MC history professor to speak during Emancipation Day celebration

Aug. 5, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

Dr. Aaron Astor, MC associate professor of history, will give a presentation during an Emancipation Day celebration honoring Blount County’s black Civil War veterans at 10 a.m. Sat., Aug. 10 at Mt. Gilead Cemetery in Alcoa.

Astor’s presentation is titled “Freedom is Not Free: A Celebration of the Service of Thomas B. Lillard and 80 Blount County African American Union Civil War Soldiers.”

“I’m going to be speaking about Thomas Lillard, who was a black Quartermaster Sergeant in the United States Colored Heavy Artillery and was later an educator and businessman in Maryville,” Astor said.

Lillard's son, Bart, graduated from Maryville College in 1898.

The celebration will also include the unveiling of the reset headstone for Lillard, a project with which Astor was involved.

“Thomas Lillard, along with about 15 other black Union soldiers, is buried at Mt. Gilead Cemetery,” Astor said.

Also during the event, re-enactors will be present, and the names of Blount County’s black soldiers will be read (in some cases, by their descendents).

For more information about the event, please contact Becky Darrell at 865.984.2479.