In a Brown Bag Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 9, author and historian Dewaine A. Speaks will discuss his new book, "Historic Disasters of East Tennessee," chronicling the stories of a series of disasters that have taken place in our region. The 1902 Fraterville Mine explosion, took the lives of 216 men and boys. The New Market train wreck in 1904 claimed 64, and in 2016, the Great Smoky Mountains fire killed 14 and destroyed 2,460 buildings. Floodwaters near Rockwood in 1929 took the lives of seven Boy Scouts and their Scoutmaster, while a 1960 explosion at Kingsport’s Eastman plant killed 16 workers and injured 400.

Through interviews, newspaper articles, and extensive research, Speaks tells these and other stories of devastation, their effects upon the lives of those who experienced them, and, most inspiring, the outpouring of love and support that brought these communities together. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Speaks has a B.A. from the University of Tennessee where he was a member of the Volunteers baseball team. He served in the United States Air Force, the Tennessee Air National Guard, and is currently a member of the East Tennessee Veterans Honor Guard. Dewaine retired from Robertshaw Controls Company where he was a national sales manager. He is a member of the Authors Guild of Tennessee and has published several works including an international travel guide, biography on Weston Fulton, and a book on the role of East Tennessee in WWII.

The lecture is presented by the East Tennessee Historical Society and sponsored by the Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel and Crematory. The lecture and book signing are free and open to the public and will begin at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville. Guests are invited to bring a "Brown Bag" lunch and enjoy the lecture. Soft drinks are available. For more information on the lecture, exhibitions, or museum hours, call 865-215-8824 or visit the website at www.EastTNHistory.org.

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