Beck Cultural Exchange Center Knoxville, Tennessee
Beck Cultural Exchange CenterKnoxville, Tennessee


Protecting the Legacy is a statewide humanities project organized by Chick History that seeks help from the public to uncover local suffrage stories about Tennessee African American women and political activity as part of a commemoration project for the upcoming centennial of the 19th Amendment. The project is digitizing family and local history related to African American women’s political history in Tennessee prior to 1930.


For over a year, a statewide coalition of history partners has been working with communities across Tennessee to identify and document early African American women’s political history in an effort to expand the narrative of suffrage, voting, and political activity; and to preserve the contributions and experiences of African American women during this time period.


After a series of Knoxville Community Meetings in September and October, a public Digitization Event will be held in November. A team of scholars and archivists will be on hand for the public to bring in photographs and documents to be scanned and added to the growing collection of over 100 histories collected to date. Chick History is working with the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and the East Tennessee Historical Society as the host partners for work in the East Tennessee area.


“We are very excited to begin work in Knoxville and East Tennessee so that African American women receive the recognition they deserve and have a place in this significant part of American History,” said Rev. Renee Kesler, President of Beck Cultural Exchange Center and a member of the Protecting the Legacy Task Force and Committee. “Our local history is full of African American women actively working for their political enfranchisement, as well as the unintentional heroes who changed their community by everyday acts.

Protecting The Legacy Event
Upcoming Events - Identifying African American Women in Tennessee before 1930.
Protecting the Legacy Press Release.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [7.2 MB]

WOMEN IN BLACK is an international movement started by Israeli women in 1988 to protest Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. In Knoxville, we have held Women in Black vigils every Tuesday at Noon, in front of the Duncan Federal Building, for 16 years – standing in the heat, cold, rain, and snow, as well as all the beautiful weather! We stand in solidarity with our Israeli sisters who have been speaking out for decades against Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. We express our concern for a just peace between Israel and Palestine and ask our government to use its power and influence to end Israel’s illegal occupation. (Please feel free to join us any Tuesday noon).


Knoxville Women in Black has been marking our 15th Anniversary with a series of events – a community potluck, a memorial service, films and discussions.  Planning is now underway for a roundtable discussion among people who have participated in multiracial and interfaith solidarity work and delegations from the US learning about Palestine and Israel.  


We seek to encourage connections between groups that are working in different ways on liberation, anti-oppression, policy and electoral strategies – to consider that fulfilling our dream(s) of social justice calls us to consider more than any one issue.  We are reaching out to and welcoming people who are already active, people who want to become active, and people who want to learn. 


Intersecting Identities and Social Justice”  

A moderator/facilitator will invite each speaker’s own story about identity/identities and the discussion will lift up the intersections in identities as well as in movements.  We want to hear, for example, why Black Lives Matter and other people of color groups in the US care about the struggles of Palestinians and indigenous peoples; why Palestinians care about indigenous peoples, Black Lives Matter and other people of color groups; and why Jewish people care about the lives of people of color.  The speakers and the audience will be encouraged to consider:  What do we hold in common in experiences, strategies and aspirations?  What are our mutual interests?  How can we work together?  

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Previous Beck Events

Juneteenth Events @ Beck
Juneteenth 2018 Press Release.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [47.4 KB]

Beck Receives PEACE AWARD

The Inaugural Presentation of the Rotary Club of Knoxville 2017 PEACE AWARD to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center.



The Rotary Club of Knoxville 

Hereby Honors The 


With The 



In Recognition of the Beck Center's Past And Ongoing Efforts To Make Our Community More Peaceful



Tuesday, May 23, 2017 -12 Noon

Rotary Peace Garden

Knoxville Museum of Art


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Beck Cultural Exchange Center
1927 Dandridge Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37915



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