Freedom wasn't a reality for everyone on Independence Day

·2 min read

Hello, Soul Fam!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend. Fifteen days after Juneteenth, the day we celebrate emancipation across the country, we celebrate our nation's Independence Day.

In 1776, however, Black people were not free in America and would still be in bondage and enslaved for nearly a century. I reflected on that this week, and rather than celebrate with the usual cookout and barbeque, I went with a friend to visit gravesites of enslaved ancestors and adorn them with sunflowers.

We began by visiting the slave cemetery located at the Lones-Dowell House on Middlebrook Pike and then located an Underground Railroad stop in Blount County's Friendsville.

I have found that many aren't aware of this history right outside of Knoxville. According to the historical marker there, members of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, came to Blount County in the 1790s looking for a place to worship in peace. Opposing war and slavery, they developed what is known as the city of Friendsville.

William Hackney and his wife used a cave near their house as a hiding place on the Underground Railroad, helping thousands journey north.

It's always neat to discover tidbits of unknown history and I look forward to covering some of this history in my work this year!

Roe v. Wade continues to spark dialogue

Stay tuned for ongoing coverage of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Our local civil rights hero Theotis Robinson penned a poignant column last week on abortion rights, and we have some great coverage from across the USA TODAY Network.

In this incredible reporting from USA TODAY, 15 women traveled from Texas to New Mexico seeking legal abortions. These are their stories.

Knox News is committed to staying on top of this issue, and it's the perfect time to subscribe for some of the best exclusive reporting in our city.

As always, catch you next week!

Angela Dennis is the Knox News social justice, race and equity reporter. You can reach her by email at or by phone at 865-407-9712. Follow her on Twitter @AngeladWrites; Instagram @angeladenniswrites; and Facebook at Angela Dennis Journalist.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Freedom wasn't reality for everyone on Independence Day