How is it going blog readers?
Welcome to another episode of historic tales from the history students of Cumberland University. We left you with our trip of the Wild West or better known as New Mexico. The 2011 New Mexico trip was one for the record books. Today the history students will tackle the history of our own beloved state, the state of Tennessee. We will be traveling through Tennessee looking at historical sites that have forever shaped our state. Our trip began last week in the little city of Whitwell, Tennessee. We traveled to this small town to observe a project started by students of the local high school. Our very own Taylor McDaniel was a part of this project. This project is in honor of the eleven million individuals that were involved in the Holocaust. The paper clips that were gathered and counted by the students, came to a grand total of thirty million paper clips. The students were able to place eleven million paper clips inside an actual rail car that Adolf Hitler used to transport the Jewish people during the Holocaust. This project has taken these students around the world, and it is located right here in the volunteer state. After a good old home cooked meal by the grandma of Taylor McDaniel that this city slicker loved, we traveled to the historic town Dayton, Tennessee.
Dayton,Tennessee is home to the famous Scopes Monkey Trial that took place in July of 1925. The trial was broadcast throughout the county and lasted eleven days. The trial consisted of high-profile attorneys such as William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow. The case involved a high school biology teacher by the name of John Scopes, who decided to teach evolution. In the time that Scopes chose to teach evolution, America was in a time where the Bible was considered the true word to the people. This fundamentalist movement crashed into a new belief system and the battle would take place in Dayton, Tennessee. At the end of trial Scopes was charged with $100.00 fine and no actual ruling was made. The high-profile attorney William Jennings Bryan died later that month at the age of sixty-five. This debate still goes on to this day, with no sign of ever being put to rest.
One week later, the class got together again for another walk through history. This walk was led by a man who is known all around the world. He is followed by millions of people, it is the Pope. Actually, that was a joke–our Pope doesn’t wear a hat or ride in bubble-shaped car. This Pope is to us what Babe Ruth is to the Yankees. Yankee Stadium is the house that Ruth built and our Pope built the place known as “THE HERMITAGE”. Monty Pope is the professor that is taking us on these historical field trips and today we went to his favorite place. This place is home to America’s seventh president. This president was the only president in history to pay off the national debt, and he moved the Native Americans onto reservations. He was nicknamed “Old Hickory” and his name is Andrew Jackson. Our time at the Hermitage was joined by another Jackson “fan”, Dr. Mark Cheathem. As we took our tour of the complex, you would think you were with celebrities. Dr. Cheathem and Dr. Pope are leading us with even the tour guides listening in with an open ears, telling us how the house burned down. When Jackson returned from Washington, he built a new home and it’s the one that stands today. They showed us the driveway and how over time the complex has changed. Dr. Pope told us a story of a bird that Jackson had that was taught to say curse words and at a funeral the bird just started shouting words that many thought were funny but the Jackson family thought were embarrassing. The bird‘s location after this moment was never known again. Our time at Jackson’s home was great and you could see that Pope and Cheathem felt right at home. Prior to going to see the house that Pope built we drove through the area that is known as Lakewood or the company town. This area is home to DuPont Factories. Pope took us around the town and showed us where he grew up as young boy. He showed us his old home, and along the way we figured out that he and my aunt Betty Jackson were in the same graduating class at DuPont High.
As Pope walked down memory lane showing us around, his special lady was able to cherish the moment as well. Mrs. Pace Pope spent the day with us taking in the moments just as we did. Yes, today was a walk through history. Whether it was learning about Andrew Jackson or looking at how a factory can make a town popular, the day was fun. The meaning of the trip today is “that no matter the time period or the event, history is something that is all around us. And that history is meant to be learned from and looked upon as a piece of the ever changing puzzle known as time”.
So stay tuned for our next walk though history, you never know where the footsteps may take us.