Reverend John Samuel and Delia Elizabeth Johnson Delaney reared their children at 815 East Vine Avenue. Although this home that the Delaneys grew up in no longer exits, the elder brother, Samuel, owned a house that would become the last Delaney family home in Knoxville. This home, Delaney Museum at Beck, will preserve the heritage and legacy of this extraordinary family.
Beck is the place “Where African American History & Culture Are Preserved,” and it is our firm belief that Beck is becoming the place “Where African American History is Transformed.” We are serious about our work. We believe strongly that restoring and uniting our greater community begins with reawakening our heritage.
Beck was established in 1975 with a mission that has remained unchanged. Beck is as an African American teaching and learning museum and cultural center that serves as a State of Tennessee designated primary repository of black history and culture in the city of Knoxville and throughout East Tennessee. Absent of Beck, there is no single organization in the region that provides this invaluable service. For over 40 years, Beck has been entrusted with an extensive collection of historical archives deeming it Knoxville’s storehouse of regional African American History and Culture.
Built in 1912, Beck is housed an immaculate historic mansion with a beautiful well-kept manicured lawn and garden. Beck has been completely refurnished. Our Margaret Carson Library has a collection of rare hard-to-find books many of which are written by African American Authors. Displays in our Exhibition Hall feature a glimpse of those people, places, and events that played such an important part in the stability and growth of the community. All of the images bring back memories of yesterday and give a lesson in history.
Unquestionably, Beck attracts tourist from all over to our region. Beck is making a tremendous economic impact and is a driving force of cultural tourism. Notwithstanding, Beck is a beacon in our community offering a myriad of programs and services including: free admission, a free computer lab, free broadband Wi-Fi, employment postings & announcements, meeting space, educational and leadership workshops, training sessions and much more.
Beck is unique in that, of all of the African American museums across the country, none has the collections that Beck Center has; not one can come close. The exhaustive collections that Beck has and continues to amass allow the museum to rotate exhibits on an ongoing basis without end. Not only is Beck unique in its offerings but also it is a prototype for local African American History and a model that is being replicated in other communities throughout the country.
Beck is important in preserving our local and regional African American history. Absent of Beck, much of this history does not exist. Over the years, buildings have been destroyed and people have passed on, without Beck the preservation of this history would be gone. Beck displays, exhibits and captures this history preserving and conserving for generations to come. Likewise, Beck continues to do research on the African American achievements of today ensuring its preservation in history for years to come.
The importance of Beck to the greater community is unparalleled. The exhibit halls and the research laboratory contain information that can only be found at Beck. It is the storehouse of African American history.