I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage

I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage

Opens at West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center

The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center kicks off its 20th Anniversary by presenting the exhibition, I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage, opening January 12. The exhibition, organized by the Tennessee State Museum, gives a snapshot of Tennessee’s rich African American musical heritage and its influence on worldwide musical genres.

The exhibit runs from January 12 through March 3, 2018.

“I am excited to kick off our year-long 20th Anniversary celebration with an exhibition that will mean so much to our community here in Haywood Country,” says Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Executive Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. “Some of the most influential African Americans that would impact music and culture around the globe resided here in Haywood Country. From an international, record-setting icon Tina Turner to the blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes and many others, we’ve been preserving and exhibiting the African American heritage for 20 years and are honored that we are the first museum to host the ‘I Have a Voice’ exhibition.”

The exhibit introduces viewers to many famous Tennessee music legends — Bessie Smith, who was nicknamed the “Empress of the Blues;” B.B. King, often referred to as the “King of the Blues;” Grand Ole Opry star DeFord Bailey; and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Tina Turner. The exhibit gives visitors a chance to hear the voices of the many Tennessee African American men and women who made their mark on American music from ragtime to Motown. Visitors can view YouTube videos of various performers and musicians featured in the exhibition on their smart phones or tablets through the use of QR-coded links. Educators who are interested in teaching about Tennessee’s African American musical heritage will be provided with curriculum-based educational lesson activities.

To read more about the new exhibition, click here.