More To The Story With Staley: Saving Industrial History

UTC is documenting Chattanooga's Industrial past


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Erin Ryan and Carolyn Runyon work in the Special Collections Department at UTC.

The department is home to a lot of old pictures. Old documents. Many deal with the labor history of Chattanooga. A good number have been digitized and are on line. But many are not.

Ryan and Runyon needed help digitizing these gems. Preserving history if you will.

So they applied for a grant, and that grant was approved.

Soon, these pictures highlighting the Scenic City’s labor history will be available for all to see.

With an emphasis on those people way back when who were so important.

“When I think of women back then, I think it’s important to highlight their voices. I also think it’s important to show that our black community was powerfully involved in the industrialization of the New South.”

“Many investors came down from the north to build these companies. And they attracted black workers from our area who were looking for work. Our pictures show blacks and whites working together on the factory floor.”

The department scaled down the number of pictures to be digitized to around 200, plus over a hundred various documents.
For example, this is a recommendation letter for a woman named Edna Knight. That kind of thing……

With the ongoing southside development, most folks want these old foundry buildings out of here. But both Erin and Carolyn say without these industries, Chattanooga would not be what it is today.

“I think it’s important to look at what these spaces used to look like. And remembering these spaces as to what they used to look like when the new construction comes in.”

The department has already hired somebody to begin the digitizing process next spring. Putting that grant money to good use.
From UTC, Dave Staley, News 12.

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