McLemore House summer 2022

McLemore House Museum

The African American Heritage Society of Williamson County will hold its second Porch Talks session of the season Friday after the monthly event had been tabled the last couple of years from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restoration of the McLemore House Museum.

Scheduled to speak at Friday’s 11 a.m. talk is Learotha Williams Jr., professor of African American History at Tennessee State University. He is a scholar of African American, Civil War, Reconstruction and Public History at the university, where he teaches courses that explore African American, Public History and Public Memory. Williams is also coordinator of the North Nashville Heritage Project and Middle Tennessee African American Heritage Collective at Tennessee State University.  

July’s Porch Talks follows the one held last month that featured Bill Ratcliff, United States Colored Troops reenactor, 13th Regiment, sharing his 30-year story as a reenactor.

Renovation and repairs to the McLemore House Museum in the Hard Bargain neighborhood were completed last December, and with the coronavirus cases having decreased in recent months, it’s basically back to business at the home of the formerly enslaved Harvey McLemore.

In addition to the return of Porch Talks, Saturday tours of the museum have resumed as well.  

“With the Porch Talks series, professionals and representatives of historic preservation and interpretation of African American history and culture are invited to discuss, share their knowledge and expertise, and their stories with the attendees,” Alma McLemore, president of the African American Heritage Society, said in an email.

As for Friday’s guest speaker, Williams’ recent publications include a bestselling book, I’ll Take You There: Exploring Nashville’s Social Justice Sites; a work he co-edited with Amie Thurber, “Black Faces Along the Cumberland Basin” in John Guider’s Voyage of the Adventure Retracing the Donelson Party’s Journey to the Founding of Nashville; “Hewing Stones of Hope in a City of Discarded Rocks” in Marin Sullivan’s The Sculpture of William Edmondson: Tombstones, Garden Ornaments, and Stonework; and “A Balm in Gilead: Love, Hope, and Despair in North Nashville” in Katy Delmez’ Murals of North Nashville Now. These works were published by Vanderbilt University Press between 2019 and 2021.

While Porch Talks is typically held on the front porch of the McLemore House, this week’s heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service could cause the event to be moved elsewhere or at least indoors of the museum. Visit the Facebook page for the McLemore House for any updates, or call 615-791-1861.

Also beginning in July, the African American Heritage Society will be hosting First Friday at the McLemore House, which is located at 446 11th Ave. N. in Franklin. The event will be held from 5-8 p.m. the first Friday of each month, and will feature Moe Better BBQ and Fish and free tours of the museum.

Click here to purchase tickets for Saturday museum tours that go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Costs are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children 12 and under.

(July 8 is, of course, the second Friday of July and not the first. The change was made since the first Friday started the Fourth of July weekend and many families and individuals were making other plans.)

The African American Heritage Society of Williamson County has several projects in the works, and donations to help are welcome. These can be made online at aahswc.org, or checks can be made payable and mailed to African American Heritage Society, P. O. Box 1053, Franklin, TN, 37065. 

Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, the scheduled Friday evening at the McLemore House event has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled soon.