CLARKSVILLE, TN – Austin Peay State University and the Mount Olive Cemetery Historic Preservation Society recently worked together to secure a $10,000 aid grant from the Nashville Predator Foundation.
Mount Olive will use the grant money to design and purchase five roadside exhibits and six memorial park benches.
Three of the roadside exhibits will be at Mount Olive Cemetery – the largest private African-American cemetery in Clarksville – with two memorial park benches at each exhibit.
The other two roadside exhibits will be at the American Colored Troops Monument in Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive Center. The money will also help Austin Peay continue to support preservation efforts with expert faculty and staff volunteers and valuable investigative software support.
On Monday, May 9, representatives from Austin Peay and Mount Olive attended a grant check presentation ceremony at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators.
“Mount Olive Cemetery Historical Preservation Society is proud and honored to receive this grant from the Predators Foundation and is committed to using the funds to continue our journey of preserving the cemetery and its nationally recognized historical perspective,” said Nick Nicholson, president and chief executive of the company. “We will also continue our quest to engage and educate all of the plights and struggles of those buried in Mount Olive Cemetery.”
The cemetery, created in 1817, houses approximately 1,350 graves. In recent years, 273 civilians and 32 veterans – including 30 American soldiers of color, a Buffalo soldier and a World War II soldier – have been identified. The cemetery joined the National Register of Historic Places in 2020. The last burial took place there in 1958.
Understand, value African-American contributions
One of the exhibits at Mount Olive will give a general history of the cemetery while another will focus on veterans’ history and the third will share civilian histories. Fort Defiance’s two exhibits will examine the history and experiences of American Colored Troops.
According to the grant application, representatives from Austin Peay and Mount Olive hope the roadside exhibits will help area families understand and value the contributions of African Americans and American troops of color. They also hope to make Mount Olive Cemetery a place Austin Peay students can visit to learn about African American history.
“Our organization is thrilled and thrilled to receive the Helper Grant from the Predators Foundation,” said Dr. Tyler Nolting, assistant professor in Austin Peay’s Department of Health and Human Performance, who also serves on the board. of Mount Olive. “These funds will allow us to create engaging and informative roadside exhibits to reflect the unique and important African-American history at Mount Olive Cemetery and to place around the American Colored Troops Monument we are donating to the City of Clarksville. and at Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive Center.”
Fort Defiance will unveil the 9-foot-tall bronze monument at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 18, in a public ceremony.
Through the 2022 Helper Grant award, the Nashville Predators Foundation has donated more than $775,000 to nonprofit organizations in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, including the Austin Peay Little Govs Children’s Learning Center.