Very simply, we are a volunteer organization that seeks to build unity within our community through activities, projects, partnerships and collaborations which lift up and celebrate diversity, inclusion and appreciation, and respect for our differences.
We welcome your interest and invite you to contact us if you would like to join our efforts.
The organization was established in 2008 by then city mayor, Barbara “Sami” Barile as the Mayor’s Task Force on Diversity. In 2010 we became part of the Rose Center family of organizations and changed our name to Morristown Task Force on Diversity. We are currently working toward 501c status.
Although we are not operated by city government, we continue to maintain significant connection with that entity and see our work within the context of building awareness and relationships within our community as public service and commitment to justice. We believe this is best done by celebrating the gifts that the diversity of our population provides.
Opening ourselves to learn about others and be able to celebrate differences is especially important for our population and history.
To acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of our community and to promote acceptance and understanding among its residents.
To make Morristown a city where all individuals are equally valued solely “by the content of their character,” and are welcomed and celebrated for the uniqueness they contribute to the community.
Our slogan is “…Promoting unity within the community”
To download a brochure describing our projects and events, click here
The ethnic basis of Morristown, the county seat of Hamblen County, is that 80% of our population traces its heritage to Europe, primarily Scotland, Ireland and England. 16% of our population is Spanish-speaking with origins in the Southern Hemisphere. 4% of the population counts its heritage as primarily African-American.
Interestingly, one hundred forty years ago, Hamblen County had a significant number of free, black landowners. And, our community remembers with both nostalgia and some pride, those years when Morristown College, a historic and important black college, was vibrant and active. The college was founded in 1881 by the national Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The school was renamed Knoxville College-Morristown in 1989 and closed in 1994.
A cooperative plan by the city and developers is in the works to convert Judson’s Hill, the old Morristown College campus, into a combined use area for different kinds of housing, shops and a community center. The plan is to find ways of preserving and incorporating the heritage of Morristown College into the plan.
All of this is to say that relationships between all people of color and white residents in Hamblen County have been complex. Black residents of Morristown knew and experienced the same prejudice and denial of civil rights that is part of our nation’s history. At the same time, planted in this region, was both a lifestyle and an institution that created opportunity and trained its students for success and position in the larger society. It was, quite literally, a light shining from a hill – Judson’s Hill.
The rapid growth of the Spanish-speaking population in Hamblen County has brought some of the same incorporation issues that can be found in other parts of the country. Likewise, our community is enriched and broadened in learning about the different cultural features of one another.
The economic bases of our community until the late 1940’s were twofold. They were farming (especially tobacco growing) and small, family-owned businesses. Light industrial manufacturing began to arrive after WWII.
The greatest growth happened in the 1970’s and 1980’s as international businesses began establishing manufacturing plants here. Now, seventeen different countries are represented in our industrial base. When one goes to the grocery store, one hears different languages and sees products from around the world. Our health system is populated by professionals who come from around the world.
With such a significant portion of our population having roots outside our community, it would be easy to assume that there are few issues of inclusion in our community. But as elsewhere, there are faces and voices that are not heard often in governance, leadership or decision making. As elsewhere, there are some who can celebrate the differences in people and others who cannot.
We believe that recognizing the culture and differences of our people creates a mechanism for greater understanding and appreciation. Finding ways to gather and learn about others lowers the level of fear and suspicion and adds both depth and breadth to our community.
Sometimes, confrontation about issues related to intolerance is essential. However, we believe that in the longer term, celebrating our gifts, our histories, our experiences and our cultures opens pathways to long-lasting cooperation and the kind of deep respect that benefit all.
So…this Task Force is composed of a group of people who see building relationships, cultural awareness and diversity as adding value and strength to our community. We are a stronger, fairer, more cooperative and healthier community when we can work and play and learn together.
In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sweet Honey in the Rock presents a 3:00pm and an 8:00pm show on Sunday, January 17, 2021. Both shows are being live-streamed from the Lincoln Theater in Washington. Neither show is free, but you can buy a ticket for a small fee and show it on your Smart TV or your computer or cell phone to anyone gathered where you are-family, friends, or SS class! In addition, you can watch it again for the rest of the week!All details are at https://thirdrow.live/events/sweet-honey-in-the-rock/
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one week away, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) invites you to celebrate with us.
The People’s Holiday
Monday, January 18 ǀ 4 p.m. Eastern
Free ǀ Online
The People’s Holiday is NMAAHC’s annual program honoring Dr. King’s commitment to racial equality, justice, and service.This year, we are proud to present six-time Grammy Award-winning bassist, composer, and educator Christian McBride in a digital performance inspired by his social justice-focused album The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons.Join us online for a 45-minute performance of jazz and poetry, which also features students from the Julliard School and award-winning poet Evie Shockley. The program will conclude with a conversation between Christian McBride and NMAAHC Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs Dwandalyn Reece. The People’s Holiday is generously supported by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
Kids’ Activities Celebrating Dr. King
Monday, January 18
Free ǀ OnlineBeginning on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hop over to our NMAAHC early childhood education webpage to pick out a MLK-inspired art project for your child. While you’re there, check out our guide to children’s books and resources that support discussions about race at home.
Joyful Activity Booklets
Martin Luther King Jr. Day also marks the launch of a new series of publications for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers: Joyful Activity Booklets. Inspired by A Is for All the Things You Are: A Joyful ABC Book, written by NMAAHC’s Anna Hindley and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, Joyful Activity Booklets help young children develop literacy skills and a positive sense of self. On January 18th, check out our NMAAHC early childhood education webpage to find our first two booklets, A Is for Amazing and B Is for Brave. Each month, children, caregivers, and educators can explore new booklets together!We hope you will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with us! You can take your commitment to Dr. King’s dream to the next level when you join as a Member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.Images: Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., freedom singing, SCLC Convention, 1962, by James H. Karales, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Monica Karales and the Estate of James Karales © Estate of James Karales, 2015.129.14. Evie Shockley and Christian McBride. Photo of child by Jaclyn Nash / NMAAHC.
1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560
(844) 750-3012 | NMAAHC.si.edu
© 2021 Smithsonian Institution
We are now accepting donations for the 2021 George Floyd & Brianna Taylor Scholarship Fund and/or 2021 Juneteenth Celebration.
If making a donation please indicate where you wish your donation to be applied in the memo line and mail your check to:
230 Montrose Ave. Morristown TN, 37813
For more information Contact Us.
Any Donation Is Appreciated