Fire burns archives at history-making social justice center

NEW MARKET, Tenn. (AP) — A fire at a Tennessee social justice center that trained the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has destroyed a building and decades of archives. Nobody was injured.

News outlets report officials are investigating what started the fire Friday morning at the Highlander Education and Research Center.

The center has trained labor organizers and civil-rights leaders including King and Rosa Parks. Founded in 1932 as the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, it’s been in New Market since 1972.

New Market Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Sammy Solomon says the building was burned to the ground by the time crews arrived. The fire alarm apparently failed to call 911. Nine other buildings on the campus weren’t damaged.

Highlander communications strategist Chelsea Fuller says the building held years of files and irreplaceable items.

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