A truck drives past old coke ovens along the side of the road at South Cumberland State Park near Tracy City, Tenn., on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Prisoners who had been leased to the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company after the Civil War once worked these ovens. Researchers are looking for the graves of an estimated 500 Black people who died while being forced to work for the coal company. JEREMY HARMON / THE TENNESSEAN
Tennessean- Gaping wide like gateways to the center of the earth, the coke furnaces along Lake Road in South Cumberland State Park stand as remnants of what was once Tennessee’s most productive coal mining operation.
Staffed by prisoners forced to work these sweltering coke furnaces and surrounding mines in Tracy City, it was also one of the state’s deadliest.
Between 1871 and 1896, at least 5,000 prisoners — most of them Black — were sent to Tracy City to work for the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company as part of the state’s convict leasing system, a post-Civil War substitute for slavery that allowed companies to obtain unpaid labor in exchange for managing the state’s prison population.
The Williamson County seal is on the wall the auditorium of the Administrative Complex in Franklin. The Tennessee Historical Commission has allowed the county to alter the image of the Confederate flag, which is draped over a cannon in the upper left quadrant. File photo
Brentwood Homepage- Members of the Tennessee Historical Commission voted unanimously Friday to effectively permit Williamson County to alter a portion of its county seal that depicts an image of a Confederate flag draped over a cannon