According to simplyyellowpages, Tennessee is best known as the center and focal point of the black civil rights movement. Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis in 1967. As a result, the political landscape of the state changed earlier than in other southern states. Soon the conservative Southern Democrats lost their hegemony. Since the presidential election in 1952, the Republicans have been able to establish themselves more and more in government and the Democrats have rarely been able to win in Al Gore’s home state. Today, Tennessee is considered the Red State, i.e. one of the states in which a majority for the Republican candidate can be expected in presidential elections.
Tennessee and the death penalty
Tennessee is one of the states in the United States that still carries out the death penalty today. There have been eight executions since 1976, the last in August 2019. The convicted inmates can choose between lethal injection and the electric chair as the method of execution.
For some years now, convicted prisoners have been able to choose between lethal injection and the electric chair as the execution method for executions. Execution with the electric chair is possible again after the then Governor Bill Haslam signed a law in 2014 that restored the electric chair to the primary method if the execution of the death penalty by lethal injection is not possible due to supply shortages. As a result, an electric chair execution was carried out for the first time in Tennessee in 2018. Previously, no convict had been killed in this manner in the entire United States since 2013.
A trip into the history of Tennessee
Today’s state of Tennessee can look back on a long and eventful history, but also on a history that has many downsides. The area was settled by the Paleo-Indians around 12,000 years ago, as projectile points prove. The Paleo-Indians are considered to be the ancestors of all modern Native Americans. The paleo-indigenous people were probably hunters and gatherers and lived in small family groups. Other sites indicate a settlement during the Archaic (around 8,000 to 1,000 BC) and the Woodland period (1,000 BC – 1,000 AD). Villages from the Mississippi culture (dating from 1,000 to 1,600) can be found along many of the state’s rivers.
It is known that the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto crossed the area east of the Mississippi between 1539 and 1543. Which Indians lived in the area of what is now Tennessee in the 16th and 17th centuries has not yet been precisely researched, it is known that the Cherokee lived permanently in Tennessee in the 18th century, even if the Chickasaw controlled the west of the present state.
When colonization by European colonists began, the Indians (e.g. the Muskogee and Yuchi tribes) were pushed further south and west by the settlers, who were predominantly of English descent. As early as 1824 the Bureau of Indian Affairs was established, which was entrusted with the administration of Indian affairs. The task of the office was to protect the Indians from civilians and not the civilians from Indian raids.
However, it was significantly involved in the resettlement of the Indians. Among other things, around 17,000 Cherokee were deported to western Arkansas together with around 2,000 African-American slaves from 1838 to 1839 in a forced march, which went down in the inglorious history of the expulsion of the Indians by the settlers as the path of tears. Around 4,000 Indians did not survive the Trail of Tears. Today, several museums commemorate the Cherokee forced march, which will probably go down for ages as the Trail of Tears with the history of the colonists and the Native Americans and African Americans. The Yuchi, along with the Creek, were forced to relocate to Oklahoma.
The first attempts to create a state in the USA were made between 1785 and 1788 and the state of Franklin was founded in the east. However, this did not last long after the establishment due to Indian raids and disputes with the government of North Carolina. The Southwest Territory existed between 1790 and 1796. The Southwest Territory was more or less lawless because the North Carolina government failed to establish proper administration and leadership in the Southwest Territory.
Part of this historic territory became Tennessee’s 16th state in 1796. But only until the state joined the Confederate States of America on July 2nd. Several battles of the American Civil War took place on the soil of the southern state. After the end of the war, Tennessee abolished slavery in its new constitution and became the first of the breakaway states to become a member of the USA again on July 24, 1866 after the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution had been ratified. Tennessee was the only one in the former southern states to ratify the amendment at the time.
However, although slavery was the first state in the USA to be abolished in Tennessee, it was also the state in which six Confederate officers founded the original Ku Klux Klan in the 1860s colored population.
Tennessee itself experienced an enormous economic boom in the 20th century and became an important industrial location in the United States, thanks in part to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In the 60s and 70s of the 20th century, the southern state was the focus of the civil rights movement to enforce the civil rights of the Afro-American population, as it was considered one of the most backward states in terms of equality at the time.
It was not until 1967 that the Supreme Court forced the southern state to lift the ban on mixed marriages. Tennessee was one of the last states in the country where these were officially allowed. In addition, a law from Tennessee in 1975 was also declared illegal by the Court of Justice, which stipulated that the history of creation should be given the same space as the theory of evolution in biology classes in schools.