KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A nonprofit organization that works to preserve Black culture and advocates for Black communities in Knoxville will soon have a new location. To celebrate, The Bottom will host a grand opening with a day filled with events.
The celebration will be at 2340 East Magnolia Avenue from 10 a.m. through 7 p.m. Black leaders were invited to participate, including an award-winning poet, a southern Afrofuturist memory worker and two comedy performers.
A 10 a.m. organizers will start events with a tree-planting ceremony. Then, at 11 a.m. there will be storytime for children before card and game tournaments kick off at 12 p.m.
At 1 p.m. participants will be able to take part in a community quilt-making event before a 3 p.m. book signing with Khalissa Rhae. She is based in Durham and works as a Gen Z Culture Editor at Blavity News, with articles appearing in several publications. She has also won awards for her poetry.
She is also the assistant editor of Glass Poetry and the co-founder of Think in Ink and the Women of Color Speak reading series.
At 4:30 p.m. attendees will have a chance to laugh during some comedy sets from local performers before music provided by FRVR Recording starts playing.
The celebration was originally scheduled for late August, by was rescheduled for October 9.
The Bottom was named after Black neighborhoods and businesses that were demolished in the 1950s as a result of Urban Renewal policies, which the Knoxville City Council apologized for nearly 70 years later.
Now, it works to preserve Black communities and give Black families a place where they can gather. The founder said she was inspired to build it after finding feelings of displacement and a loss of space permeated through Knoxville's Black communities.