KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is getting in front of the camera again as part of a new documentary series.
“Knox Narratives” will tell important stories about Knoxville, Knox County and East Tennessee history.
The first episode of the series features a conversation with Robert J. “Bob” Booker, a Knoxville native who has both made and preserved local Black history.
Booker was raised during the era of segregation in Knoxville, started a newspaper as a student at Austin High School, served in the Army in the 1950s, and became a champion of civil rights as a student at Knoxville College, serving twice as student body president and organizing peaceful protests that helped desegregate downtown Knoxville businesses in the 1960s.
“In his conversation with Mayor Jacobs, Booker shares memories of his many incredible experiences, recalls humorous moments during dire situations, gives his perspective on what made Knoxville different during the Civil Rights Movement, and offers his thoughts on the future of race relations,” a release from the mayor’s office states.
Booker also broke racial barriers in city and state governement.
In 1966, Booker became the first Black person elected to represent Knoxville in the state Legislature. After three terms as a state representative, Booker was appointed aide to Knoxville Mayor Kyle Testerman in 1972, making Booker the first Black administrator for the city government.
Later, Booker was named director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. Booker also authored five books and several booklets on local history.