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Brown Bag Lecture: "The Welsh in Tennessee"

"The Welsh of Tennessee" is the subject of a Brown Bag Lecture and book signing at the East Tennessee History Center at noon on Friday, December 7. Dr. Eirug Davies, associate member of Harvard University's Celtic Department, will discuss his new book and the remarkable story of how the Welsh helped develop East Tennessee's fledgling iron and coal industries after the Civil War.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Welsh began migrating to escape onerous British laws affecting their language, religion, and traditions. Many moved to Pennsylvania where their skills were welcomed. After the Civil War, they began to move on elsewhere, with a number coming to East Tennessee where they found ready work.

In America, they found the freedom to practice and preserve their traditions and culture, while those in Welsh still could not do so. It was the Welsh who were instrumental in the organization and success of the Coal Creek War against the state's controversial convict-leasing system. They wrote extensively about what they saw and experienced in their new home. Euirug Davies will also share how he found the array of Welsh books and narratives from post-Civil War Tennessee that he has now translated into English.

The program is sponsored by the East Tennessee Historical Society in partnership with the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, and is free and open to the public. The lecture will begin at noon at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville. Guests are invited to bring a "Brown Bag" lunch and enjoy the lecture. Soft drinks will be available.

Published December 2, 2012

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