NEW MARKET, Tenn. — The State Fire Marshal’s Office joined Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators and New Market Volunteer fire authorities in investigating what caused the fire that destroyed the main office of the Highlander Research and Education Center.
Capt. Sammy Solomon of the New Market Volunteer Fire Department said their work likely will take hours as they sift through what’s left of the main building.
Fire quickly swept through the wooden frame building, headquarters of one of the nation’s oldest social justice institutions on March 29, 2019.
The building was a total loss. Other buildings on the Highlander campus were not affected. There were no injuries.
The center was one of the nation’s oldest social justice institutions, providing education and training for emerging movements throughout the South, Appalachia, and the world.
“Highlander has been a movement home for nearly 87 years and has weathered many storms. This is no different,” the center said in a press release. “While we are physically unhurt, we are saddened by the loss of our main office.”
The office was home to decades of historic documents, speeches, artifacts, and memorabilia from movements across the years — including the Civil Rights Movement.