In 1986 then-Governor Lamar Alexander asked Alex Haley to produce a special volume for Tennessee’s Bicentennial in 1996, to be called Tennessee. The project was announced at a 1986 luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion attended by UT President Boling, Chancellor Jack Reese, and history teachers from across Tennessee. The 10-year project was to reside at the university and involve graduate students collecting stories and information, which Haley would then weave into a book. With Haley’s death in 1992, his editorial assistant, Anne Klebenow, a UT journalism graduate and former news and feature writer, became director of the project, working with the students and the notes already made by Haley. The UT Press published 200 years Through 200 Stories in 1996, a book that includes vignettes of two hundred influential figures in Tennessee’s history—the celebrated and the not-so-celebrated—and several overview essays that summarize pivotal events in the state’s history. Awarded the Tennessee Bicentennial Logo by the Tennessee Bicentennial Commission, a copy was placed in Tennessee’s Bicentennial Time Capsule in Nashville by the governor.
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