OLIVIA DAWSON THOMAS
|Published: 8:09 PM, 02/22/2013
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Tanner Preservation Committee continues its work to
rescue and preserve the historic Tanner School, one of the few Rosenwald
Schools remaining in America. Many students of the institution used the
knowledge and wisdom gained there as springboards for success in many areas of
life. Many students chose to leave Cocke County and pursue their careers
elsewhere, but took with them fond memories of their days at Tanner. One of
these was Olivia Dawson Thomas, who shares her story and memories today. In
observance of Black History Month, the Tanner Preservation Committee has shared
these memories with us.
Olivia Virginia Thomas, born Olivia Dawson, was born in
Parrottsville in June of 1943 and attended Tanner High School from 1956-1960
when she graduated as valedictorian.
While attending Tanner High, Olivia credits her English
teacher, Mr. Isaac Rakestraw, as being “very instrumental in my pursuit of my
After graduating from Tanner, Olivia attended the National
School of Business in Lebanon, Tennessee, where she majored in Business
For more details, please see the weekend edition of the
Newport Plain Talk.
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