Over sixty years ago the Freedom Train rolled into Kingsport’s Clinchfield Railroad Station. From 1947-1949 the Freedom Train traveled all over the country carrying 127 documents and artifacts of historical significance to the United States.
Essentially an exhibit train, the train allowed people to view documents such as the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and the Gettysburg Address. The “Freedom Documents” were guarded by the United States Marine Corps.
On October 1, 1948 the Freedom Train arrived in Kingsport. Newspaper reports covering the event estimated that it was viewed by over 11,000 people.
The Freedom Train was viewed by over 3.5 million people in 48 States, 322 Communities and in 413 days. This was the first and only time that all of these documents and artifacts were assembled for public display. The Freedom Train toured the contiguous 48 states with the goal of “reawakening Americans to…the principles of liberty.”
All of the photos above were taken by Thomas McNeer, Jr. on October 1, 1948.
For more information on The Freedom Train please visit the archives or check out these photos and more at www.kingsportlibrary.org/archives.