Highlander Research and Education Center
Located in New Market, Tennessee, the Highlander Research and Education Center is a school dedicated to grassroots organizing, movement building, and cultural exchange. It trains activists in various social justice fields such as labor rights, economic inequality, immigration, and LGBTQ rights. Activist Myles Horton, educator Don West, and Methodist minister James A. Dombrowski founded the center in 1932 in its original location in Summerfield, Tennessee. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, musician Bob Seeger, and many other activists, attended the center's 25th anniversary in 1957.
The Highlander Research and Education Center
Martin Luther King speaking at the center's 25th anniversary
Picture of Martin Luther King, Bob Seeger, Rosa Parks and two others at the school
Backstory and Context
The center first focused on the labor rights of coal miners in the Appalachian mountains. Beginning in the 1950s, the emphasis shifted towards the Civil Rights movement which brought the attention of the government, which accused the school of encouraging communism. Ed Friend, an agent of the Georgia Commission on Education, attended and filmed the 25th anniversary event. Footage from the gathering prompted the state of Tennessee to revoke the school's charter in 1961. However the day after the school reopened in Knoxville where it operated until 1971. It moved to its present location in 1972.