From cold and rainy Remington, Indiana, we are writing about Tennessee.  First, we want you to know that John and Tyler have cycled 2253 miles.  John and Kipp have walked 336 miles.

We have a lot to tell you about Tennessee, beginning with an article about Tennessee’s quest for statehood:  The following two paragraphs are the first and last of a carefully researched article by David Gorgani, who interned in 2008 as a Research Associate at The U.S. Council for Puerto Rico Statehood. 

“Tennessee’s struggle to attain equality and statehood arose from both territorial resident interest, repeated attempts to join the union and an unwillingness of external actors, including North Carolina and the federal government, to accede to the territory’s wishes. As the first territory to join the union, Tennessee’s admission as the sixteenth state set a precedent for future territories that aspired and desired to attain statehood and equal standing with those states already admitted. Although the United States Government experienced its most significant evolution during this period in the late 1700’s – from foundation in the Articles of Confederation to the U.S. Constitution – the absence of federal support for statehood for Tennessee was consistently the most significant obstacle to Tennessee’s admission.

Since the Southwest Territory was the first Federal territory to present itself for admission to the Union, there was some uncertainty in Congress about how to proceed, and Congress was somewhat divided on the issue of Tennessee’s statehood. In addition to Federalist Party concerns that a new Jeffersonian state would disrupt their majority in Congress, the Senate committee considering the issue stated that “only Congress should initiate the statehood process,” and that the census taken by Tennessee’s officials “was not valid since it was not directed or supervised by the Federal Government.”5 The committee drafted Senate Bill 46, which required a federally overseen census of the territory prior to admission. Nonetheless, a bill supporting statehood was passed by the House, and in conference the two chambers resolved that Tennessee would become a state provided that one elector and one representative were removed from the Tennessee delegation. On June 1, 1796 Tennessee was admitted to the union as its sixteenth state.”

Three American Presidents claimed Tennessee as their home state.

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President.

James K. Polk was the 11th President.

Andrew Johnson was the 17th President:

According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture website, agricultural production generates more than $2.8 billion annually in farm cash receipts.  Nearly $300 million is generated by timber sales.

Farmland covers approximately 44% of the state of Tennessee.  Tennessee’s top five revenue-producing agricultural products are beef cattle and calves, broilers (young chickens), soybeans, greenhouse and nursery products, and cotton.

Memphis is home to the National Civil Rights Museum:

“In 1909 W.C. Handy and his band moved to Memphis, Tennessee where they established their headquarters on the famous Beale Street. Handy’s years of observing the reactions of white people to native black music as well as his own study of the music, habits and attitudes of his race, began to affect his music sparking the beginnings of what would later be called “the blues.” The first composition of this type was a campaign song that Handy composed for E. H. Crump, a Memphis candidate for mayor who was running on a reform platform. The song, “Mr. Crump,” was later titled “Memphis Blues” and became very popular.”

Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock-n-Roll,” was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948.  His musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager.

Aretha Franklin, who was born in Memphis and grew up in Detroit, Michigan, was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940 into a large black family in Clarksville, Tennessee — the 20th of 22 children. Her parents were honest, hardworking people but very poor.  Wilma was born prematurely and, as a young child, had many childhood illnesses, including polio.  With the help of her family she learned to walk again and on September 7th, 1960, in Rome, Wilma became the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in the Olympics. She won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and ran the anchor on the 400-meter relay team.

Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry:  

You’ve been up in the clouds with grand opera; now get down to earth with us in a shindig of grand ole opry!”  With those words in 1927, George Dewey Hay—known to listeners as “The Solemn Old Judge”—officially christened the show that would become radio’s longest-running musical program.

Grand Ole Opry actually began asThe WSM Barn Dance in November of 1925, as a one-hour showcase for rural music. By the 1930s, the show had expanded to four hours and station WSM/Nashville had expanded to 50,000 watts, making the show a Saturday night musical tradition in nearly 30 states. In 1939, the Grand Ole Opry began an affiliation with NBC that lasted until 1957.

Many country music legends debuted and became regulars on Grand Ole Opry, including singers Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline and comedians Minnie Pearl and Archie Campbell. Pearl, with her trademark greeting of “How-deee!” and a $1.98 price tag dangling from her hat, was an Opry regular for over 50 years.

Grand Ole Opry is still heard every week on WSM, presenting the best in country music from the past and present.

Grand Ole Opry was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.

 As with every state we have visited, there is so much more to learn….







2 Comments for this entry

  • Tamara Hogsett
    May 6th, 2012

    Love all the trivia you are sharing with us. Our knowledge is increasing and our appreciation for this wonderful country is also increasing. THANKS!

  • Alysa Ullman
    April 29th, 2012

    Thanks to your Tennessee trivia I am learning a lot more about this wonderful state. I love reading your fabulous blogs and can’t wait to hear more about your travels!!

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