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McKinney to welcome ‘Black in Appalachia’ director for discussion on cultural spaces


Join the McKinney Center in hosting William Isom II of the Black in Appalachia project, for a discussion on loss, preservation and reuse of black cultural infrastructure in the region. From schools and churches to clubs and business spaces, William will share what he’s seen across the broad scope of the landscape. William Isom II is an East Tennessee native & the director of Black in Appalachia. He coordinates the project’s research, community data base development, documentary film & photography production, oral history collection and educational events with residents. This discussion will be hosted on an online Zoom meeting beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, and is free and open to the public.

The McKinney Center at the Booker T. Washington School, originally known as the Booker T. Washington School, was completed in 1939, and was the first Works Progress Administration (WPA) built building in Washington County. The school opened its doors for black school-age children from grades 1 through 8 in 1940 and served in this capacity until integration in 1965. This building was the primary education facility for hundreds of African-American students in the community. Around 2010, the Town of Jonesborough purchased the building and restored it to create the arts and community center the building still serves as, now. In November 2013, the building officially opened as the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School, named in honor of not only Ernest L. McKinney, a past principal of the school, but his entire family, who did so much to serve the people of Jonesborough.

Today the McKinney Center serves the region through art classes, workshops, art exhibits, community events, as a rental facility and much more. 

Find out more about Black in Appalachia and all they do at:

Zoom meeting ID: 811 7519 8951. Password: mckinney. For additional questions or concerns please contact Skye McFarland at [email protected] or call (423) 753-0562.