Knoxville’s 1st Black state representative and local author honored

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The East Tennessee History Center has dedicated a reading room in honor of Robert J. Booker and Jack Neely and their efforts to preserve Knoxville’s History.

A dedication ceremony for the Booker-Neely Microfilm Reading Room was held on June 1 as a part of Tennessee’s 225th Statehood Day. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Commission Chairman Larsen Jay, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, and City Councilman Tommy Smith made the presentation.

Booker was Knoxville’s first black Tennessee State Representative in 1966. He is now a civil rights and community leader known for his efforts to preserve Knoxville’s Black history. Neely has been a writer and editor in Knoxville for more than 20 years, and since 2014, he has been the executive director of the Knoxville History Project.

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