Friday, May 17, 2019

State Library and Archives Celebrates Statehood Day with Original Constitutions and Special Lecture

Tennessee celebrates its 223 birthday Saturday, June 1! The Tennessee State Library and Archives will put all three of the state’s original constitutions on display to the public in commemoration of Statehood Day. The constitutions are typically protected in a vault, but all three versions will be in the Library and Archives’ lobby for viewing May 30 to June 1 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT.

As part of the celebration, the Library and Archives will also host a free lecture on Tennessee’s constitutional history. On June 1 the Honorable Judge Andy D. Bennett of the Tennessee Court of Appeals will present the history of each of Tennessee’s constitutions. Patrons can expect to learn details about the historical documents and what they meant for Tennesseans during that time in history.

"I'm thrilled the Library and Archives will again display our three state constitutions during the Statehood celebration, said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "We're honored to have Judge Bennett join in the festivities for a lecture on the purpose of these documents, the impact they had on the earliest settlers of Tennessee and how they continue to influence state lawmaking today."

Before joining the Court of Appeals in 2007, Judge Bennett served in the Tennessee Attorney General’s office for 25 years, the last ten as Chief Deputy. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Bicentennial Foundation, 1993-1997, which put together the festivities for Tennessee’s Bicentennial celebration. Besides being a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Judge Bennett is a past president and the current president-elect of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society, and is the current president of the Tennessee State Library and Archives Friends organization. He has authored several legal and historical articles and received numerous awards during his distinguished career. Judge Bennett also helped create the Tennessee Judiciary Museum in 2012. He has had a long interest in the Tennessee Constitution, not only lecturing about it, but litigating about it as well.

The lecture will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. CDT Saturday, June 1, in the Library and Archives auditorium. The Library and Archives is located at 403 Seventh Ave. N., directly west of the Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville. Free parking is available around the Library and Archives building.

Although the lecture is free and open to the public, registration is required due to seating limitations in the auditorium. To reserve seats, please visit

Viewing the state constitutions is free. No reservation is required.

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