Variety of Lecture Topics at the Monteagle Assembly


The Assembly welcomes Paula F. Casey, a dynamic speaker on voting rights—particularly the 72-year struggle for women to be included in the U.S. Constitution. Her lecture “Tennessee’s Superb Suffragists,” is formed through more than 30 years of dedicated service to educating the public about Tennessee’s pivotal role in the 19th Amendment’s ratification in 1920. Casey served on the state committee in 1998 that selected the bas relief plaque that hangs inside the State Capitol Building depicting Tennessee’s ratification. The Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument was unveiled in Centennial Park in August 2016 while she was president. Casey served on the Sue Shelton White committee that placed a statue in front of Jackson’s City Hall in May 2017. She chaired the Memphis Suffrage Monument committee that unveiled the monument, “Equality Trailblazers,” earlier in 2021. She co-founded the TN Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail with Jacque Hillman of Jackson. She published a book, e-book and audiobook “The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage,” and a DVD “Generations: American Women Win the Vote,” that covers the 72-year struggle for American women to win the right to vote culminating with victory in Tennessee. She co-founded the TN Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail and is working to get public art honoring the suffragists across the state. The lecture takes place at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, in the Assembly Auditorium.

Kati Curts, assistant professor of religious studies at the University of the South is a historian of religion in America, specializing in the history and culture of the late 19th- and 20th centuries, particularly the intersections of religion, capitalism, and popular culture. Curts holds an M.A. from New York University, and an M.Phil/M.A and PhD from Yale University. Curts will present a lecture “Fording Religion in Modern America” that examines how Ford operated within specific denominational idioms and advanced particular sectarian preferences. This talk, based on published sources, material artifacts, and archival documents from Ford’s personal papers and Ford Motor Company’s business records considers Ford’s industrial and religious practices in order to rethink the categorical bounds of what counts as “religion” in modern America.

The lecture will take place at 10:45 a.m. in the Auditorium of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly.

Since 1932, the Highlander Research and Education Center (formerly known as the Highlander Folk School) has served as a meeting place and a school for social movement leaders in Appalachia, across the South, the US, and the world. The Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele, Highlander’s co-executive director, will talk about Highlander’s role in building strong 21st century social movements, their connections to the past work of Highlander, and the significance of Highlander as a “sacred movement home” for thousands of grassroots leaders across 88 years of educational work. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Allyn has served congregations in Alaska and Tennessee. He first became involved in Highlander’s leadership programs when he was searching for opportunities to bring students, educators, and community residents together across racial and class differences to address community development issues in Upstate South Carolina. He has been the Co-Executive Director of Highlander since 2017. The lecture “Solid as a Rock, Rooted as a Tree: Highlander’s Homes, Legacies, and 21st Century Purpose” takes place at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, July 15, in the Assembly Auditorium.

Sallie Swor, whose family history is intertwined with biscuits, will present a lecture at 10:45 a.m., July 14, in the Auditorium at The Monteagle Sunday School Assembly. Swor inherited an original beaten biscuit press that will be demonstrated at the lecture along with descriptions of the various ways biscuits have been made since their arrival in the New World in the 1700’s. By necessity, Sallie – who is now the beaten biscuit maker for her family - has created a way that the home cook not lucky enough to own a beaten biscuit press may still produce them in their own kitchen. At 2:30 p.m., also July 14, she, with the assistance of Emily Frith, will demonstrate how to make these at home. In addition to the biscuits, participants will learn the secret of the delicious country ham filling and sample the products.

The lecture, as others, is free. The workshop requires the purchase of a gate ticket and advance sign up through the Assembly office, (931) 924-2286.

On Friday, July 16, at 10:45 a.m., Oscar Fitzgerald will present a lecture, “Mid Century Modern Furniture: Knock-off or the Real Thing.” Fitzgerald will lead the audience through slides of seemingly similar furniture and share tips from a professional eye to uncover the tell-tale signs of the imposter. Fitzgerald earned his B.A. from Vanderbilt University and M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University. He served as director of the Navy Museum in Washington, D.C., and curator of Tingey House, the oldest quarters in the Navy, until he decided to pursue full time his passion as a furniture historian and decorative arts consultant. Notable clients include Dumbarton House headquarters of The Colonial Dames of America, Custis-Lee Mansion, and Frederick Douglass House. He serves on the faculty of the Smithsonian Institution/George Washington University Master’s Program in the History of Decorative Arts where he teaches all the history of American furniture courses including Colonial, Federal, Victorian, and 20th century.

The community is welcome to attend lectures and performances throughout the summer. Visitors may request a four-hour guest pass when they arrive at the main gate and attend free of charge. The Assembly is located at 1 Assembly Way, Monteagle.