Tom Rhett Touring the State of Tennessee is one of the best ways to discover the beautiful, strange, and sometimes downright strange state.
Here are a few highlights of the Tom Riddick tour of the state.
(Photo: Tom Razzi)Tom Rhett: “I’ve always been a bit of a wild man.”
Tom Riddicks home state, Tennessee, was once home to a very large black population.
The state was ruled by a slave-owning system and a large percentage of the population was enslaved.
In the 1800s, there were around 300,000 black residents in the state, according to The Tennessee Historical Society.
(RELATED: Rhett tours Tennessee to mark 50 years of slavery)But in the 1960s, the state was torn apart and the population began to slowly recover.
Today, it’s home to about 1.6 million people.
Rhett tours the state to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of slavery.
The tour includes stops at museums, historic sites, and an art gallery.
Riddick is the star of the tour and the first of several guests who will be on hand to greet visitors as they tour the state and the history of slavery in the South.
(PHOTOS: Tom’s tours of South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee)Rhett also is a major figure in the history and legacy of slavery, having written and co-authored three books about the slave trade.
He’s also the author of the critically acclaimed film The Birth of a Nation.
Riddled with memories, he’s not the kind of guy who can stop talking about it.
“I’m still kind of a slaveholder, but I know a lot about the South and how it worked,” Rhett told ABC News.
“You know, the South was pretty harsh in terms of slavery and it was a pretty rough place, but when you think about how it was in terms, say, 1820, it was pretty amazing.”
Rhett toured the state in February, and has been traveling the country ever since.
“It’s not like I’m not going to come back,” he said.
“I’m not leaving anytime soon.”(PHOTOS: The life of Tom Ricks)A history tour that takes visitors back to a time when slavery was legal in the U.S.
A history of the U-Haul tour takes guests to the beginning of the slave-based railroad system in Tennessee.
(Credit: Tom and Nancy Rhett)While there are a number of sites in Tennessee that still have Confederate symbols on the side of their property, Rhett has decided to honor all the people who have sacrificed so much to end slavery in this country.
“To me, it feels like we’re in the 21st century, so we need to make the most of it,” he explained.
“There’s a lot of people that are trying to make history, but unfortunately, we have to make sure that our history is really positive and we’re not going into it with a negative attitude.”
(MORE: A History of the Confederate States of America)Riddicks and his wife Nancy have also started a non-profit called the Tom and Jane Rhett Foundation, which focuses on educating the public about slavery in Tennessee and the country.
In addition to his tour, the Rhetts have begun a scholarship fund for students from historically black colleges and universities.
“They need to be in school to be able to do these tours,” he told ABC.
“There’s so many stories that they can share.
I think it’s a great way for them to learn more about history and to do that.”
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