Coal Creek History Lesson for
Anderson County High School Teachers

2 September 2015

Anderson County High School (ACHS) teachers got a crash course on Coal Creek history, which is now part of the state education standards for 5th, 8th, and 11th graders. 

They learned how their students from Briceville study that history when they are in 4th and 5th grades at Briceville School because it happened in their own back yards.  It’s a way for them to take pride in themselves, their community, and their heritage. 

Coal Creek miners serve as role models for Briceville students.  Nobody held guns to their heads, forcing them to work in the mines.  To the contrary, when their jobs were threatened by the convict lease system, they literally went to war with the State of Tennessee to preserve their way of life. 

In the process, Coal Creek miners left a legacy—they fueled the Industrial Revolution in East Tennessee, ended the cruel convict lease system in the South, preserved Welsh literature for posterity, and made working conditions safer for miners worldwide. 

Teachers even learned how Anderson County Mayor Terry (Phillips) Frank, the daughter and granddaughter of Tennessee coal miners, serves as a role model in the Coal Creek Saga.  

Slides of the PowerPoint presentation can be found at

After the history lesson, Jeanie (Robinson) Ahrens, who went to Briceville School with former Anderson County Directors of Schools Jim Stewart and V. L. Stonecipher, described her work in documenting Briceville history for a book she is writing.     

This presentation was the first of several planned for schools in Anderson and surrounding counties to illustrate how Coal Creek history can be taught to comply with state education standards.

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