tennessee Constitution of 1870 outlawed slavery, “except as a punishment for crime.”  Tennessee was heavily in debt due to investments in railroads after the Civil War, so the state found it could enrich state coffers by leasing its convicts to build railroads and work in coal mines.  The more convicts arrested in Tennessee, the more money the state could make.  That led to incarceration of young black men on the streets of Nashville and Memphis, often for petty crimes, as a form of Jim Crow Law.

Labor unions had no opportunity to organize in Tennessee because if members went on strike, they could be fired and replaced with convict labor.  That is until Coal Creek miners took up arms to fight the Tennessee National Guard to abolish convict leasing in Tennessee. 

As the base of operations of the Tennessee National Guard during the Coal Creek War, Fort Anderson on Militia Hill stands as a reminder that you can beat a dog only so long before it dies or rises up and eats you. 

Campbell, Greg
Campbell, Ian
Campbell, Samantha
Cox, Charles
Cox, Nathan
Cox, Valissa
Foster, Benny
Foster, Sean
Harmon, Joshalyn
Jenkins, Peyton
Lamb, Noah
Moore, Carol
Mozingo, Riley
Mozingo, Skylar
Mozingo, Tomeka
Payne, Javen
Phillips, Kaylee
Roldan, Louisa
Roldan, Tonya
Tackett, Gary
Thacker, Barry
Vanbrackle, Natalie
Whitaker, Chad
Wilson, Isaiah

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