Fire Destroys Building At Historic Social Justice Institution, Burning ‘Decades Of Archives’

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Fire destroys a building at Highlander Center Angela Gosnell, (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Highlander Education and Research Center has hosted workshops and training for the likes of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks.

By Paula Rogo, Essence

A fire of unknown origin has destroyed the main office building of one of the nation’s oldest social justice institution, taking with it decades of archives and documents.

The fire at Tennessee’s Highlander Education and Research Center on Friday was a significant loss for an organization that was a key player in the Civil Rights Movement through its workshops and training that hosted the likes of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks.

Today, the center remains a training ground for new and emerging movements.

According to a statement released by the organization , there were no injuries. Knox News report that only the main office, which is one of 10 buildings on the 200-acre campus, was damaged.

“While we are physically unhurt, we are saddened about the loss of our main office. The fire destroyed decades of historic documents, speeches, artifacts and memorabilia from movements of all kinds, including the Civil Rights Movement. A fuller assessment of the damage will be forthcoming once we are cleared to enter the remains of the building,” co-executive directors Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson and Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele said in the statement.

Our thoughts are with the organization during this ordeal.

This article originally appeared in Essence.

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