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5 Fun Facts About July 31 In Tennessee History

---Learn Every Day: TN Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history tn To: 618-270-4005---

1. Bristol Motor Speedway opened on July 31, 1961, in Bristol, Tennessee. Known as the "World's Fastest Half-Mile," the speedway is home to popular NASCAR races, including the Bristol Motor Speedway Night Race.

2. In 1834, Cherokee Indian leader John Ross signed the New Echota Treaty, which resulted in the forced removal of thousands of Cherokee from their homes in Tennessee and the surrounding areas. This event led to the infamous Trail of Tears, which saw thousands of Cherokee die during the cross-country journey to what would later become Oklahoma.

3. On July 31, 1877, the city of Memphis experienced one of the deadliest race riots in American history. The riot, which began when white police officers attacked a group of black men, resulted in the deaths of over 30 people and the destruction of hundreds of businesses and homes.

4. In 1923, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was dedicated, becoming the largest protected area east of the Mississippi River. Today, the park boasts over 500,000 acres of natural beauty, including dozens of waterfalls and breathtaking hiking trails.

5. On July 31, 1862, Confederate forces launched a surprise attack on Union soldiers at the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, near Baldwyn, Mississippi. Despite being vastly outnumbered, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his troops were able to achieve a decisive victory, securing a vital supply route for Confederate forces in the region.
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