Bessie Smith Cultural Center

Who: Anyone who loves to explore African American stories, historical individuals, and landmarks! 

What: This edition of the CHA Spotlight features some of Chattanooga’s African American History. From markers to neighborhoods, to historic landmarks, you can explore some of Chattanooga’s African American history.  Learn more about the neighborhood that the famous “Empress of the Blues” singer Bessie Smith lived, the story of undertaker GW Franklin, the music history of the legendary impressions, the courageous students of the 1960s from Howard high school, Memo’s, the oldest black restaurant and the history of Martin Luther King Blvd. There’s so much to see!

When: Year-round  

Where: Located in the downtown footprint 

Why: This is a great history lesson for children and families. These individuals, landmarks and stories of Chattanooga’s African American history, has not only help to shape the city, but it will forever leave an imprint on the world.

To learn more about Chattanooga's African American history, click here.

To recommend individuals or ideas for the CHA spotlight, click here.

Culture, Heritage and Arts Spotlight

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The CHA Spotlight is an up-close and personal look at Chattanooga’s rich Culture, Heritage and Arts scene and the people that make it all possible. Check back often for the latest about Chattanooga’s festivals and events, local creators, public art, performances, musicians, rich history and more. We look forward to you visiting soon and enjoying Chattanooga’s Culture Heritage and Arts experiences that you will not find anywhere else.

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