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Tennessee Tech Research Group To Continue Founders’ Legacy

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Tech Research Group To Continue Founders’ Legacy

The Upper Cumberland Humanities and Social Sciences Institute will continue under new leadership.

Associate History Professor Troy Smith will serve as the entity’s new director. The group was founded in the early 80s by English professor Homer Kemp and history professor Calvin Dickenson. They were later joined by history professor Michael Birdwell.

“The end goal would be to increase knowledge and availability of knowledge about the Upper Cumberland region,” Smith said. “And subsidiary goals would be to work with students helping students, especially the social sciences and humanities majors.”

The organization’s first major project was to research and collect information from coal miners in Fentress County who participated in a large labor strike in the 1930s. Smith said that his first project will be to undertake a similar project, about individuals who worked in shirt factories and on tobacco farms.

Smith said that he wants to continue the organization not only for the work itself, but also to honor its founders, his former professors, mentors, colleagues and friends. In addition, as a life-long resident, it’s important to preserve the history

“I love the region and there is just so much hidden history here that could easily be lost if it’s not documented,” Smith said.

Smith said he plans to recruit students to the program by potentially offering as an internship-style course. He said he plans to involve history students and eventually other disciplines as well.

Smith said he hopes to kick off this work in the Spring 2024 semester.


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