United States Voices

Mufreesboro Interviews 

Annie Zachery: In 2009, Voices From Our America began conducting interviews with Ms. Annie Zachery cataloguing her life experiences as an African American woman growing up and eventually teaching in Murfreesboro, TN. Team members Teresa Flores and Sam Gannon carried out the interviews and scanned the photos, newspaper articles, and other historical documents Ms. Zachery had in her collection. In 2011 Rebecca Bernard joined the project to work closely with Ms. Zachery to turn the transcribed interviews into a narrative version of her auto-biography. The final version of the auto-biography took the form of a book, 72 pages in length, complete with photographs from Ms. Zachery's life and design work by Sharese Jackson. The first copy of the finished product was presented to Ms. Zachery on the occasion of her 95th birthday party. The book, Annie Zachery: Part of My Life, is now available to the public. The following summary is presented on the back cover of the book.

Ninety-five years after her birth in 1916, Annie Zachery gives a first person account of her life and the lessons she has learned along the way. Using her decades of teaching experience as well as the wisdom gained from her own path to education—being the first person in her family to graduate from college—Annie explains both the struggle to persevere through a segregated world as well as the challenges and shortcomings that desegregation has brought with it. From fond memories to painful life experiences, her story is one of strength, compassion and the desire to address the problems that the future holds for young African Americans and the education system itself.

In additional to Ms. Zachery, many other elders in the Murfreesboro community were interviewed about their life experiences. Those memories have been documented in the Wisdom of the Elders quotebook, attached below. 

WOE Quotebook-FINAL.pdf