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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Tennesseetown
By Ron Hale
03/04/08


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Tennesseetown

Where is Tennesseetown?

Your first thought is: this question doesnít take much cogitating. Not so fast! Tennesseetown was formed in the state of Kansas just after the Civil War. It was an African American community just outside Topeka, the state capital.

The community was settled by former slaves who came to be known as Exodusters. During the post-reconstruction period in the South, these families left the Mississippi Valley lands of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana traveling with hopes and dreams to the homesteading lands of Kansas in the 1870ís.

The Exodusters made up one-third the population of the Topeka area when Charles M. Sheldon and wife Mary came to Topeka to pastor the fledgling Central Congregational Church. He went to work starting ministries that would impact the city, especially the poor and hungry in a town experiencing depression.

Sheldon spent a lot of time in Tennesseetown and started the first African American Kindergarten west of the Mississippi River. The school became a training center; training kindergarten teachers for schools across the nation. Elisha Scott was one of the kindergartenís brightest and most famous students.

Pastor Sheldon encouraged young Elisha to study hard while finishing elementary school and high school. Pastor Sheldon encouraged and helped Elisha even more as he finished college and eventually Law School.

Elisha Scott was so grateful for all the help and encouragement from Pastor Charles Sheldon that he named one of his sons Charles Sheldon Scott. This son also finished Law School.

You might be impressed to know that Pastor Charles Sheldon wrote the amazingly best-selling book entitled: In His Steps. The book asked a simple straight forward spiritual question: What would Jesus do? It became one of the best-selling books in the world.

You may be even more impressed to know that Charles Sheldon Scott, the Pastorís namesake, was on the legal team that successfully argued the 1954 Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education case that led to the end of school segregation in America. Too say the least, God works in mysterious ways!


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This article has been read 311 times
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Marilyn Schnepp 03/08/08
Very enlightening! I enjoyed the knowledge I gained from this entry; and yes, it fits the Topic to a "T" - a silver lining after the dark cloud that the Exodusters had lived under for so many years. Very well written...and a delight to read! Thank you and God Bless.
c clemons03/08/08
Although this was a very enlightening article, I am not seeing the topic. The article reflected a continous flow of all the good things that came out of "Tennesseetown." A contrast example of what might have been bad to good could be more clearly defined. But thanks for the posting.
Joanne Sher 03/09/08
A fascinating read - I definitely learned much that I didn't know before. I also see the fit to the topic. Keep writing.
Pamela Nastase03/15/08
WOW! Who knew? That's a wonderful story well-written for the glory of God.