Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Former Tennessee State University Women’s Track Coach Ed Temple Was a Pioneer

By Blake Fontenay

Interviewing successful people isn’t always a lot of fun. Often people who have accomplished a lot in their lives are defensive, bored with answering the same questions many times over or just focused on getting to the next appointment on their calendars.

When we interviewed Ed Temple for the first profile in our Tri-Star Chronicles project in 2015, he was none of those things. The legendary coach of the Tennessee State University Tigerbelles sat for hours, answering every question asked of him forthrightly and often with a wry sense of humor.

The word “legendary” is used loosely, but it really applied to Temple, who passed away Sept. 22. He coached Tennessee State’s women’s track team for more than 40 years, winning 34 national titles. Forty of the women he coached competed in the Olympics, winning 23 medals. And, as he noted with pride during our interview, all of the Olympians earned their college degrees.

Beyond his winning record, though, there were a number of things that stood out about Temple that will become part of his legacy.

One was his unrelenting commitment to discipline. He had many rules that he expected his athletes to follow. They weren’t allowed to cruise around in cars with friends. They were expected to fix their hair and makeup before giving interviews. And being on time for meetings and practices was a given. Wyomia Tyus, an Olympic gold medalist, said in an interview for Tri-Star Chronicles that Temple threatened to send those who disobeyed his rules home on the train “with a comic book and an apple.”

Temple used athletics as a gateway to help African-American women get college education. He hosted summer training camps for high school girls he hoped to recruit to Tennessee State. Since he had no budget for scholarships in the early years of his tenure, he arranged jobs for students on campus. Temple praised those who were doing well in their classes and chastised the ones who weren’t in front of their teammates.

“Athletics opens doors,” Temple liked to say, “education keeps them open.”

Tigerbelle Track Team and Coach Edward S. Temple with medals from a 1958 meet in Moscow
Members of the Tigerbelle Track Team
Image Courtesy of Tennessee State University Special Collections and Archives, Brown-Daniel Library

Temple was more than a coach. Many of his former athletes described him as a father figure who made lasting impressions on their lives. He and his wife doled out life lessons while supplying the young women with barbecue and birthday cakes. Many of those women came back to visit Temple, even more than 20 years after his retirement. Edith McGuire Duvall, another Olympic gold medalist, said she learned to appreciate Temple’s humor during those visits with her former coach.

“He was not funny then (as a coach),” Duvall told Tri-Star Chronicles. “He was all business. We have a different relationship with him now than when we were running.”

Coach Ed Temple and his children are presented 'Keys to the City', 1964.
Image Courtesy of Tennessee State University Special Collections and Archives, Brown-Daniel Library

Temple also played a key role in raising the profile of and increasing the resources provided to women’s sports. When Temple began his career in 1950, he was paid $150 a month and his track team’s budget was only $64. The school’s training facilities consisted of an incomplete cinder “half track” located near the agriculture department’s pig pen and a dump site.

“Running a 440 (meter race) was out of the question,” Temple wrote in his autobiography, “and on hot days down there by those pigs you sort of lost your motivation to run much of anything.”

Lacking resources for fancier transportation, the team traveled to track meets in a station wagon. Since they were living in the segregated South, the team packed its meals and took bathroom breaks by the side of the road.

While Temple and his Tigerbelles earned international acclaim for their achievements at the track, they made do with scant resources for years. As Temple put it: “Fame don’t pay no bills.” Temple achieved a breakthrough when he successfully appealed directly to then-Governor Buford Ellington, who had once supported segregation, for a bigger budget and athletic scholarships for the women’s track program. The program grew from there.

Members of the 1955 Tigerbelle Track Team
Image Courtesy of Tennessee State University Special Collections and Archives, Brown-Daniel Library

Later in life, Temple got recognition for the work he did in near obscurity early in his career. He was inducted into a slew of different sports halls of fame. In 2015, a statue of Temple went up outside First Tennessee Park, a short drive from Tennessee State’s main campus.

Temple used to tell his recruits: “There’s a right way, the wrong way and Coach Temple’s way.” History will probably look kindly on “Coach Temple’s way.”

To read more about Temple’s life story in Tri-Star Chronicles, please visit: http://sos.tn.gov/tsla/tri-star-chronicles-ed-temple.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A memorial service for Temple is scheduled from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday at the Kean Hall Gymnasium on Tennessee State University’s campus.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Library and Archives Lecture Series: Unfolding Tennessee History in the Tennessee Supreme Court Case Files

Tennessee is famous for many things, but some people may not realize the state once was a hotbed for the marble industry. Tennessee marble, known for its pinkish-gray coloring and ease of polishing, has been used in many buildings across the country.

In the next installment of the Tennessee State Library and Archives lecture series, Susan Knowles, a digital humanities fellow at Middle Tennessee State University's Center for Historic Preservation, will discuss how Supreme Court case records helped her research the marble industry. Dr. Knowles' talk, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Sept. 24 in the Library & Archives auditorium.

