Tent City | Tennessee Vacation

Tent City

Hwy 76S & La Grange Rd.
Somerville, TN 00000

When the Fayette County Civic and Welfare League conducted the first voter registration drive among African-American citizens in the rural South, many who participated were forced from their homes. This marker stands on the spot of the "Tent City" encampment that became their refuge.

A small plot of land donated by Shepherd Towles became known as "Tent City" and was home to these citizens who had no homes, no money, and no food. The story spread quickly throughout the state, where other African-American citizens were actively engaging in sit-ins and desegregating bus lines and lunch counters. In 1959, the Fayette County Democratic Executive Committee was charged with failing to let African-Americans vote in the Democratic primary, the first federal lawsuit brought under the 1957 Civil Rights Act.

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