I am surprised that this is not getting more news coverage.
The Highlander Folk School was founded in 1932 in Grundy County, Tennessee to train labor organizers. By the 1950s, it became a center for training civil rights workers. Rosa Parks prepared for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott at the school. Septima Clark, Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, Pete Seeger, Ralph Abernathy, and John Lewis also studied there.
Today it is known as the Highlander Research and Education Center (it moved to New Market, TN in 1971).
On March 29, 2019, the Center burned to the ground. Here is NBC News:
A Tennessee social justice center that has hosted iconic civil rights leaders was destroyed in a fire and a “white power” symbol was found on the site, the center said.
The symbol, which officials did not describe but said was connected to the white power movement, was discovered after the main office was completely destroyed in a fire last week, the Highlander Research and Education Center said in a news release Tuesday. It was spray-painted on the parking lot connected to the main office.
No one was hurt in Friday’s blaze.
“While we don’t know the names of the culprits, we know that the white power movement has been increasing and consolidating power across the South, across this nation, and globally,” Highlander said. “Since 2016, the white power movement has become more visible, and we’ve seen that manifest in various ways, both subtle and overt.”
Highlander’s main office was home to decades’ worth of documents, speeches and memorabilia that was lost in the fire, the center said on Facebook.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday said in a statement that investigators were working with state bomb and arson agents to determine the cause of the fire.
“We are investigating a symbol that was painted in the parking area of the office to see if it has any affiliation to any individual or group,” the sheriff’s office said.
Highlander’s office burned one day after the Oklahoma Democratic Party headquarters and a Chickasaw Nation office were vandalized with racist graffiti. The offices were spray-painted with messages that included a swastika, “1488” — which is frequently used by white supremacists and refers to Adolf Hitler — and anti-Chinese slurs.
Read the entire piece here.
Scholars of the civil rights movement: How devastating is the archival loss?