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Knoxville College partners with Department of Interior to restore historic buildings

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The historic Knoxville College could be getting a second chance at life, as early as Friday.

The century-old institution is drawing national attention from several agencies, including the federal government. 

While still in the early stages, Friday's Campus Restoration Planning Tour is a major step in ensuring the 143-year-old historical landmark is not only preserved but also kept alive in some way. 

According to a news release sent out by Knoxville College Board of Trustees, the U.S. Department of the Interior will partner with the college to restore every historic building on campus. 

In part, that begins with a preservation officer from the DOI visiting Knoxville College Friday to photograph the historic buildings for listing on the National Registry of Historic Places. 

The registry agreed to partner with the college in securing the money needed to restore the historic icon of Tennessee and American history. 

The once-historically black college served as a focal point during the Confederacy and the Civil Rights Movement. 

Most notably, it was the scene of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s commencement speech, that inspired Knoxville College students to lead the local Sit-in Movement desegregating downtown public facilities and ultimately making Tennessee the first of 14 Southern states to abandon Jim Crow laws. 


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