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T.O. Fuller State Park

T.O. Fuller State Park
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T.O. Fuller State Park was the first state park open for African Americans east of the Mississippi River. A Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in the area initiated construction of the park facilities in 1938. It was designated Shelby County Negro State Park in 1938 and was later changed to T.O. Fuller State Park in 1942 in honor of Dr. Thomas O. Fuller, a prominent African-American educator, pastor, politician, civic leader and author, who spent his life empowering and educating African Americans. Dr. Fuller served as principal of the Howe Institute, a precursor to Lemoyne-Owen College, for 27 years.

The park is a place that protects and showcases unique natural habitat while offering a wide range of outdoor recreational assets – including a new Interpretive Nature and Education Center, hiking trails, playgrounds, an Olympic-size pool and splash pad, ball fields, basketball and tennis courts, and terrific gathering spaces for families, churches, organizations and groups.

T. O. Fuller State Park works to preserve the park’s CCC history and demonstrate how early park development fits within the context of the African American civil rights movement in Tennessee. The park also boasts a historical significance dating back even before its founding. During an excavation for a proposed swimming pool in 1940, CCC workers unearthed evidence of prehistoric village, opening the door to a lost and forgotten civilization. The site has since been developed as Chucalissa Indian Villag

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