The Late Prof. Michael E. Birdwell Named 2022 Outstanding Diversity Advocate


Tech’s Commission on the Status of Blacks recognized Professor Michael E. Birdwell, as the 2022 Outstanding Diversity Advocate for his broad contributions to researching, preserving and chronicling African American history. Prof. Birdwell was featured in the PBS documentary, “Everybody’s Welcome at John’s Place,” which displayed his oral history skills, story-telling prowess and broad knowledge about the historically-black West End area of Cookeville, in which John’s Place served an integrated clientele prior to desegregation. Along with local residents, Prof. Birdwell worked to get John’s Place listed on the National Historic Register and, at the time of his death, was working to register the entire neighborhood.  Speaking about his work, one West Ender explained:  “These families were not just subjects or topics of discussion for him. He knew these families individually and felt…each story was important and worthy of being studied and discussed.” His legacy stands. (Photo: A. Banton)