- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A new exhibit at the Tennessee State Library and Archives highlights the challenges and achievements of 19th century African-American lawmakers.

Tennessee voters elected their first African-American representative to the General Assembly in November 1872.

In all, 14 African-Americans, most of them former slaves, were elected to the General Assembly between 1872 and 1896. They represent a significant part of Tennessee state history in that they helped lay the groundwork for the later achievements of the civil rights movement.

The exhibit about their lives and the period in which they lived will be on display through August.

It is free and open to the public.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with the exception of state holidays.

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