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Christopher Thornock to Speak on African American Communities in Western Kentucky Along the Lower Tennessee River
Christopher Thornock, archeologist at LBL

The March 7th meeting of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society will feature Christopher L. Thornock, an Archaeologist and the Heritage Program Manager at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, speaking on "African-American Lives and Landscapes on the Lower Tennessee River." The meeting will be held at the Hotel Metropolitan, 724 Oscar Cross Ave., Paducah beginning at 10:30 am. A brief business meeting will precede the talk. The program is free and open to all.

The African American Heritage of the Southern United States is rich and much more complex than the commonly discussed topics of plantation slavery and the civil rights movement. Thornock's presentation delves into the diverse histories of several African American communities, both slave and free, in Western Kentucky along the lower Tennessee River. Among the topics he will discussed are mixed-race farming families with both slave and free members, the substantial labor force of the region's Iron Industry both during and after slavery, the displacement of communities, and the biographies of individuals and their families living in Western Kentucky throughout the 1800s and into the 1960s.

"We are very excited to have Christopher Thornock share his research with our members," JPHS Vice-President Richard Parker said. "He has brought to life a forgotten segment of our local history and has spent countless years researching African American communities on the lower Tennessee River," Parker concluded.

In 1958, a group of historians met in Murray, Kentucky led by faculty from Murray State University and University of Tennessee-Martin and formed the Jackson Purchase Historical Society to promote interest, study, and preservation of the regional history of the territory encompassed in the Treaty of Tuscaloosa, known as the Jackson Purchase. The society holds a number of meetings each year with a speaker on Jackson Purchase history, publishes an award-winning journal on local history, and has recently launched an online Encyclopedia of the Jackson Purchase. Members include a wide range of people who simply have a love of history and a love of the Jackson Purchase area. Anyone interested in Jackson Purchase history is welcome to join the JPHS. Information about membership and future programs is available on the society's website: http://jacksonpurchasehistory.org/

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