During the hundred years of racial segregation that followed the Civil War, African Americans built a strong network of entertainment spaces to support the development and spread of Black vernacular music culture called The Chitlin’ Circuit. Geolocated maps of Rutherford County demonstrate a significant historical relationship between the location of Black communities, their venues, and road building projects across the century. By examining this racialized landscape, we can understand the story of how and why these creative ideas spread across the state and country to become part of popular music, as well as the systemic disappearance of the many places that supported The Chitlin’ Circuit’s development.

T. Minton is a musician, writer, and graduate of Middle Tennessee State University’s Public History Master’s Program. They currently work as a community educator, researcher and director of special projects at the Belcourt, Nashville’s oldest neighborhood theater.


Tennessee 101 is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


November 8, 2023


5:30 pm CT

6:30 pm ET