It appears that Lionel "All Night Long" Richie's musical DNA has ties to Music City. Richie's maternal grandmother, Adelaide Towson Foster, graduated from Fisk and taught music at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
The Grammy-, Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning artist was in Nashville recently, visiting the Tennessee State Library and Archives to learn about his ancestors for an episode of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are, scheduled to air this Friday, March 4, at 7 p.m. Central Time. This marks the second time in a month that the facility will be featured on the show: In the season premiere, TSLA research specialist Kathy Lauder helped actress and singer Vanessa Williams uncover the history of her West Tennessee ancestors.
Speaking of which, TSLA is hosting Genealogy Beginner’s Day this Saturday, March 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Experts will be on hand to help visitors use the United States Census, military records and other resources.
What a PR coup for the event! A free, national prime-time ad on network TV.
The full press release, after the jump:
Long before Lionel Richie worked with Michael Jackson on the popular song “We Are the World,” Richie’s grandfather worked with famous educator and political leader Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Richie, the founding member of The Commodores, recently visited the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) to learn other details about his ancestors for an episode of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” that will air nationally this Friday, March 4.
This will be the second time in a month that TSLA will be featured on the program, following actress and singer Vanessa Williams’ appearance in the season premiere. To highlight the resources available at the State Library and Archives, TSLA staff members will be hosting a Genealogy Beginner’s Day on Saturday to give ordinary citizens the opportunity to use the library’s resources the way that the show’s featured celebrities did.
As part of Friday’s episode, local genealogists visited TSLA to research manuscripts, county records, state records and military records to dig up the Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee’s past. Knowledgeable TSLA staff members were on hand to interpret difficult records and unusual archive findings.
Richie’s maternal grandmother, Adelaide Towson Foster, graduated from Fisk University and taught music at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, now Tuskegee University. Richie attributes a great deal of his musical success in the industry to her advice. During his career, Richie has won five Grammies, an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award and numerous other honors.
Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Office of the Secretary of State.
“We are glad to provide resources and historical expertise for the ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ series,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “More importantly, we hope the program will help Tennesseans become more aware of the tremendous resources that are available to them at the State Library and Archives. Toward that end, we want to invite as many citizens as possible to attend our Genealogy Beginner’s Day Saturday. And if they can’t make it then, I encourage them to visit TSLA Mondays through Saturdays during our regular operating hours.”
Tune in to “Who Do You Think You Are?” Friday at 7 p.m. CST or 8 p.m. EST on Nashville’s WSMV Channel 4, Memphis’ WMC Channel 5, Knoxville’s WBIR Channel 10, Tri Cities’ WCYB Channel 5 or Chattanooga’s WRCB Channel 3.
Genealogy Beginner’s Day will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Experts will be on hand to help visitors use the United States Census, military records and other resources.
The TSLA building is located next to the Tennessee State Capitol at 403 7th Avenue North in downtown Nashville. The State Library and Archives is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. CST, with the exception of state holidays.