Fire crews responded to a structure at a historic research center in New Market.
New Market Fire Department responded to a structure fire at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market around 5:30 a.m. Friday.
The fire was initially reported as a brush fire. A New Market Fire Department spokesperson said at the scene the building’s fire alarm system was not triggered.
One of the 10 buildings on the grounds was totally destroyed. The Highlander Center says the building housed the officers of the organization’s leadership and staff.
“The fire destroyed decades of historic documents, speeches, artifacts and memorabilia from movements of all kinds, including the Civil Rights Movement,” officials said in a statement.
The original center was founded in Monteagle in 1932. The center has been in New Market for nearly 50 years. The social justice and leadership research center educated many of the Civil Rights Movement’s most important figures including Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.