The McKinney Family Legacy
The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School is named in honor of the McKinney Family, specifically, Dr. Ernest McKinney, Kevin McKinney, and Marion McKinney. Through generations, the McKinney Family had a significant, lasting impact on Jonesborough in the schools and in the Town.
Ernest McKinney moved to Washington County in 1936 from South Carolina. He graduated from Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College in Nashville in 1947 and married his wife Marion in 1950. Dr. McKinney started his career as a teacher and principal at Booker T. Washington School in Jonesborough and later taught at Langston High School, the historically black high school in Johnson City. After integration, he moved to Science Hill High School in Johnson City.
Ernest and Marion McKinney’s son Kevin was elected to the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen for 12 years beginning in 1984. He served as Jonesborough’s Mayor for nine of those years, being elected four times. With McKinney providing leadership on the Town Board, many long-term improvements were initiated. A new Town Hall was built, along with a new Visitor Center and Museum. A Recreation Program was created with new sports fields to serve younger members of the community, and the Senior Center program was established to serve the elder community members. A new Water Treatment Plant was constructed to improve town infrastructure and to improve quality of life for residents several parks were established under his leadership, including Persimmon Ridge Park, Mill Spring Park, Christopher Taylor Park and Depot Street Park. Eventually, Wetlands Water Park was constructed – initially the first municipally run water park in Tennessee.
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ABOUT THE MCKINNEY CENTER
The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School is a multi-use facility providing arts education through Jonesborough's Mary B. Martin Program.