“Murfreesboro Storytellers” is celebrating Black History Month with a return special episode of a local documentary that first aired in November 2016. ‘The House Still Standing’ highlights the Murfreesboro history of Burrell Gannaway and K. D. Ganaway. February ‘Storytellers’ begins airing tonight (Feb. 5) at 7:30 p.m. on CityTV.
Burrell Gannaway was one of Murfreesboro’s first alderman. King Daniel Ganaway, a descendant of a slave, became a celebrated African American photographer.
Their stories are told in a CityTV documentary highlighting the work of genealogists who revealed the silenced story of their ancestor while uncovering a local history. This month’s Storytellers, a special documentary, is available for viewing on YouTube at https://youtu.be/fbAgw9pakuE.
Tim and Brenda Fredericks, who live in Indianapolis, and Murfreesboro native Daryl Webb first visited the Gannaway home and slave cabins in June 2016. The structures are standing on property in the Barfield area of Murfreesboro. Tedious research led them to the property after discovering that Tim’s great-grandfather, King Daniel Ganaway, had descended from slaves. Tim’s family history had been kept secret until the truth was finally uncovered.
The genealogists have given presentations on their research, including one at First Baptist Church on Main Street featured in the “Storytellers” documentary.
The February episode of “Murfreesboro Storytellers” features:
- Burrell Gannaway, deacon of First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, a proponent of relocating slaves to Africa as part of the American Colonization Society.
- Daniel Ganaway was a slave who is freed after Emancipation to become a U.S. citizen and starts a grocery business on the Murfreesboro town square in a building that still stands on Maple and Vine Street. Daniel’s son, King Ganaway lived at 211 West Vine St., currently the location of City Hall. King’s son, King Daniel Ganaway, migrated to Chicago to join a religious movement, working as a butler, photographer and Bible teacher.
- Ganaway descendant Tim Fredericks, who grew up white, and wife Brenda, tell the story of how Tim’s family history was silenced until they uncovered that his African American grandfather was from Murfreesboro. Through their ancestral journey, they have helped other relatives, black and white, discover their newfound interracial family history. Daryl Webb, also a Ganaway descendant, is among them.
In addition to YouTube, “Storytellers” can also be seen through the month on CityTV. You can watch CityTV located on Comcast Xfinity Channel 3 and 1094 and AT&T Uverse channel 99, and on Roku.
Documentary writer and narrator Mike Browning collaborated with CityTV Video Producer Michael Nevills on the documentary. Both have lengthy television experience and have produced award-winning documentaries—Browning for public television, Nevills for CityTV and as a freelancer.
“In many ways, the Gannaway/Ganaway histories are the stories of early nineteenth-century America and twentieth-century migration North,” explained Browning. “We wanted to present the history in a visual way so more people, including descendants and history enthusiasts, could gain a deeper appreciation for the stories, the work by genealogists and the Murfreesboro property.”
“The historical home and property is like taking a trip back to antebellum Rutherford County,” added Browning. “I appreciate that the property owner has saved the land and it would be great if somehow the property and the home could be preserved for future generations.”
Murfreesboro Storytellers airs Monday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on CityTV.
For more information on the Gannaway/Ganaway research, visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GanawayAncestors1/.
For City News online, visit www.Murfreesborotn.gov.