Look Back: Ex-slave Benjamin Carr became teacher at Tenn State

 

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Fran Cutrell Rutkovsky was raised in Dixon Springs, but has ties with Hartsville and she and her husband subscribe to The Vidette. She recently contacted me to say that she had run across some historical reference to a fellow from here who made an important contribution to Tennessee State University in Nashville. She asked me if I had ever heard of him.

I hadn’t, but I quickly set to work to find out more about this amazing fellow.

I contacted the Tennessee State University library and asked the librarian if she had any information on Mr. Carr, who was also the school’s first agriculture teacher. She not only had his biography but she also had his “autobiography”!

Benjamin Carr had written down his own history!

I quote from the first page:

“I was born a slave on the farm of Jordan Carr, in Macon County, and with the exception of a few months in Kentucky, I have spent my whole life in Trousdale County, Tenn. As a boy I worked for different white farmers in this vicinity. From these I got my training and the inspiration for future work.”

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