Dr. Knowles first explored the Supreme Court Case files, which are housed at the Library and Archives,​ while serving as museum consultant for the ​Tennessee Judiciary Museum in 2012. She will illustrate their value in a case study on the Tennessee marble industry that helped her prepare Rock of Ages: East Tennessee's Marble Legacy, an exhibit that will open Nov. 18 at the Museum of East Tennessee History. To search Supreme Court case records at the Library and Archives, please visit http://sos.tn.gov/products/tsla/tennessee-supreme-court-cases

"We are very privileged to have Dr. Knowles share some of the findings of her research with those who want to participate in our lecture series," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "She will demonstrate how Supreme Court records can be used to learn more about how marble had a major impact on our state's history."

Dr. Knowles' dissertation topic was Tennessee marble in civic architecture, with a focus on the individuals who built the industry as well as the political, societal and infrastructural forces that shaped it. Over a 20-year career in the museum field, she has organized numerous exhibitions and worked as a project curator for the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, Fisk University, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Hofstra University, Humanities Tennessee, Nashville International Airport, Nashville Public Library, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission, the Tennessee Judiciary Museum and the Tennessee State Museum.

The Library and Archives auditorium is located at 403 Seventh Avenue North, directly west of the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Parking is available around the library building. Although the lecture is free, reservations are encouraged due to seating limitations. To sign up for the lecture, please visit: https://courtfilesworkshop.eventbrite.com

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Monday, September 5, 2016

Honoring the Contributions of Tennessee Workers on Labor Day

Today we honor the contribution that workers make to the strength and prosperity of our country. These images from the Department of Conservation Photograph Collection show Tennesseans at work between 1939 and 1950.

The Vultee aircraft assembly line in Nashville. Workers in the foreground are making installations in the forward boom. In the background, the final assembly conveyor line for the wing and center sections is visible, ca. 1941. http://tnsos.org/tsla/imagesearch/citation.php?ImageID=3751

Workers in strawberry packing plant at Portland in Sumner County, 1950. http://tnsos.org/tsla/imagesearch/citation.php?ImageID=5906

Ben Ellis plowing corn with a mule on Coker Creek in Monroe County, 1946. http://tnsos.org/tsla/imagesearch/citation.php?ImageID=14432

Workers stacking clay turpentine cups at the Herty Clay Company at Daisy in Hamilton County, 1939. http://tnsos.org/tsla/imagesearch/citation.php?ImageID=20409

Read more about the history of Labor Day and see last year's Labor Day photo tribute to working Tennesseans on our blog: http://tslablog.blogspot.com/2015/09/an-honest-days-work-photographic.html.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Use #GoVoteTN to Celebrate National Voter Registration Month

Secretary of State Tre Hargett is urging Tennesseans to use #GoVoteTN on social media as a way to encourage others to register to vote.

During the month of September, which is National Voter Registration Month, people should have someone take a picture of them holding an "I'm registered to vote. Are you?" sign, then post it using the hashtag #GoVoteTN.

A flurry of posts is expected on Tuesday, September 27 to celebrate National Voter Registration Day. #GoVoteTN is consistently one of the most successful state-led voter registration social media campaigns in the country.

“Tennesseans will be heading to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States before we know it. It’s crucial that people understand the need to get registered now so there won’t be any surprises in November,” Secretary Hargett said.

Voters must be registered at least 30 days before an election to cast a ballot. Tuesday, October 11 is the registration deadline to vote in the November 8 general election.

Anyone can print their own "I'm registered to vote. Are you?" sign at GoVoteTN.com, which can be customized to the colors of many of the state's colleges, universities or professional sports teams. People can also check their registration status, access a voter registration form or download the free GoVoteTN app to access voter specific information, including polling locations, sample ballots and election results.

Civic engagement often starts in the classroom, so we also want to take this opportunity to point out the Library and Archives Education Outreach website, where teachers and students can learn about the history of our state. The site includes links to digital copies of primary source material, such as newspaper records, historic photographs, letters, diaries, maps, political cartoons, broadsides, census records, Governors’ papers, and more that tell the story of Tennesseans and our role in the greater story of American history.

The Secretary of State's Civic Engagement website also offers a variety of links to information and resources to help you become a more informed citizen, and Blue Book lesson plans, created by Tennessee teachers from across the state utilizing the Tennessee Blue Book. These lesson plans link with the current Tennessee social studies curriculum standards using the information provided in the Blue Book to utilize in civics and government classes.

Throughout the month of September, the Secretary of State's office will share posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to highlight who is proud to be registered to vote, including many well-known Tennesseans. Snap a photo, use #GoVoteTN and post. It's that easy to show the world Tennesseans care about their right to vote.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State